College of Arts and Sciences

UMSL College of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium Frequently Asked Questions

 

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Works

URS logo

BASIC INFORMATION QUESTIONS  

INTENT TO PARTICIPATE AND APPLICATION QUESTIONS

ABSTRACT AND URS BOOK QUESTIONS

POSTER AND ORAL PRESENTATION QUESTIONS

MENTOR QUESTIONS

GENERAL QUESTIONS


BASIC INFORMATION QUESTIONS

What is the URS?

Students present their research in poster and oral formats as they would in a professional-style conference. The research needs to be conducted at UM-St. Louis between last year's URS and the upcoming URS. Research conducted offsite but through an internship program with UMSL is eligible for presentation.

Who can apply to participate in the URS?

Current UM-St. Louis students OR graduated UM-St. Louis students within one academic year from the date of the previous URS.

Is this only for science majors?

What is the difference between research, scholarship and creative works?

In fact, most projects include a combination of research, scholarship, and creative thought. The URS committee defines them in the following way:

NOTE: Your "artist's statement," specific to the work being presented, needs to be printed in a professional manner and displayed at the URS. This statement needs to include your inspiration and/or process for creating the project. In addition, any historical or technical information that will help viewers or listeners to understand the work better can also be included.

NOTE: Your abstract needs to address the purpose, significance, medium, and other anticipated venues for presentation, performance, or publication.

Is the URS open to writers and artists?

Definitely! We encourage writers, visual artists, composers, and performing artists to submit an Application. You can choose to submit under "creative works" (e.g., a poem, graphic design, or performance) or under "research or scholarship" (e.g., primary source research or secondary source scholarship about literature, art, music, drama).

Is the URS open to group projects?

Why should I participate in the URS?

Professional reasons:

Mental growth:

How complete must the research be?

Is the URS exactly like a professional conference?

INTENT TO PARTICIPATE AND APPLICATION QUESTIONS

What are the submission deadlines and process?

Is an "Intent To Participate (ITP) form required?

No, but it is highly recommended. Filing an ITP gives you priority scheduling and equipment usage at the URS.

What if I miss the deadline for the ITP form?

You can still submit an Application by the March deadline. However, participants who filed an ITP in February will have equipment and room priority.

Where can I get the Application?

Go to this web site: http://www.umsl.edu/divisions/artscience/uresearch/URS.html

How do I get information not covered by the FAQ?

Contact the current chairs or book editors; all can be reached at urs@umsl.edu.

Is every Application accepted?

What if I have a problem with the electronic application?

ABSTRACT QUESTIONS

Who should write the abstract?

What should my abstract be like?

Your abstract should answer these four questions, using 200 words at most (Note: Each discipline emphasizes some areas more than others, and that is o.k. While these criteria apply in some fashion to most disciplines, students presenting creative works may wish to contact the URS editors):

What does the committee do with the abstracts?

What is the template and why do you use it?

  • If you have chosen to have your abstract considered for the URS abstract book, and if your abstract has been approved for publication, the template is the final step in the process.
    • At the URS Editor's request, you will fill out the template is the final step in the process.
    • At the URS Editor's request, you will fill out the template with the appropriate information and the approved abstract. You will return the template by the deadline the editor gives you. Failure to send the correctly completed template on time may jeopardize your chance to have the abstract printed in the book.
  • The reasons the template is used are:
    • The tight deadlines that are necessitated by the fact that we are publishing student research that students are finishing up, sometimes in one semester.
    • So that participants can feel confident that their partners and mentors are listed correctly
      • Note: However, the URS committee double-checks the templates since some participants misspell their mentors' names.

POSTER AND ORAL PRESENTATIONS QUESTIONS

What is the difference between a poster and an oral presentation?

  • Poster: You create a poster or have one professionally printed. On the day of the event, you set up your poster and stand near it to explain your research to visitors.
    • NOTE: You are required to stay with your poster during the entire poster session.
  • Oral presentation: A 15-minute talk to an audience in a room set aside for this purpose. You may choose to have some sort of visual aid or not. After your talk, you will have 5 minutes to take questions from the audience. Presentations of creative work may follow a slightly different format (if you have any concerns, consult with the URS chairs).
    • NOTE: If you are going to need any equipment (such as overhead projector/transparencies, PowerPoint equipment, zip drive) you must order it when you submit your Application.

What are the poster requirements?

Participants can choose between a professionally printed poster, a tri-fold poster, or flat poster. Please carefully read the requirements and deadlines listed below for the chosen style.

Professionally Printed posters:

  • Size:
    • Suggested - 32" h x 40" w (see note on FREE posters and foam board below)
    • Minimum - 30" h x 40" w
    • Maximum - 36" h x 56" w
  • Professionally printed posters paid for by students, mentor, or department:
    • Poster participants may choose to print their own posters or may have to print their own posters if they become ineligible for free posters (by missing the workshop or deadline, failing to make required revisions).
      • NOTE: If you are having your own poster printed, you must make all arrangements with the printer.
    • Foam Board:
      • All participants need to make sure that they have stiff backing on which to affic the poster during the event. If you ordered the easel on your application form, note that you ordered the easel stand only, There is no rigid backing on the easel.
  • FREE posters:
    • Each year the URS Committee seeks funding for FREE professionally printed posters. Provided we receive funding, eligible students will receive FREE printed posters, boards, and Velcro fasteners.
    • To be eligible for a FREE printed poster: The participant must attend a poster workshop for the upcoming URS and submit their electronic file by the deadline and according to guidelines.
    • Poster participants who miss the workshop or the deadline or wish to have a different size poster must supply their own poster. NOTE: If you are having your own poster printed, you must make all arrangements with the printer.

Foam Board:

  • If you ordered an easel on your application form, note that you ordered the easel stand only. There is no rigid backing on the easel. All participants need to make sure that they have a stiff backing on which to affix the poster during the event. Some participants will be eligible for free foam board; see below.
  • If FREE printed posters are available, FREE foam board may also be available to eligible participants. Only 32" h x 40" w foam board is available through the URS. If your poster is a different size, you must provide your own foam board. See the URS MyGateway site or contact the URS.
  • In some cases, free foam board will be available for participants who bring their own printed posters. Special arrangements must be made. See the URS MyGateway site for instructions or contact the URS.
  • All other poster sizes: The participant must supply a foam board the same size as the printed poster.

Poster Fasteners:

  • If FREE printed posters are available, the URS may supply one set of Velcro fasteners per Poster File submission. NOTE: Participants who provide their own printed poster may be eligible to receive a free set of Velcro fasteners. Special arrangements must be made See the URS MyGateway site for instructions or contact the URS.
  • Participants who wish to fasten their poster to the foam board in any other manner must provide all supplies.


Tri-fold posters:

Size:

  • Folded for carrying - 36" h x 24" w
  • Unfolded for display - 36" h x 48" w

NOTE: These are also known as "corrugated presentation boards" or "display boards."

Flat poster:

Size:

  • Minimum - 30" h x 40" w
  • Maximum - 36" h x 56" w
  • Suggested - 32" h x 40" w - receive a FREE poster, foam board, and Velcro fasteners - see details below


NOTE:

  • Flat posters must be attached to or created on a stiff backing (such as foam board) the same size.
  • Participants who supply their own 32" h X 40" w flat poster may be eligible to receive a FREE foam board and/or set of Velcro fasteners. Special arrangements must be made. See the URS MyGateway site for instructions or contact the URS.

    Displaying posters: What can the URS committee provide?

NOTE: Participants can not tape anything to the walls.

Professionally printed posters w/ foam board support:

Easel: (Poster size requirements apply)

  • 30" h x 40" w to 36" h x 48" w - The URS will provide one easel per participant. One additional easel for displaying a creative work can be requested via the participant's Application.
  • 36" h x 49" w to 36" h x 56"w - Requires two easels. Special arrangements must be made either on the participant's Application or by sending an e-mail to URS@umsl.edu by the deadline (see guidelines at the URS MyGateway site). One additional easel for displaying a creative work can be requested via the participant's Application.

Table:

  • The URS will provide one table shared by two participants only to display artifacts, creative works, etc. Special arrangements must be made via the participant's Application to receive an entire table.

Tri-folded posters: (Choose one)

Easel:

  • The URS will provide one easel per participant. One additional easel for displaying a creative work can be requested via the participant's Application.

Table:

  • The URS will provide one table shared by two participants. Special arrangements must be made via the participant's Application to receive an entire table. The additional space can only be used to display artifacts, creative works, etc.

Flat poster:

  • The URS will provide one easel per participant. One additional easel for displaying a creative work can be requested via the participant's Application.

How do I create a poster?

  • Consult your mentor or a professor in your discipline, who will know the requirements of your field.
  • There will be workshops to help you fine-tune your poster. The dates will be announced via your UM-St. Louis student e-mail. However, do not wait until the workshop to start working on your poster. You will learn much more from the workshop if you have a sketched draft.
  • We also have a handout of suggested poster guidelines. This handout lists suggestions, not rigid rules.

NOTE: For assistance getting started, the following web sites can be consulted: http://www.efcats.org/presentation/poster.html

Is PowerPoint available for poster presenters?

  • No, we do not provide PowerPoint for poster presenters
  • You can bring your own laptop. The MSC has wifi.

Are the oral presentations scary?

  • Let's face it, any presentation includes an element of anxiety.
  • However, since you will be presenting in a non-threatening environment, this will give you practice before you need to give a presentation in a tension-filled venue (like a job interview).
  • Always remember that since this is your research, you are the expert on it.

NOTE: For assistance on oral presentations the following web sites can be consulted: http://www.auburn.edu/~burnsma/oralpres.html

Can I use Powerpoint in my oral presentation?

  • You must request the equipment when you file your ITP and/or Applications.
  • If you choose to use PowerPoint, please remember to use it well. For example, do not use PowerPoint as a teleprompter. Do not put your whole paper on PowerPoint and then read the paper to the audience from the screen. This is boring for the audience; the audience craves eye contact and spontaneity. Reading from the screen also makes the audience wonder if you actually know the material (if you knew it, why would you read it to them?).
  • Bring your PowerPoint presentation on a flash drive. Some refer to this as a memory stick or thumb drive.

Can I request PowerPoint equipment the day of the event?

  • No. Request it on your ITP and/or Application.

When will I know what time my oral presentation is?

  • You already know the basic parameters: the oral presentations take place between 12 pm and 3 pm.
  • The exact schedule will be determined the week before the event. If you have any class or work conflicts, you must notify the URS committee at least 2 weeks before the event via e-mail - URS@umsl.edu. We cannot guarantee that we can schedule around your conflict, but we will try.

What if I have my own display equipment or have special display needs?

  • The URS will allow participants to use their own display equipment such as an easel or custom display stand provided special arrangements are made via the participant's Application.
  • Participants must indicate special display needs via the participant's Application.
  • The URS makes no guarantee to fulfill special requests. Participants will be notified if the request cannot be met.

How do I submit my URS PowerPoint Poster file(s) to be printed?

  • Only participants eligible for the free poster should upload the poster. To be eligible, you must be an accepted participant who has attended one of the poster workshops for the upcoming URS and who uploads a poster according to the guidelines noted at the URS MyGateway site.
  • The guidelines and procedure for uploading posters are available through the URS MyGateway site; all accepted applicants have been added to that site. If you should have access to the URS MyGateway site but do not, please email the URS chair at urs@umsl.edu


MENTOR QUESTIONS

The Application asks for my mentor/advisor. What exactly does this mean?

  • You should list the faculty member(s) (including graduate research/teaching assistants) who are helping you with this project. (If in doubt, list the person as mentor.) If you have questions about this, contact the chairs of the URS - URS@umsl.edu.
  • Usually this is the professor of the class in which you started the project.
  • However, if you started the project in one class and finished or expanded it in another class, put down both (or all) professors.
  • In some cases, the mentor/advisor would include faculty members overseeing the project and a teaching assistant (or several) who works more directly with you.
  • Consult your mentors to find out the information about themselves that is required on the Application form (do not rely on information in a UM-St. Louis e-mail database).

Are letters of recommendation required?

All presenters are required to have their mentors fill out and submit the recommendation form to support their Application. (Note: the form will be posted online shortly)

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Is there any thing else I should bring with me?

Professional equipment (optional):

  • Business cards (you can print them on your computer)
  • Copies of your paper to give to visitors

Comfort equipment (recommended):

  • Comfortable shoes - you will be standing during the entire poster session
  • Snack and water bottle - you might want to eat lunch before the poster session starts since you will need to be standing near your poster during the entire time (2 hours)

What do I wear?

Look professional: wear business appropriate attire.

May I invite guests?

ABSOLUTELY! Please ask your friends, family, professors, or even your mail carrier. Basically, you can and definitely want to invite anyone who will agree to come and be your moral support. You might even consider inviting prospective employers or anyone in your field of study that you want to impress.

Is the URS the same as the URDC?

No, these are very different events, although students are encouraged to present at both events. The URS is held at UM-St. Louis. It is open to students from all disciplines. The URDC (Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol) is held in Jefferson City. A limited number of students from each UM campus are eligible to attend.

Nominations for the URDC, which occurs in the Spring, are due in the previous Fall. For more information, visit http://www.umsl.edu/divisions/artscience/uresearch/URDC.html.

URS