Discussing and Presenting Your Research Results
In this unit, students will learn how to produce meaningful posters and make oral presentations to communicate the results of their research project. Scientists need not only do research, but also present the results of that research to the scientific community, the public, and policymakers. There are several means of scientific communication – journal articles, oral presentations, and posters. Here, students communicate the results of their work in the form of a poster which they will present to a larger group of students, parents, the public, or scientists toward the end of the school year. If students have kept good notes and saved the results from each of the previous units, making the poster will mostly be about summarizing and communicating that information and thinking a bit more about what it means. The poster will include all the stages of the research project – from gathering the background information, to designing the project, to data analysis, and drawing conclusions from the work. This last stage is key and allows the students to see the transition from data – which are ‘facts’ or hard numbers – to interpretation, which can be more subjective and bring in scientific reasoning, judgment, and thinking about trade-offs. For example, for fish-based research, did the research provide any insight as to whether the health benefits of Omega-3s from fish offset the potential health risk of mercury toxicity? Do students feel the current fish consumption advisory is adequate based on their data? What would they do differently or what would they investigate next time? The assessment piece allows students to become peer reviewers for others’ posters, teaching them the skills of constructive criticism.