3-Minute Thesis Criteria

Universidad de Granada | Escuela de Posgrado | Administración electrónica


3-Minute Thesis Criteria

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Criteria for your 3 Minute Thesis

3minThesis The 3 Minute Thesis competition is based on a concept developed by the University of Queensland (R), Australia, which quickly spread across Australia and New Zealand, and has just gone global.

About the criteria your 3 Minute Thesis presentation must meet.

The criteria for the completion, at all levels, is the same. It is simple - but strict!

  • You should present information on your current PhD research topic
  • You should present for an intelligent lay audience
  • ALL presentations for the 3 Minute Thesis will be NO MORE than 3 minutes, competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • You will only be allowed 1 SLIDE (with no transitions)
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs)
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final
  • You should tell us what your research is, how you are doing it, what you have discovered and why it is an important contribution to knowledge

You should present information on your current PhD research topic

  • This is a subject where you are the expert. Hopefully you are passionate about what you do. Remember to show that enthusiasm.

You should present for an intelligent lay audience

  • An intelligent lay audience is usually pretty smart, but might not know anything about your field. They will usually be members of the University, but not necessarily academics.
  • That means you should avoid the use of technical terms, jargon and specialist knowledge.
  • It also means you will have to translate your complex ideas into something much simpler. This is not about dumbing down, but gradually developing complex ideas to take the audience on a journey through your topic.
  • You will be timed, and stopped if you run over…so make sure you have timed yourself.
  • Practise, practise, practise!
  • Practise in front of a mirror so you know what you look like when you are delivering your message.
  • Practise in front of people to get feedback and to find out if you speed up when you are nervous.

You will only be allowed 1 SLIDE (with no transitions)

  • One slide isn’t much so make it engaging.
  • Use pictures and diagrams, but don’t over fill it or people won’t be able to see what you have written.
  • You won’t be allowed any transitions or animations. It really is ONE SLIDE.

You should tell us what your research is, how you are doing it, what you have discovered and why it is an important contribution to knowledge

  • Remember to keep this simple and short.
  • If your research has an obvious application then use it to engage us early.

Other top tips….

  • Hooks – get us excited about what you are doing as quickly as possible with a hook. A hook is something that builds intrigue, suspense or raises a question in the audiences mind.
  • Body Language – think about how you are going to stand and deliver your talk. Your body language is important, don’t over gesticulate, but don’t be too stiff…practicing in front of people will help.
  • Tone of Voice – even a 3 minute presentation will seem dull if delivered in a monotone. Remember to show us your enthusiasm
  • Practise – it is so important we can’t say it enough!

Preparing your 3MT presentation

Even the world’s best public speakers prepare before important presentations. To assist you with your preparations, please find a few suggestions below that will help you in writing your presentation, creating your slide and while practising your verbal presentation.

  • Writing your 3MT

1. Write for your audience

One of the judging criteria looks for evidence that you can explain your research to a non-specialist audience. To do this you may like to:

  • avoid jargon and academic language;
  • explain concepts and people important to your research - you may know all about Professor Smith’s theories but your audience may not;
  • imagine that you are explaining your research to a close friend or fellow student from another field; and
  • don’t dumb down or devalue your research, what you are doing is exciting and you should convey enthusiasm for your subject.

2. Have a clear outcome in mind

Know what you want your audience to take away from your presentation. Ideally, you would like the audience to leave with an understanding of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

3. Tell a story

You may like to present your 3MT like a story, with a beginning, middle and an end. It’s not easy to condense your research into three minutes, so you may find it easier to break your presentation down into smaller sections. Try writing an opener to catch their attention, then highlight your different points, and finally have a summary to restate the importance of your work.

4. What not to do

  • Do not write your presentation like an academic paper. Try to use shorter words, shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs.
  • You can use humour, however be careful not to dumb down your presentation.

5. Revise

You may like to proof your 3MT presentation by reading it aloud, firstly to yourself and then to an audience of friends and family. This allows you to not only check your grammar and writing style, but it will allow you to receive critical feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience if your presentation clearly highlights what your research is and why it is important.

  • Creating your 3MT slide

Before you start work on your slide, you should take the following rules into account:

  • a single static PowerPoint slide is permitted;
  • no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are permitted;
  • your slide is to be presented from the beginning of your oration; and
  • no additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.

An engaging visual presentation can make or break any oration, so you want your slide to be legible, clear and concise.

  • Less is More

Text and complicated graphics can distract your audience – you don’t want them to read your slide rather than listen to your 3MT.

  • Personal Touches

Personal touches can allow your audience to understand the impact of your research

  • Your Message

Think about how your slide might be able to assist with the format and delivery of your presentation – is there a metaphor that helps explain your research?

  • Practising your 3MT presentation

The following tips may be useful as you prepare your 3MT oration.

1. Practice, practice, practice

Feeling nervous before you present is natural, and sometimes a little nervousness can even be beneficial to your overall speech. Nonetheless, it is important to practice so you can present with confidence and clarity.

2. Vocal range

  • Speak clearly and use variety in your voice (fast/slow, loud/soft).
  • Do not rush - find your rhythm.
  • Remember to pause at key points as it gives the audience time to think about what you are saying.

3. Body language

  • Stand straight and confidently.
  • Hold your head up and make eye contact.
  • Never turn your back to the audience.
  • Practise how you will use your hands and move around the stage. It is okay to move around energetically if that is your personality, however it is also appropriate for a 3MT presentation to be delivered from a single spot on stage.

4. Length of your presentation

The length of your presentation is very clear – no more than 3 minutes! However as your presentation approaches the end of the 3 minutes, the audience may be more focused on watching the countdown clock in case you run over, rather than listening to your presentation. Consider aiming to finish your presentation at the 2 minute 50 second point to keep everyone’s nerves at bay!

  • Get ready and participate! You will enjoy an unique experience that will help you to better communicate your results and ideas