PhD Interview Presentation

posted
16-Jan-19, 13:40
edited about 11 seconds later
by aralez
Avatar for aralez
posted about 5 months ago
I'm currently an undergrad, have been invited to a PhD interview, but the interview also includes a 10 minute presentation on my previous research experience. I have zero idea how to approach this. Here is how they have described it:
"The panel will expect you to prepare a brief presentation (no more than 10 minutes) about your past research experience and any research projects in which you have been involved. This will enable us to determine your aptitude for research, as well as your motivation for taking on a PhD and your wider knowledge of the field."
I have only completed two pieces of real research previously, and only one of those is slightly relevant to the PhD project I'm applying for. What am I meant to say about the research? Am I meant to present it like I was at an academic conference (aims, methods, results etc) or am I meant to tell them the specific skills I gained from it that will make me a good PhD student? I've got literally no idea how to structure this, what points I should hit on etc... Can anyone help?! I'm terrified of going in, barking up the wrong tree, and completely embarrassing myself.
posted
16-Jan-19, 18:49
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 5 months ago
First things first. Unless you are interviewing with a Nobel Prize winning researcher it is highly likely that they will be just as desperate to hire you as you will be to be hired by them so relax.

Now onto how to prepare.

1) My rule of thumb is to allow for about 1.5 to 2 minutes per slide or you'll be rushing through it and/or overwhelm them. 6 slides as an absolute maximum. 3 per project.

2) Each slide should be crisp, clean and as uncluttered as possible.

3) Present the overview of the research problem(s) you were trying to solve. Talk about how you went about solving it in terms of methodology, tools used etc and why you used those. One page for the background. One page for the method used.

4) If you have results, present a single page of this at the end. This is your third page and to keep the size down I'd put your acknowledgements at the bottom in a footer.

5) Be prepared to be questioned over your decisions.

Other than that you'll be fine regardless of how close your research was to the PhD position.
posted
19-Jan-19, 11:40
edited about 14 seconds later
by aralez
Avatar for aralez
posted about 5 months ago
Haha I don't think so!! The PhD program is extremely competitive!

Has anyone else gone to a competitive PhD interview that's requested a similar presentation?
posted
19-Jan-19, 13:09
edited about 14 seconds later
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 5 months ago
What do you mean 'you don't think so'?
You are trying to prove you have the ability to research a PhD level question in a field that no matter the area will require you to show you can pinpoint the main issue, improve on the ideas already present in th field of study, do the work scientifically, and present results that further the knowledge and offer more questions to consider.
You can achieve exactly this by offering a presentation of whatever scientific work you have completed to date.
What exactly do you think you should be doing if not this??
posted
19-Jan-19, 19:17
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From aralez:
Haha I don't think so!! The PhD program is extremely competitive!

Has anyone else gone to a competitive PhD interview that's requested a similar presentation?


What a way to respond to someone who is trying to help you.
Looks like self confidence isn't going to be a problem.
posted
19-Jan-19, 21:29
edited about 28 minutes later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 5 months ago
Quote From pm133:
Quote From aralez:
Haha I don't think so!! The PhD program is extremely competitive!

Has anyone else gone to a competitive PhD interview that's requested a similar presentation?


What a way to respond to someone who is trying to help you.
Looks like self confidence isn't going to be a problem.


LOL

When they ask what research you have done before, they aren't asking what the research exactly was. They want to know how you went about the research and what skills you showed. Generally they are looking to see that you
1. Can research an area and can find an interesting problem or question. Check if the question has been answered, that it is possible to answer and that it is relevant to solving some bigger problem. Possibly forming a hypothesis of what you expect to find
2. Form a rigorous method to answer this question. Possibly talking about other methods, what other people have done, possible problems with this method etc.
3. Show that you analysed the results (the results could be awful) and how they match your hypothesis. Defend your ideas and mention the limitations of your work. Basically have an opinion.
4. Make conclusions on your work. How you could have done it better and future work based on this

In my interview, I talked about my disseratation and focused on points 2&4. I had a really awkward methodology that I explained and fully justified. Then explained how my results showed that only 2 of the 12 variables really mattered which meant future people could just focus on them. The results were awful and barely statistically significant but I showed them all skills I used. So talk about anything that can show those show those skills, even how you went about ranking the best pub in the local area.

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