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How to Create a Poster Presentation

What is a Research Poster?

Posters are widely used in the academic community, and most conferences include poster presentations in their program.  Research posters summarize information or research concisely and attractively to help publicize it and generate discussion. 

Posters are ways of communicating your work visually and concisely to interested viewers.  As viewers walk through the poster display area, they may skim your poster, stop to read, or ask questions.   A poster session is a good opportunity, not only to explain and promote your research or project, but to get feedback on it, make connections with researchers working in related areas, and possibly even meet a future employer.

The poster is usually a mixture of a brief text mixed with tables, graphs, pictures, and other presentation formats. At a conference, the researcher stands by the poster display while other participants can come and view the presentation and interact with the author. They allow you to  reach a large audience more informally than a prepared research talk and to interact directly with interested viewers.

Why do a poster session?

You might be preparing for a poster session for a number of reasons:

  • a class assignment
  • an undergraduate or graduate research display
  • a promotional event highlighting work done at the University
  • a scientific conference or professional meeting

Regardless of the purpose, the same basic principles of poster design and presentation apply. Some details may vary depending on the requirements of the session organizer and whether you are presenting for a class assignment or for a conference.

Where do I begin?

Answer these three questions:

  1. What is the most important/interesting/astounding finding from my research project?
  2. How can I visually share my research with conference attendees? Should I use charts, graphs, photos, images?
  3. What kind of information can I convey during my talk that will complement my poster?

What makes a good poster?

  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away
  • Title is short and draws interest
  • Word count of about 300 to 800 words
  • Text is clear and to the point
  • Use of bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read
  • Effective use of graphics, color and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • Includes acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation