Designing a Research Symposium for High School Research

Preparing the Research

LibGuide for Resource Sharing
We placed links to Research and Resources on our Senior Capstone LibGuide

Visiting the University Library
For the past few years, we have visited MTSU or Trevecca University Library.  The Librarians were so helpful and it has been a great help.

Collaborating with English Faculty
We rely heavily on our Senior level English faculty.  In the research phase, students are using the GIST worksheets to do journalistic style research.

The Presentation Teaser OR Elevator Pitch
Seniors prepared 1 slide to be an advertisement for the research presentation. We attempted to group topics and had multiple [4] presentation venues across campus.

The Presentation
Presentations were 10-12 minutes in length and should:
Explain the research question or thesis statement, Show extensive research and critical thinking, provide appropriate and supportive details, has good transitions and is memorable

  • AMPLE RESEARCH APPROPRIATELY CITED [Background] approx. 3-5 slides [This is a research paper and not an opinion piece]
  • PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT WITH TOPIC [Primary Research] 3-5 slides
  • CONCLUSION [this is a research conclusion - not a list of "thank yous"]
  • Q&A - Questions and Answers

Answering the Frequently Asked Questions

What about attendance? How will we decide which venue to attend? 
Advisory groups voted and then attended a session together.  Advisers reported absentees only.  We used Google Forms for advisory group voting

What about technical difficulties?
We assigned one tech person to each venue.  But the independence and change helped the students to be more flexible and many figured out the tech on their own.

What if a student has a sibling or especially close friend in another venue?
A student was allowed to apply for a waiver to attend that venue.

What about announcements?
We assigned an emcee for each location to read brief announcements only.

Why the change?
This is a recommendation from the Academic portion of our school strategic plan.  This is a more authentic presentation and is in keeping with the initial creation of the Senior Project in that it allows for Q and A and a defense of the research claims.  Finally, the student body has grown to the point where all-school presentations would consume the spring calendar and interfere with other coursework.

What about FOMO?
We worked to arrange a designated student or faculty member to make a video recording of the presentations.  These will be uploaded to the cloud.  [Cloud is coming soon]

Giving a Professional Feel

Students presented in a very "real-world" way.  We also promoted the symposium each day on social media.  We also made signs to hang around campus.

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