Selected Topics in Specification and Testing Dominic Steinhöfel + Andreas Zeller


DOs and DON'Ts for summaries & talks in the seminar

Written: 31.05.2021 17:46 Written By: Dominic Steinhöfel

Dear all,

Albeit quite late in the seminar, I'd like to give you some advice on how to write summaries and give talks in the seminar, following Kevin's suggestion. As said before, I want to avoid an over-formalization here, like giving you a Skeleton document which you then fill with words. Rather, I'll provide you with an incomplete list of DO's and DON'Ts that hopefully help you when preparing your summaries and talks.



  • Mention the motivation of the work
  • Outline crucial technical contributions. What makes this approach special?
  • Flexibly go a little more in depth for contributions you find particularly interesting
  • Always use your own words for describing the paper's content
  • Possibly end with a brief, personal reflection on the paper. You can also mention open questions, such that we can address them in the seminar.


  • Focus on formalities, like the authors' affiliations
  • Copy-paste content from the paper, or use the wording / justification / explanation of the author's
  • Write sentences whose meaning you don't understand. Better mention that this part is difficult to understand / add a question, then we'll clarify it in the seminar!
  • Simply write a sentence for each section / subsection in the paper. DO detail the content that YOU deem interesting!
  • Skip huge (relatively to the paper / contribution size) parts of the paper which you don't mention at all. If you don't understand them, maybe add a question, but try to understand everything.



  • Explain along examples. It's best if you find your own ones, but good examples from the paper are also fine
  • Explain all relevant details of the paper. It's your job to decide what's relevant if there's too much content for five minutes
  • Rehearse your presentation. Your presentation should take exactly 5min, not much longer, not much shorter
  • Raise the interest of your audience! Unicorn pictures are also fine, if they are not too time consuming
  • Find the right tradeoff between too many technical details and staying too much on the surface
  • Use adequate visualizations
  • Proof-read your slides! Avoid typos at all means


  • Miss the really important contributions
  • Use small fonts, flood your slides with text or illegible graphics. DO use adequate visualizations.
  • Attain the author's view. You're an objective observer!
  • Add unexplained content to your slide. Everything there should be easy to understand given the previous part of the presentation and your current explanations.
  • Use too many bullet points
  • Use ugly presentation templates :)


I hope this helps! As always, ask if anything is unclear.

Also ask if you don't understand something that might be vital in a paper, especially if you're the next presenter! I'm happy to help out. If it's not critical, the seminar session is always there to clarify everything, of course. Remember that we also have a forum in the CMS, you can use this to discuss with other seminar participants before the sessions.


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