Telling Your Story
Learn about how to tell your story and improve your project's clarity here!
- Read about some general Wiki Tips, including the new changes for the 2015 season
- Learn about the importance of making sure that your Project Overview is clear and concise
- Get ideas on how to clearly explain your Project Design and Project Results to your audience
- Think about adding a specific page listing your Medal Criteria Checklist so judges can quickly reference the page if necessary
- Get some advice for your Presentation and your Poster at the Giant Jamboree
The goal of this information is to help teams understand the importance of scientific communication in terms of explaining their work to a larger audience and documentation as it pertains to the iGEM competition for medals and special prizes for the 2015 season. Telling your story in a clear and concise way is challenging, but well worth the effort in the end.
Remember, your wiki is the public-facing representation of your project! The general public will see it, so your story overview should be clear to non-scientists and you should be able to guide them through the different parts of your project at a high level through your wiki pages.
This is also how the team's judges will first learn about your project, so you should make sure your story, design, and results are clear to someone who has never seen your work before. You might want to ask other Professors and graduate students in your department or college to read the wiki as you build it, to make sure other scientific experts can understand your project from just your wiki alone.
The majority of this advice is centered on the team wiki with a few suggestions for your poster and oral presentations, but these suggestions should also tell you the type of information the team might want to consider including in their presentations.
General Wiki Tips
Everyone involved with your iGEM team should make sure to read through:
Making sure that you follow these requirements should not be the responsibility of only a few team members, but rather a shared responsibility throughout the team, including the advisors and mentors.
Remember, your team wiki is a public page and should show of all of your hard work! Everyone on the team should take pride in the wiki and we recommend that everyone on your team help contribute some material for it.
Avoid using copyrighted material, especially images! Use original content as much as possible to avoid running into copyright problems.
Please take note of the Perspectives from an iGEM veteran that Ana from iGEM HQ wrote as a former team member on an iGEM team. Ana's suggestions are focused on the team members building and maintaining the wiki, and we recommend all teams follow her advice!
Another member of the iGEM HQ team, Traci, had a few suggestions to add. Traci was the team mentor and instructor for the 2011-2014 competitions, so her perspective is from running an iGEM team.
1. Assign weekly tasks for the wiki during lab meetings
As we all know, team mentors and advisors are invested in their team's project. Remember, a large part of an iGEM project is the team wiki! As a team instructor, I helped students decide on weekly tasks and assignments for the content for their wiki during our regular lab meetings. I often told students to work on the content while they waited for reactions to finish or gels to run in the lab, which seemed to work nicely.
2. Instructors and mentors should be proofreaders for the wiki
As your team creates content and posts it on their wikis, you should make sure to take some time each week to read through the wiki and ensure the content has been proofread for typos, clarity, and accuracy.
3. Assign specific pages to specific people
Ideally, each team member will be creating content for the team wiki with a smaller group responsible for editing the wiki and posting the content to the page. To avoid confusion and possible deletion of content, you should make sure the editing of each page is specifically assigned to one person.
4. Updates done on the Wiki Freeze Day should be minor edits
Every team around the world will be editing and updating their wikis on September 18th. I strongly urge you to only make minor edits and update figures on Wiki Freeze Day. I recommend that the vast majority of your content should be on the wiki a full week before the Wiki Freeze so you have plenty of time to read through everything and make sure you haven't missed any critical item. This will greatly reduce the stress on your team members!
Best of luck!
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me: traci AT igem DOT org
Having a brief, well-written project overview is a huge help for anyone interested in reading about your project. The overview should only be a few paragraphs in length and often teams will include a cartoon or diagram to accompany their overview. Ideally, the overview should be understood by scientists and non-scientists alike. We also recommend that you have pages with detailed descriptions for each part of your project, complete with references and links to your results.
Recommended Components for a Clear Overview Page
Examples of Well-Written Overview Pages
Overview illustration from the 2013 SYSU China team
Below are a handful of well done project overviews. These examples show different ways that the project overview can be done on the team wikis. These are all concise, well-written project overviews with links to more detail.
Project design pages should be where you delve into more details about the genetic devices, software, hardware, and anything else you intend to work on and build over the course of your project. You should highlight design elements that are inspired by previous work (and cite the work!) and discuss if you are creating a new part or using a part in a new way. Often, teams will include a diagram of their genetic circuit layout, the GUI design for their software interface, or a schematic of the hardware they're creating, among any other design elements that went into the project. The list of components below focuses more on wet lab teams.
Recommended Components for a Clear Design Page
Examples of Well Done Design Pages
Software design example from the 2012 Wellesley HCI team
Below are a handful of well done project design pages. These range from wet lab teams to hardware projects to software designs. These highlight the vast range of ideas and projects undertaken by iGEM teams and should highlight different ways that designs can be conveyed to the general public and to the iGEM judges.
Make sure you post your results on you wiki! It may sound like an obvious statement, but sometimes teams can forget to clearly state how their experiments ended and discuss what they concluded from that work. It's not enough to post your experimental details in your online wiki notebook - you need to have a section devoted to the results of your work on your wiki.
We strongly recommend that the results of your work should be posted on your wiki using your assigned standard Results page (https://2015.igem.org/Team:Example/Results). You will want to include a link to this page in your wiki navigation so it's easy to find for someone who will be seeing your wiki for the first time. Finding the team's results can sometimes be challenging when there isn't an obvious button or dropdown menu item on your wiki that is labeled "Results". You want your judges to find the results of your hard work, so make sure it's easy to find the page!
Recommended Components for a Clear Results Page
Examples of Well-Written Results Pages
Results example from the 2013 Paris Bettencourt team
Take a look at the example Results pages below. These examples represent just a handful of teams who implemented a clear, concise Results page. It can be a difficult task and will take careful planning and hard work to execute it well. These teams all have some variation of the components given above in their pages.
Medal Criteria Checklist
Another page teams may consider having on their wikis is a Medal Criteria Checklist page. This is not one of the new standard pages, but we recommend teams create one and have it easily visible for the judges to find.
Recommended Components for a Checklist
Examples of Medal Criteria Pages
Gold medal checklist from the 2014 BostonU team
Below are a handful of ways that teams have highlighted their work towards the medal requirements. The chosen teams were all awarded gold medals during the competition and were chosen because they showed a completed checklist of items for their year.
Below is some general advice for teams to consider as they start preparing their oral presentations. These are just some ideas that we hope you think about, particularly if you've never presented a talk at a conference before.
Make sure to check out the Giant Jamboree Presentation Guidelines for information about timing and judging!
Below is some general advice for teams to consider as they start preparing their poster presentations. This does not mean other methods of discussing your poster are discouraged; but rather, these are just some ideas that we hope you think about, particularly if you've never presented a poster at a conference before.
Make sure to check out the Giant Jamboree Poster Guidelines as well for more information!