The Three Minute Thesis

3MT-logoThe U of A is hosting it’s first annual Three Minute Thesis competition this week, a idea first developed in Queensland, Australia in 2008.

Along with a fellow graduate student, I presented the RIPPLE project to fellow competitors and a panel of judges within a three minute time span on Tuesday. Although it seemed straightforward when I initially signed up for it, I soon realized there were a multitude of factors that came into play; for example:

(1) How simple should my talk be? I wanted to reduce the use of jargon and specific terms unique to the field so that it was suitable for the lay audience, but not so much as to offend listeners due to over-simplicity.

(2) How many results should I share, and which ones? By the time I got going, my introduction and significance of the issue took 60 seconds, the method took 30, and I had little time left for what people really care about.

(3) What is the “hook”? Or also known as the thing that gets people interested. Typically this will have to be crafted in a way that engages everyone, regardless of previous training or experience.

Although I wasn’t a finalist, I learned a lot… particularly that an endeavor may not be as simple as it seems at face value! And as my friend Wayne says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!”



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