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High School Research Symposium Responsibilities

Responsibilities on the Day of the Symposium

Dress Professionally
  • Appropriate dress is "business casual."
  • No jeans. No t-shirts. No flip-flops.
  • Keep in mind you will be standing and walking most of the day, so comfortable shoes are essential.
  • No gum!

There will be no check-in this year.

Poster Presentation

You will be assigned a specific zoom room for your poster to be presented. Be prepared to give your 7 minute oral presentation and answer questions of the audience members that are circulating.

  • Your 7 minute oral presentation should be similar to your abstract, but do not recite your abstract word-for-word.
  • Be prepared to answer specific questions that individuals may have. If you do not know an answer to a question, you need to say, "I'm not sure. While doing my research, I didn't come across anything to answer your question." or "I'm not sure, but to the best of my knowledge..." Remember, the research symposium is a learning experience for all involved, and you may get valuable feedback from an audience member that will improve your research.
Responsibilities for Students Presenting to a Judge

Refer to information provided in the section above, as well as information in the Judging Information section.

Responsibilities as an Audience Member

When you are not presenting during the symposium, you will be expected to attend other presentations and interact with other poster participants about their research. Here are a few tips on how to be a good symposium participant:

  • Look - Look at and read through their poster carefully.
  • Listen - Part of interacting with poster participants is listening to their 2-minute oral presentation.
  • Ask questions- A big responsibility you have is to ask good scientific questions. You should move beyond questions such as, "What did you like about this research project?" Instead, look, listen, and think about the following to help decide on specific questions to ask the presenter. (Hint: These are the sorts of questions the judges may ask as well!)
    • Is the hypothesis clear and testable?
    • Are there flaws in how the experiment was set up?
    • Has the researcher kept experimental groups and control groups the same?
    • Are there constants that the researcher overlooked?
    • Have the methods affected the results in ways not addressed by the researcher?
    • Are the data and results explained clearly?
    • Has the researcher acknowledged and explained reasons for inconsistent data?
    • Does the research draw conclusions consistent with the data presented?
  • Be respectful - Remember, the oral presentation is only 2 minutes, so what the presenter can include is very limited and may not incorporate all aspects of their research project. Therefore, ask your questions respectfully, such as, "Is it possible that ____?" or "Have you thought about ____?"
  • Be courteous - Turn off and put away all electronic devices (e.g., cell phones, iPods, etc.). Remember, this is a professional event.
Overall, have fun and try to learn as much as you can about a variety of topics!


For more information, please contact:

Olesya Courier, CeMaST Marketing, Event & Project Coordinator
Phone: (309) 438-1898


2020-11-04T13:26:43.729-06:00 2020