Turning a PhD into a Presentation (or Worse, a Poster)

This weekend and last week I’ve been trying to do that impossible task – which will only get more impossible as time goes on – of trying to distil the whole massive idea that is my thesis into a 20 minute presentation for one conference in June, and a poster for another next November. How the hell people manage the 3MT competition I do not know.

Linguistics is not exactly a discipline that lends itself to graphical presentation. Something like Physics – awesome for graphics, Architecture – amazing, Fashion – elementary my dear Watson…

But I struggle. I’ve got a pretty chart of how all my participants are connected and this lovely map which shows where they come from:

World map highlightedThis will look great on the poster – but I’m not entirely convinced it actually tells you something that useful about my project. I guess it highlights diversity and a non-Euro-centric cohort so that’s a good thing.

But in Linguistics, unsurprisingly and fundamentally all the big ideas pretty much have to be shown using words. There are a few legitimately visual projects, usually the quantitative kind like dialect mapping but the majority of us struggle to get a decent table out of a linguistics project.

So in conclusion, any help, especially on the poster, is appreciated. I don’t even really know how to structure the poster, let alone make it visually stimulating!


2 thoughts on “Turning a PhD into a Presentation (or Worse, a Poster)

  1. What’s your poster’s topic? Perhaps you can add a block diagram to show a process or workflow, or highlight certain words/concepts in different colors/fonts/sizes… Or try googling “linguistics infographics” images for some inspiration.


    • I like the coloured words idea a lot, I’m looking at a bunch of research posters right now, they’ve been put up opposite the cafe where I work in uni. They look very text-dense – not a look I want to go for! I like the idea of highlighting certain words to make them stand out, I think that could be really effective.


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