Explaining Your Work

The Stanford CREATE (Creating Research Examples Across the Teaching Enterprise) has suggested that it is useful for all researchers, but especially students, to be able to talk about their work in the following ways:

  1. Title. A title for your research work that would make some sense to a high school student.
  2. The Elevator Talk. A 30 to 60 second answer to the question "So what is your research about". No notes or visual aids can be used.
  3. The Hallway Talk. A longer answer to the same question, up to 5 minutes, but still without notes or visual aids.
  4. The Office Talk. This can take up to 10 minutes, and may use a whiteboard or a piece of paper, but still no notes.
  5. The Short Lecture. This can take up to 20 minutes, using notes and up to three overhead transparencies.

Each presentation, even the title, should make the case for what you're doing and why anyone should care when you've done.

These are probably good exercises for all graduate students (and faculty!); but they probably should be done fairly formally to work well. (Otherwise it's too easy to think that you know what to say, without actually having to figure it out, and see whether it really works).

This is actually quite a good exercise for a course as well (i.e. can you explain at varying length the point of a course and why anyone should take it).

More info

Back to David Skillicorn's home page.