Guidelines for Judging Student Presentations
by the ASP Education Committee

by the ASP Education Committee

To be eligible for participation, the competitor

  1. must be first author, but need not be sole author,
  2. must be a student (graduate or undergraduate, or post-baccalaureate trainee) as of the time the abstract is submitted to the Program Committee,
  3. must present the paper or the poster,
  4. cannot have won this competition previously.

Regarding Criterion 1. above, the ASPEC would like to emphasize that this competition is intended to judge work that is conceived, developed, conducted, and written by students/trainees. We recognize the valuable contribution of professors and fellow students, and for that reason will accept multi-authored papers. However, we encourage participants to take seriously the notion that this is a STUDENT COMPETITION.


Each application will be reviewed by the chairs and the names and identifying institution will be redacted, for 1st round blind judging by the committee following notification from the Program Committee that the applicant’s abstract was accepted for the meeting. Applications will be judged for completeness, the author’s ability to follow instructions, background and significance, research design, organization, writing/format and overall quality.

Applications will be judged on the basis 5 criteria and rated on a 5-point scale for a maximum score of 25 points. For details see rubrics below.


Second round judging will be conducted in person at the conference. ASPEC members with conflicts of interest will recuse themselves from judging.

Each presentation, including the Data Blitz (if applicable), will be rated for both content and delivery as described below.

  1. Data Blitz
    Does the author deliver the single slide on time, use graphics and text effectively and efficiently to communicate to and generate interest in the audience.
  2. Background, originality & significance
    This category attempts to evaluate the importance of the study. Judges will consider the following questions: Does the study show originality or creativity in research design and/or interpretation? Does it address a new problem, or an old problem in a new way? Are the study and its results important? Do they shed new light on the issue at hand, or suggest important new methods, procedures, etc.? Or does the study report a necessary and valuable replication of earlier work? Does the presentation make a clear case for how the research fits into a larger context? Does the student address the issue of the study's importance to the field of primatology? (Please pay particular attention to these last two questions.)
  3. Research Design
    This category refers primarily, but not exclusively, to methods of data collection and analysis. Judges will consider the following questions: Are the study's objectives clearly stated, along with specific hypotheses or test predictions? Are the research methods sound? Do they produce data that address the proposed objectives? Are statistical analyses used appropriately? Where such analyses are lacking, is there clear rationale for adopting another approach?
  4. Organization
    Does the paper present a logical flow of ideas and material? Does it move smoothly from one topic to the next, rather than jumping around, and therefore make a cogent argument? Has it been developed to make effective use of the allotted time frame?
  5. Delivery
    Is the delivery smooth and professional? Does the contestant make eye contact with the audience? Are questions handled well?
  6. Visual Aids and Technical Aspects
    Is the presentation enhanced by the visual aids? Are these well constructed, easy to interpret, and used effectively?
  7. Ability to Field Questions
    Judges look for the ability to stimulate and answer interesting questions, not only to clarify specifics or technical aspects of the work. Does the author repeat or paraphrase questions and accurately address the question, and demonstrate a depth of knowledge to apply the work to the field.


Second round judging for Poster Presentations will address aspects of the Data Blitz (when applicable), and presentation content will be rated in the same manner as Oral Presentations. Aspects of delivery to be rated for Posters include:

  1. Organization
    Does the poster present a logical flow of ideas and material? Has it been developed to make effective use of the allotted space? Is the poster easy to follow and interpret?
  2. Delivery
    Does the contestant interact effectively with colleagues who stop to examine the work? Are questions handled professionally? Does verbal exchange complement the presentation, rather than simply repeating it? Does the contestant present information in a poised, clear, and engaging manner?
  3. Visual Aids
    Is the presentation enhanced by the visual aids? Are these well constructed and easy to interpret? Is the overall poster aesthetically pleasing? Special attention should be paid to overcrowding, excessive use of text absence of typos, color schemes that are accessible even by those with red/green color blindness.

Oral and Poster Presentation will be judged on the basis of seven attributes and rated on a 5-point scale for a maximum score of 35. For details see rubrics below.


View/download a PDF of the Student Competition Application rubric, the 2nd round Oral Presentation rubric, or the 2nd round Poster Presentation Rubric.