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Workshop Series

Modules for 2017-2018 workshops


Getting started

What is a research poster?

Research posters are widely used in the academic community, and most conferences include a poster session. In a poster session, the author stands next to their poster and talks with attendees. They answer questions and discuss research methodology, results, and future directions.

What makes a good poster?

  • Title is short and draws interest
  • Word count of about 300-800 words
  • Writing is clear and concise
  • Effective use of bullets, numbering, and headings make it easy to read
  • Appropriate images, tables, and charts to summarize results
  • Size, layout, and colors are eye-catching, not distracting or hard to read

What makes a good presentation?

  • Check and double-check the conference requirements 
  • Know your topic! 
  • Prepare talking points and anticipate questions
  • Dress professionally
  • Speak clearly and use eye contact
  • Coordinate with your group members on presenting research and answering questions

How do I make a research poster?

  • PowerPoint: A popular, easy-to-use option. Available on all library computers. 
  • Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign: Professional design software with loads of features. Available in the Library Tech Rooms
  • Open Office: OpenOffice's Impress is a free alternative to PowerPoint.
  • Gimp and Inkscape are similar to Adobe products. 

Design tips


Readers are used to scanning columns from left to right. Keep your content organized in clearly delineated columns to follow natural eye movements. 


  • Avoid using more than 2 fonts in your poster. 
  • Be consistent. All of your paragraphs should be in the same font, as should all of your headings. 
  • Avoid gimmicky and hard-to-read fonts.
  • Size your fonts correctly. Fonts that are too small will not draw readers. Fonts that are too large limit how much information you can fit on the poster. 

Title area:

  • Poster title: 90-100 pt. font
  • Author and affiliation: 60-100 pt.
  • Contact information: 48 pt.


  • Headings: 48 pt. 
  • Paragraphs and bullets: 36 pt.
  • Captions: 12-24 pt. 


To determine whether comic sans is ever appropriate for academic writing. 


  • Conduct anonymous survey of faculty, staff, and students
  • Analyze sample papers
  • Graph results


For your color scheme, stick to basics: light background, dark text, and one or two accent colors used sparingly. Avoid bright or patterned backgrounds or brightly colored text. If using an all-white background, box borders and lines can break up text and guide the reader.


Posters in the Humanities

It can be challenging to find images to use in posters covering history or literature. Consider other ways to break up text—for example, visualizing workflows or relationships. 

Posters in Nursing

Posters that present research findings should include: 

  • background and significance of the study
  • aims of the study
  • methods
  • results
  • discussion and implications


Visualization Tools