During your last semester of residency at Virginia Tech, you will be required to present your independent research to the faculty and your peers in pre-defense and final defense presentations. The pre-defense presentation to your committee provides essential feedback for you to ensure that your final defense goes smoothly. The final defense serves as a means of sharing your findings with others in the department and meeting Graduate School requirements for completion of your degree. Both presentations typically have the same structure, although your committee may recommend different approaches or specifically request that you structure the presentations differently.
In your presentations to your committee, you will have a limited amount of time to concisely present your work, followed by a question and answer session with your audience. Thus, it’s important that you carefully design your presentation to be concise and practice its delivery to remain within the time limit.
The main areas your pre-defense and defense presentations should cover are the following. The suggested number of slides corresponds to a 15-20 minute presentation and can be scaled up or down to provide a shorter or longer presentation.
Title/Team – Provide a title slide for your presentation and introduce yourself and your committee (1 slide)
Problem/Significance – Describe your problem area and establish why it is significant for construction. Introduce relevant stakeholders (1-2 slides)
Prior Art – Provide a brief overview of how others have tried to solve the problem before, and summarize why additional work is needed (1-2 slides)
Research Question and Scope – Clearly state your research question and hypotheses (if appropriate). Articulate any scope constraints or stipulations of your research (1-2 slides)
Research Objectives/Design/Methodology/Approach – Describe your overall research objectives and design, including your population/sample for data collection and methods for data collection and analysis (2-3 slides)
Findings/Results – Describe the data you collected and the results of your analysis, focusing on the most significant and relevant findings (2-3 slides)
Conclusions – Describe how your findings answer your research questions or test your hypothesis (1 slide)
Contributions and Impacts – Describe how your work extends or builds upon prior art. Describe how your work has the potential to benefit relevant stakeholders (1-2 slides)
Limitations and Areas for Future Research – Identify any limitations of your study, and list and describe additional questions or areas for further work that have arisen from your project (1 slide)
Questions – Thank the audience for their attention and ask if there are any questions. Include your contact information (1 slide)