Research and presentation skills

Research skills

Research skills – which include the ability to read effectively, gather information, formulate an opinion, support that opinion and reference properly – are important when preparing your essay, writing your thesis or conducting a literature review.

The following library resources can help you with these skills:

  1. Refer to the Library beginning research guide to get a grasp of the main steps involved in research, as well as useful advice on proceeding through each step.
  2. Use the Library help sheet on research process as a further reading resource to gain a practical understanding of the different stages involved in a research approach.

Academic integrity and plagiarism

As a student of the University of Melbourne, you must understand the importance of acknowledging others' works and maintaining the originality of your work. Copying or repurposing content without acknowledging the source could lead to a breach of copyright laws and have serious consequences.

The following resources on the University's Academic Honesty and Plagiarism website can help you learn more about plagiarism and guide you on how you can acknowledge sources and safeguard the academic integrity of your work.

  • Plagiarism – Refer to some examples of plagiarism and understand why plagiarism is considered an extremely serious offense.
  • Practical advice to students – Learn how you can avoid plagiarism and find help on who to consult in case of a misconduct allegation.
  • Links to useful websites – Read more about plagiarism guidelines, find access to sites and software that can help you confirm the reliability of your work and look through some useful articles on plagiarism.

Useful information on plagiarism

Referencing and citing

Use these resources from the academic and library experts at the University to familiarise yourself with referencing styles and software:

  1. Read the referencing essentials Academic Skills guide to understand the basics of referencing, its components, styles and systems.
  2. Refer to the Library page on citation guides for information on all the Library resources available to support you in using referencing styles and reference management software.
  3. Use the Library resource on managing references for helpful tips on selecting an appropriate piece of software.

Presentation skills

As part of most of the graduate subjects that you study online you’ll be asked to make an oral presentation. These generally assess your ability to verbally communicate your understanding of a topic, as well as your presentation skills such as body language, tone of voice and confidence.

The following resources from the academic experts at the University can guide you on improving your delivery skills and preparing for oral presentations:

Preparing and delivering your presentation

  1. This video playlist from the Academic Skills Unit outlines the important steps you should consider when preparing for a presentation.
  2. The Library help sheet – presentation checklist is a brief step-by-step guide to the essentials for a good presentation.
  3. The Library help sheet on giving presentations includes some useful tips on what makes an excellent presentation, as well as preparation (both preliminary and last-minute).

Presentation types

The following Academic Skills guides provide useful information on different presentation types and offer guidance on preparing for and delivering each type:

  1. Presenting your research – A useful resource covering important things you need to consider when communicating your research, such as what your purpose is, who your audience is, referring to slides and fielding questions.
  2. Presenting at conferences – A further reading resource that emphasises improving your networking skills and involving your audience when speaking at a conference.
  3. Academic posters – A guide to developing informative posters to complement your presentation.

Presenting effectively video series

The following Academic Skills videos guide you through all the different aspects of an oral presentation in detail:

  1. Presenting effectively – Part 1: Five points you must consider when organising your presentation.
  2. Presenting effectively – Part 2: Some helpful tips on encouraging audience participation as you talk.
  3. Presenting effectively – Part 3: Information to help you improve the quality of your visuals and PowerPoint slides.

Recording your presentation

As an online student, you may be asked to record your presentation (rather than deliver it ‘live’). It’s essential that you practise your presentation a few times and even record some ‘draft’ footage before you do a final take.

To record the slideshow of your presentation, you could use one of the many screen-capturing tools that are available online for free. We recommend using Jing, as it’s compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems and also includes a video tutorial and guide on capturing videos with Jing.

The free version of Jing creates videos in the SWF format, so we also recommend that you upload the file to your account. That way you can generate a link which you can use to share your video (instead of relying on others’ computer systems being SWF compatible).