Developing the Art of Scientific Presentation

ArticleinThe Journal of hand surgery 37(12):2580-2588.e2 · December 2012with11 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.67 · DOI: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2012.09.018 · Source: PubMed


    Few guidelines exist regarding the most effective approach to scientific oral presentations. Our purpose is to (1) develop a standardized instrument to evaluate scientific presentations based on a comprehensive review of the available literature regarding the components and organization of scientific presentations and (2) describe the optimal characteristics of scientific presentations.
    At the Sixty-sixth (2011) Annual Meeting of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, 69 presentations were evaluated by at least 2 independent observers. A rating instrument was developed a priori to examine presentation content (background, methods, results, and conclusions), presentation style (speech, structure, delivery, slide aesthetics), and overall quality. We examined correlations between reviewers' ratings of each component as well as overall perceived quality of the presentation using regression analysis. Intraclass correlation coefficients were calculated to measure the degree of variation because of reviewer disagreement and identify the aspects of presentations that contribute to overall quality.
    Reviewer agreement was high for presentation content, and less than 1% of variation was caused by reviewer disagreement for background, methods, and conclusions. With respect to presentation style, reviewers agreed most frequently regarding speech and slide appearance, and only 9% and 13%, respectively, of the variation was caused by reviewer disagreement. Disagreement was higher for delivery and presentation structure, and 21% of the variation was attributable to reviewer disagreement. Speaker delivery and slide appearance were the most important predictors of presentation quality, followed by the quality of the presentation of conclusions and background information. Presentation of methods and results were not associated with overall presentation quality.
    Distinct aspects of presentation content and style correlate with quality, which can be reliably and objectively measured. By focusing on selected concepts with visually simple slides, speakers can enhance their delivery and may potentially improve the audience's comprehension of the study findings.
    Economic and decision analysis III.