Official Guidelines

abstract guidelines

A research abstract is required from each CAURS registrant. Abstracts should be a single, well-developed paragraph that concisely provides a high-level overview of the main considerations and conclusions of your research project.

Please see the following for the Abstract Template and Sample Abstract for the proper formatting of the abstract: Abstract Template and Sample Abstract

* Titles should not include scientific notation, Greek letters, bold, italics, or other special characters/symbols, as these will not be properly displayed on the submission form.
** Include all additional co-authors, if applicable, regardless of whether they are presenting or not.


  • Title (Arial, size 11, bold) - Choose a title which accurately reflects the emphasis and content of the project. Titles should be written in Title Case (capitalize the first letters of all the words except conjunctions e.g. and, or, at, in, for, the).

  • Name of Presenter, Co-Authors, Co-Authors/Collaborators, and Principle Investigator (PI) (Arial, size 10; name of Presenter should be bold and underlined). Co-authors should be listed whether or not they will also be attending.

  • Departmental and institutional affiliations of all authors (Arial, size 9, italic)

Abstract: Arial, size 9. 300 words max. - The abstract should briefly sketch the issue which the research addresses, explain the relevant hypothesis, indicate the theoretical or experimental method used, summarize the principle finding(s), point out the major conclusions, and if applicable describe how your research fits into its larger field of study. Please do NOT include schemes, figures, graphs, tables, or charts. The abstract should be accessible to those outside of the designated field. The abstract page with all the information should not occupy more than one full page (1 inch margins: top, bottom, right and left, aligned left text). References are shown in the example below, but they are optional. Save as a word document titled: CAURS 2019 - "Last Name".

These requirements should be adhered to strictly in order to be accepted as a presenter at CAURS 2019. Each abstract will be vetted by members of the Inter-School Board (ISB). Once an abstract is reviewed and accepted, the student presenter will be sent an email notifying them of the status of their submission. Please feel free to contact a member of the ISB with any questions or concerns.



Posters will be on display for the duration of the symposium. Student presenters should expect to be at or near their poster throughout the majority of their poster session.

We ask that, if possible, poster boards be no larger than 4' (height) by 4' (width). Your research mentor will likely know the best way to print your poster board on campus, but poster boards can also be purchased at a printing or stationary store as well. While pushpins and tape will be available to assemble your poster board, we strongly recommend that you bring your own assembly materials. Easels will be provided at the event. If you need additional accommodations for other materials (e.g., a table), please request it from us as soon as possible.

The presentation title should be printed across the top of the poster at least two inches high. Beneath the title, the name of the student presenter, faculty advisor, and institution affiliations should be at least 36 pt or about one inch high. Subheadings should be at least 24 pt and all text, including figures and tables, should be no smaller than 16-18 pt. Everything should be large enough to read from several feet away. Text should not be smaller than 16 pt in size. Include appropriate graphics and text, and make sure everything is spelled correctly. Inappropriate or incomplete poster boards will not be displayed.

Posters will be viewed from a distance, so pictures can effectively communicate what might take many words to explain. Carefully considered use of charts, tables, figures, graphs, or photos can capture important aspects of your research and reduce the amount of text. Figures can be used to illustrate your experimental design, theories, procedure, stimuli, and results. Each illustration should have a heading in large type that clearly states the significance of the figure. A caption of detailed information should be provided below and should clearly describe the content of the illustration and the conclusions to be drawn from it.

Use your poster space wisely. Your display should be self-explanatory and have a logical flow. Others should be able to follow the order even if you are not present.

It takes time to make a great poster. Allow at least several days to put everything together, and don't leave anything for the last minute!

Consider the portability of your poster. A great poster is easy to assemble on site and can be flexible in case the poster space is smaller than planned. Arrange for help in case mounting the poster is difficult. A map of how the poster should look when it is done is handy in case you need to work quickly, are distracted or nervous.

During your presentation, stand to the side of your display so that you do not block it. Your presentation should be a short summary speech about 10 minutes long. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your research. Because this is an excellent networking opportunity, it is important to speak and interact professionally. You will receive feedback for your work as well.

In addition to your presentation, it may be wise to also prepare a short 2 minute summary of your research for any guests browsing over your poster.

Practice often and be familiar with your poster.

There are numerous resources online that have useful tips for designing informative and eye-catching conference posters. Some of the sites even include templates that can be modified for your own use. To learn more, check out:



Oral presentations are extended speeches about your research, typically with the aid of Powerpoint slides or similar presentation software. For CAURS 2019, oral presentations will be 10 minutes long with an additional 5 minutes for Q&A. A moderator will be keeping track of your presentation time and facilitate the Q&A session.

Preparation is the key to giving an effective presentation and to reducing your nervousness. You are the expert on the topic in the room, so know your topic well. You will find that you know much more about your topic than you will have time to present, which is a good thing. It will allow you to create a good introduction, to distill out the most important points that need to be made, and to finish with a strong conclusion.

  • Know your topic - become an expert, which will also boost your self confidence

  • Be cognizant of the background and educational level of your audience so you know how much detail to go into and what kinds of concepts you may have to define

  • Try not to read directly off your slides. You are encouraged to use an outline or notes if you wish, but practice enough beforehand that you do not need to read your presentation word by word.

Visual aids (maps, photos, film clips, graphs, diagrams, and charts) can enhance a presentation.

  • Keep visual aids simple and uncluttered.

  • Use color and contrast for emphasis but use them in moderation

  • Use a font size large enough to be seen from the back of the room (slides are generally readable from the back of a room if they are readable at a distance of 9 feet from a 15" monitor)

  • Resist the temptation to use too many slides and become dependent on them

  • Avoid using unnecessary sound effects and dramatic slide transitions

Practice giving your presentation to yourself and to others. Speak aloud and time yourself. Practice using your visual aids. It is important that you adhere to your time limit. Your professor knows that you know more about your topic than you will have time to share. Your goal is to inform, not overwhelm. In this case, less can be more.

To deliver an effective and engaging presentation, you will have to overcome your nervousness and be prepared for the room conditions. Good preparation should dispel most of your nervousness. Your presentation will never go exactly as you expect – but here as some tips to help your presentation go as smoothly as possible! 

  • Begin your presentation by telling your audience what your topic is and what you will be covering. A brief outline of your presentation will help guide and orient the audience.

  • Avoid reading your remarks directly from your preparation materials.

  • Speak loudly and clearly – loud enough to be clearly heard in the back row.

  • Stand up straight. Don’t be afraid to move around the stage!

  • Do not do anything that will distract from your content – try to overcome any nervous fidgeting or habits such as pencil twirling or rocking back and forth.

  • Never mention anything that could have been in your talk but wasn’t.

  • Make eye contact with the audience.

  • If you are using slides or PowerPoint, avoid speaking to the screen instead of to the audience. Be familiar enough with your materials that the only reason you look at them is to point something out.

  • Please adhere strictly to the time limit. A Board member will be present to give you a 2-minute warning.

  • At the conclusion of your presentation, ask for questions. Encourage questions with your eyes and your body language. Respond to questions politely and succinctly. Take a brief moment to compose your thoughts before responding.

  • At the end of your presentation, summarize your main points and give a concluding remark that reinforces why your information is of value.


  • Work out details with equipment before the day of your presentation; present any equipment requests to the ISB well before the event, and make sure any necessary software is installed.

  • Know how to operate the equipment you choose to use.

  • Have backup copies of everything!

  • Consider making printouts of your slides or transparencies in case there is a problem with electricity or bulbs.

  • Do not expect an internet connection to work when you need it. Have any web sites you want to show available as offline copies.