L. Becker (2014) Presenting your research. London: Sage.
This is a practical overview for giving academic or professional presentations at conferences, symposiums, round-table discussions and other contexts. The book takes the reader through the whole process, from finding an event at which to contribute, preparing and submitting an abstract, choosing and preparing material, using presentation aids, delivering the presentation and handling questions and nerves! Starting from outlining the benefits of presenting research, other chapters cast a critical eye over how different aspects of presenting can best provide the advantages that the reader is seeking.
The volume is clear and well written, with analogies and examples to illustrate points, stimulate ideas and to aid understanding. Checklists and top tips intersperse the text, making a useful reference point to return to. I found that a particularly good aspect of this book is the positive way Dr Becker helps the reader to identify content and material for presentations. Additionally, some of the challenges of group presentations are also addressed, as are some of the easy traps to fall into, as a presenter who is inexperienced in attending academic conferences. The breadth of coverage is wide including flipped learning, ethics, posters and non-verbal communication amongst other things.
This step by step guidewould be useful for anyone new to giving papers and presentations at formal events, but also for students giving a presentation of their research as part of the assessment for their course of study. Some chapters may seem over-prescriptive to readers, depending on their personal styles of planning and preparing, however there are plenty of good ideas making these sections worth a look. The explicit nature of the advice is likely to be a great aid to new presenters. Many of the features would be beneficial for any one new to undertaking a public speaking engagement. As someone who has worked both within a School of Education and a School of Medicine, I recognise that many people would benefit from the advice offered here, but those who have trained as teachers may find some of the content unnecessary. I was particularly interested whether it would be a book I could recommend to teachers and teacher educators who were new to presenting their research to a wider audience than their own colleagues. I would be very happy to recommend this book to them.
Dr Elizabeth White, Head of School Direct Routes into Teaching, University of Hertfordshire