Creating a Poster

What exactly is a poster presentation.

A poster presentation combines text and graphics to present your project in a way that is visually interesting and accessible. It allows you to display your work to a large group of other scholars and to talk to and receive feedback from interested viewers.

Poster sessions have been very common in the sciences for some time, and they have recently become more popular as forums for the presentation of research in other disciplines like the social sciences, service learning, the humanities, and the arts.

Poster presentation formats differ from discipline to discipline, but in every case, a poster should clearly articulate what you did, how you did it, why you did it, and what it contributes to your field and the larger field of human knowledge.

What goals should I keep in mind as I construct my poster?

  • Clarity of content. You will need to decide on a small number of key points that you want your viewers to take away from your presentation, and you will need to articulate those ideas clearly and concisely.
  • Visual interest and accessibility. You want viewers to notice and take interest in your poster so that they will pause to learn more about your project, and you will need the poster’s design to present your research in a way that is easy for those viewers to make sense of it.

Who will be viewing my poster?

The answer to this question depends upon the context in which you will be presenting your poster. If you are presenting at a conference in your field, your audience will likely contain mostly people who will be familiar with the basic concepts you’re working with, field-specific terminology, and the main debates facing your field and informing your research. This type of audience will probably most interested in clear, specific accounts of the what and the how of your project.

If you are presenting in a setting where some audience members may not be as familiar with your area of study, you will need to explain more about the specific debates that are current in your field and to define any technical terms you use. This audience will be less interested in the specific details and more interested in the what and why of your project—that is, your broader motivations for the project and its impact on their own lives.

How do I narrow my project and choose what to put on my poster?

Probably less than you would like! One of the biggest pitfalls of poster presentations is filling your poster with so much text that it overwhelms your viewers and makes it difficult for them to tell which points are the most important. Viewers should be able to skim the poster from several feet away and easily make out the most significant points.

The point of a poster is not to list every detail of your project. Rather, it should explain the value of your research project. To do this effectively, you will need to determine your take-home message. What is the single most important thing you want your audience to understand, believe, accept, or do after they see your poster?

Once you have an idea about what that take-home message is, support it by adding some details about what you did as part of your research, how you did it, why you did it, and what it contributes to your field and the larger field of human knowledge.

What kind of information should I include about what I did?

This is the raw material of your research: your research questions, a succinct statement of your project’s main argument (what you are trying to prove), and the evidence that supports that argument. In the sciences, the what of a project is often divided into its hypothesis and its data or results. In other disciplines, the what is made up of a claim or thesis statement and the evidence used to back it up.

Remember that your viewers won’t be able to process too much detailed evidence; it’s your job to narrow down this evidence so that you’re providing the big picture. Choose a few key pieces of evidence that most clearly illustrate your take-home message. Often a chart, graph, table, photo, or other figure can help you distill this information and communicate it quickly and easily.

What kind of information should I include about how I did it?

Include information about the process you followed as you conducted your project. Viewers will not have time to wade through too many technical details, so only your general approach is needed. Interested viewers can ask you for details.

What kind of information should I include about why I did it?

Give your audience an idea about your motivation for this project. What real-world problems or questions prompted you to undertake this project? What field-specific issues or debates influenced your thinking? What information is essential for your audience to be able to understand your project and its significance? In some disciplines, this information appears in the background or rationale section of a paper.

What kind of information should I include about its contribution ?

Help your audience to see what your project means for you and for them. How do your findings impact scholars in your field and members of the broader intellectual community? In the sciences, this information appears in the discussion section of a paper.

How will the wording of my ideas on my poster be different from my research paper?

In general, you will need to simplify your wording. Long, complex sentences are difficult for viewers to absorb and may cause them to move on to the next poster. Poster verbiage must be concise, precise, and straightforward. And it must avoid jargon. Here is an example:

Wording in a paper: This project sought to establish the ideal specifications for clinically useful wheelchair pressure mapping systems, and to use these specifications to influence the design of an innovative wheelchair pressure mapping system.

Wording on a poster:

Aims of study

  • Define the ideal wheelchair pressure mapping system
  • Design a new system to meet these specifications

Once I have decided what to include, how do I actually design my poster?

The effectiveness of your poster depends on how quickly and easily your audience can read and interpret it, so it’s best to make your poster visually striking. You only have a few seconds to grab attention as people wander past your poster; make the most of those seconds!

How are posters usually laid out?

In general, people expect information to flow left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Viewers are best able to absorb information from a poster with several columns that progress from left to right.

Even within these columns, however, there are certain places where viewers’ eyes naturally fall first and where they expect to find information.

Imagine your poster with an upside-down triangle centered from the top to the bottom. It is in this general area that people tend to look first and is often used for the title, results, and conclusions. Secondary and supporting information tend to fall to the sides, with the lower right having the more minor information such as acknowledgements (including funding), and personal contact information.

poster assignment instructions

  • Main Focus Area Location of research fundamentals: Title, Authors, Institution, Abstract, Results, Conclusion
  • Secondary Emphasis Location of important info: Intro, Results or Findings, Summary
  • Supporting Area Location of supporting info: Methods, Discussion
  • Final Info Area Location of supplemental info: References, Acknowledgments

How much space should I devote to each section?

This will depend on the specifics of your project. In general, remember that how much space you devote to each idea suggests how important that section is. Make sure that you allot the most space to your most important points.

How much white space should I leave on my poster?

White space is helpful to your viewers; it delineates different sections, leads the eye from one point to the next, and keeps the poster from being visually overwhelming. In general, leave 10—30% of your poster as white space.

Should I use graphics?

Absolutely! Visual aids are one of the most effective ways to make your poster visually striking, and they are often a great way to communicate complex information straightforwardly and succinctly. If your project deals with lots of empirical data, your best bet will be a chart, graph, or table summarizing that data and illustrating how that data confirms your hypothesis.

If you don’t have empirical data, you may be able to incorporate photographs, illustrations, annotations, or other items that will pique your viewers’ interest, communicate your motivation, demonstrate why your project is particularly interesting or unique.

Don’t incorporate visual aids just for the sake of having a pretty picture on your poster. The visual aids should contribute to your overall message and convey some piece of information that your viewers wouldn’t otherwise get just from reading your poster’s text.

How can I make my poster easy to read?

There are a number of tricks you can use to aid readability and emphasize crucial ideas. In general:

  • Use a large font. Don’t make the text smaller in order to fit more onto the poster. Make sure that 95% of the text on your poster can be read from 4 feet away. If viewers can’t make out the text from a distance, they’re likely to walk away.
  • Choose a sans-serif font like Helvetica or Verdana, not a serif font, like Times New Roman. Sans-serif fonts are easier to read because they don’t have extraneous hooks on every letter. Here is an example of a sans-serif and a serif font:
  • Once you have chosen a font, be consistent in its usage. Use just one font.
  • Don’t single-space your text. Use 1.5- or double-spacing to make the text easier to read.

For main points:

  • Use bold, italicized, or colored fonts, or enclose text in boxes. Save this kind of emphasis for only a few key words, phrases, or sentences. Too much emphasized text makes it harder, not easier, to locate important points.
  • Make your main points easy to find by setting them off with bullets or numbers.

What is my role as the presenter of my poster?

When you are standing in front of your poster, you—and what you choose to say—are as important as the actual poster. Be ready to talk about your project, answer viewers’ questions, provide additional details about your project, and so on.

How should I prepare for my presentation?

Once your poster is finished, you should re-familiarize yourself with the larger project you’re presenting. Remind yourself about those details you ended up having to leave out of the poster, so that you will be able to bring them up in discussions with viewers. Then, practice, practice, practice!

Show your poster to advisors, professors, friends, and classmates before the day of the symposium to get a feel for how viewers might respond. Prepare a four- to five-minute overview of the project, where you walk these pre-viewers through the poster, drawing their attention to the most critical points and filling in interesting details as needed. Make note of the kinds of questions these pre-viewers have, and be ready to answer those questions. You might even consider making a supplemental handout that provides additional information or answers predictable questions.

How long should I let audience members look at the poster before engaging them in discussion?

Don’t feel as if you have to start talking to viewers the minute they stop in front of your poster. Give them a few moments to read and process the information. Once viewers have had time to acquaint themselves with your project, offer to guide them through the poster. Say something like “Hello. Thanks for stopping to view my poster. Would you like a guided tour of my project?” This kind of greeting often works better than simply asking “Do you have any questions?” because after only a few moments, viewers might not have had time to come up with questions, even though they are interested in hearing more about your project.

Should I read from my poster?

No! Make sure you are familiar enough with your poster that you can talk about it without looking at it. Use the poster as a visual aid, pointing to it when you need to draw viewers’ attention to a chart, photograph, or particularly interesting point.

Sample Posters

Click on the links below to open a PDF of each sample poster.

“Quantitative Analysis of Artifacts in Volumetric DSA: The Relative Contributions of Beam Hardening and Scatter to Vessel Dropout Behind Highly Attenuating Structures”  James R. Hermus, Timothy P. Szczykutowicz, Charles M. Strother, and Charles Mistretta

Departments of Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering, and Radiology: University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Self-Care Interventions for the Management of Mouth Sores in Hematology Patients Receiving Chemotherapy” Stephanie L. Dinse and Catherine Cherwin

School of Nursing: University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Enhancing the Fluorescence of Wisconsin Infrared Phytofluor: Wi-Phy for Potential Use in Infrared Imaging”  Jerad J. Simmons and Katrina T. Forest

Department of Bacteriology: University of Wisconsin-Madison

poster assignment instructions

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Creative Student Assignments: Poster Projects

Looking for a final course project for your students that might give them an authentic learning experience – building skills they can use in their post-college careers? Think about a poster assignment.

For STEM career-path students, poster sessions are certain to be a part of their futures. Increasingly, those in Humanities and Social Sciences are finding that poster sessions are being seen in their professional/academic conferences. Posters and similar presentation approaches are becoming part of business (including non-profit) practice as well.

Credit: NASA/GSFC/Becky Strauss

Poster projects can be designed to foster student research, writing, and presentation skills as well as pushing them to think visually. If having students print out their final product for presentation is too costly and/or space for a poster session is limited, students can present electronically. In fact, the easiest way to create a poster is to use a size-customized (e.g., 48”x36”) PowerPoint or Keynote slide, so presenting on a large screen to a class is feasible and cost effective.

You will want to provide students with specific objectives as well as concrete instructions, and, preferably, a few checkpoint deadlines along the way. Fortunately there are many online resources and guides for poster creators.  Here are three (if you have other sources, please share in the comments section):

SUNY at Buffalo Libraries – Designing Effective Posters A collaborative effort hosted at NCSU: Creating Effective Poster Presentations This one combines short videos and text in an introduction to Poster Design , especially good for layout and design elements.

There are many more, as well as YouTube and Vimeo video tutorials.

First time poster creators tend to err on the side of having too much text, so you should give your students some specific guidelines.  These, for example, can be adapted according to your pedagogical goals and academic discipline:

Title = 1-2 short lines Abstract (if required) = ~50 words Introduction = ~200 words Materials/methods = ~200 words Results = ~200 words Conclusion = ~100 words Other sections (footnotes, acknowledgements, sponsors) = ~50 words TOTAL < 800 words

A total word count of 800 is may be difficult to achieve, but getting as close to that as possible will keep the content concise and focused. It will also leave more room for images and diagrams, the elements that will be most attractive to viewers in a crowded poster session.

You will want your students to think about using consistent design elements (layout, font, color, images, and data display) so that their visual language is both unique and subject-appropriate. This attention to consistent design will also set them apart from other displays. Looking at examples of posters in class and having your students discuss what is effective and what is not can be a good way to get students thinking visually. Use Google Images   to search for “ examples of scientific posters ” or “ examples of humanities posters ” or examples in your specific discipline to start the conversation.

Macie Hall, Senior Instructional Designer Center for Educational Resources

Reid Sczerba, Multimedia Developer Center for Educational Resources

Image Source: Credit: NASA/GSFC/Becky Strauss

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How to Create a Research Poster

  • Poster Basics
  • Design Tips
  • Logos & Images

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. 

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.

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

A Sample of a Well Designed Poster

View this poster example in a web browser .  

Three column blue and white poster with graphs, data, and other information displayed.

Image credit: Poster Session Tips by [email protected], via Penn State

Where do I begin?

Answer these three questions:.

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

What software can I use to make a poster?

A popular, easy-to-use option. It is part of Microsoft Office package and is available on the library computers in rooms LC337 and LC336. ( Advice for creating a poster with PowerPoint ).

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign

Feature-rich professional software that is good for posters including lots of high-resolution images, but they are more complex and expensive.  NYU Faculty, Staff, and Students can access and download the Adobe Creative Suite .

Open Source Alternatives 

  • OpenOffice is the free alternative to MS Office (Impress is its PowerPoint alternative).
  • Inkscape and Gimp are alternatives to Adobe products.
  • For charts and diagrams try Gliffy or Lovely Charts .
  • A complete list of free graphics software .

A Sample of a Poorly Designed Poster

View this bad poster example in a browser.

Poster marked up pointing out errors, of which there are many.

Image Credit: Critique by Better Posters

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  • Last Updated: Jul 11, 2023 5:09 PM
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Creating Poster Presentations

A powerful communication tool, preparation, organization, poster design, delivery: presenting your poster.

Poster presentations are an extremely powerful method of communicating research. Researchers summarize their work, present it in a visually-appealing printed poster, and briefly explain their research to an audience. 

Poster presentations require a considerable amount of advanced planning. You must consider the poster’s purpose, audience, and emphasis as these factors influence content and format.

  • Purpose : The purpose of your presentation is to clearly convey the “take-home” message of your research. You also want to encourage your audience to comment on and ask questions about your work.
  • Audience : You will likely present your poster at a conference or in a class, so your audience is generally familiar with your field of study. However, if you present to the public, you may need to offer more background or focus on the application of your research.
  • Emphasis : Determine the most important aspects of your research that will help your audience to understand your project. Your message must be clear and focused.

A poster is a visual presentation of your research, so be sure that the content of your poster reflects your work. Generally, your poster will focus on the results and implications of your research.

Ask these questions to help you to narrow your focus:

  • What was your question? What was the purpose of your research? 
  • What methods did you use to understand your question?
  • What did you learn?
  • What do your findings mean? Why is this work interesting or important?

The organization of a poster usually reflects the conventions of your discipline; therefore, a biochemistry poster will generally follow the IMRD structure, but a poster for marketing may emphasize recommendations and include an environmental scan. Include sections that are relevant to your project and your field.

Common Elements of a Poster

  • Title : effectively highlight your research in ten words or less
  • Names of author[s] : names of contributors and their research affiliation (university)
  • Introduction :  identify the research problem, the purpose of the project, and define key terms or concepts
  • Methods : briefly describe the methods (e.g., materials, procedures, analysis)
  • Results : outline the results of your work; use graphs and tables to display your results
  • Discussion :  succinctly summarize the conclusions from your work as well as its implications and any future directions
  • Recommendations/Application : explanation of recommended actions or potential applications discovered in research
  • References : cite any sources that you have used; follow the citation style for your discipline
  • Acknowledgements : where relevant note funding or host agencies

Consider what information you can best express visually and what needs a text explanation. Figures, tables, and photographs are all appropriate for a poster. Text may be included in short paragraphs or in bulleted lists, where appropriate. Use headings to create structure and support your ability to draw your audience to specific points on your poster.

Place your elements in columns, so that your viewer will first read down one column and then move to the next column to the right. Pay attention to conference guidelines regarding size and format requirements for posters.

Guidelines for creating your poster:

  • Aim for a maximum of 1000 words of text (including titles for figures etc.)
  • Write short, bulleted phrases, rather than groups of paragraphs
  • Use one simple font such as Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman
  • Main title – 72 point
  • Subtitles – 60 point
  • Supporting materials – 32 point
  • Minimum – 18 point
  • Clearly label all visuals
  • Use colour sparingly to unify your poster.
  • Follow this simple ratio: 20% Text, 40% Visual, 40% white space.

Posters can be created using your computer and readily available software, such as PowerPoint. There are also free research poster templates available online.  

One consideration is the cost of printing. Posters maybe printed on large paper at a specialized printing shop, which can be costly; call ahead for a quote. Alternatively, you can print out smaller sections of a poster on standard 8.5 x 11 paper and then neatly attach the pages to a poster board.

With your purpose and audience in mind, be aware of what points you want to emphasize. Prepare a short talk (2 - 3 minutes) that will augment your poster: focus on why your research is important and point to the graphics on your poster as support.

This is your chance to participate in valuable discussion about your research. Many people will just scan your poster, but others will want to engage with you and ask questions. Be ready to answer questions and explain elements of your research, both those that are on the poster and those which are not.

Checklist for the Presentation

  • Professional attitude and dress
  • Prepared with a short explanation of your research
  • Knowledgeable and relaxed enough to be able to engage with your audience without referring to notes or reading the text of the poster
  • Ready to answer questions about your research
  • Able to initiate discussion
  • Prepared to deal with problems that may arise regarding setting up your poster

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Poster Presentations - Designing Effective Posters

Poster presentations - designing effective posters: home.

The poster presentation is a dynamic communication tool evolving over the past four decades, as a means to accommodate the increasing number of researchers, especially graduate students, seeking a means for scholarly presentations of their research. Since then the poster session at many conferences is a major component of meetings of professional associations and societies in many disciplines used to highlight research results and discuss their significance in an informal and interactive setting. Often posters have their own special location and times for presentation; have their abstracts and presenter contact information list in program booklets or proceedings. Recently, dynamic links to the poster itself are provided for full-poster online viewing. The poster presentation is a highly-used communication tool for students (undergraduate and graduate) to display and discuss their research experiences in class and laboratory settings. This guide provides a variety of resources assisting individuals or teams in designing an effective poster and presenting it in a professional, informal, and rewarding setting, whether it is an upper-division undergraduate class or at a local, national or international meeting of a professional association or society. [email protected]

Designing Effective Posters

A. introduction, b. background readings.

  • C. Design Tips

E. General Remarks

Disclaimer & Permissions

If you are involved in planning a poster session for a conference, symposium, or meeting, consider posting this site to your own program’s Web site to assist those considering submitting a poster. So, please feel free to create a link from your own pages to this site and suggest this site to others,  especially  those planning or organizing a poster session.

Fred Stoss University at Buffalo Libraries

" It takes intelligence, even brilliance, to condense and focus information into a clear, simple presentation that will be read and remembered. Ignorance and arrogance are shown in a crowded, complicated, hard-to-read poster ."   Mary Helen Briscoe

Colin Purrington provides a remarkable guide, " Designing Conference Posters ." This is the single-best resource for helpful hints in designing effective poster presentations.

The rate at which scientific and technical information grows continues to increase. National and international conferences provide a mechanism to facilitate the rapid communication of scientific ideas in the form of poster presentations. The poster presentation is NOT the pasting of a scholarly article on poster board or foam-core and standing by to defend the results reproduced in miniature on the "poster." However, it is far too often that one attends a conference poster session and finds this format to dominate the method of poster presentations. The poster presentation should represent a “...well-designed, eye-catching, and engaging... display of research or scientific information.” The poster should convey the results of research activities as to promote the scientific achievements of the poster's presenter. There is, unfortunately, a lack of presentation standards or authors' and presenters' lack of adhering to such standards, even when loosely defined. This guide provides an inventory of print and Internet resources that provide guidance and instruction for the presentation of scientific and technical information in the form of a poster presentation. This guide includes information resources in the forms of journal articles, books, book chapters, and Internet sites that focus on the planning, design, construction, and presentation of a scientific poster. If you find a resource you feel would be useful to include on this site, please send your comments to  Fred Stoss .

The origins of this site come from an in-class lecture for a general physiology course taught at the University at Buffalo,  Using Posters in Case Studies: The Scientific Poster as a Teaching Tool.  This case study prepared by Charles R. Fourtner, Mary Bisson and Christopher A. Loretz from the Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, describes the rationale and mechanics of introducing undergraduate biology majors to actively engage in a project to conduct bona fide library research and to then "express themselves in their own discipline." These researchers/educators "adapted the scientific poster as a mode of learning and instruction for our departmental majors" through a General Physiology course. The specific goals of this teaching strategy are to instruct the students:

  • in researching the primary literature and topical reviews on a specified subject
  • in the evaluation of the methodologies, technologies, and experiments serving as the basis of the research they have read
  • in determining the pertinent data and analyses leading to the conclusions reached by experts in the field
  • in concise and logical preparation of data for presentation in a poster format
  • in the oral defense of the material they have presented on their posters
  • in the importance of group discussions and interactions as they develop their formal presentation

Some resources on the shelves (locations in UB Libraries indicated):

  • Block, S.M. Do's and Don'ts of Poster Presentation. Biophysical Journal. 1996. 71 (6): 3527-3529. (Online)
  • Briscoe, M.H. Preparing Scientific Illustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations, and Publications, (2nd ed.). New York: Springer; 1996. Posters; p 131-149. (SEL REF Q222.B75 1996)
  • Brown, B. S. Poster Design--Six Points to Ponder. Biochemical Education.1997. July; 25 (3): 136-137. (Online)
  • Davis, M. Scientific Papers and Presentations. San Diego, Academic Press: 1997. Poster presentations; p 174-185. (SEL T11 D324 1997)
  • Davis, M. Scientific papers and presentations (Rev. ed.).
  • Burlington, MA: Academic Press: 2005. Poster presentations; p 181-204. (SEL T11 D324 2005)
  • Day, R.A. How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper (4th ed.). Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press; 1994. How to prepare a poster; p 148-151. (SEL T11.D33 1994)
  • Gosling, P.J. Scientist's Guide to Poster Presentations. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press; 1999. 139 pp. (SEL REF Q179.94 G67 1999)
  • Hailman, J.P. & Strier, K.B. Planning, Proposing and Presenting Science effectively: A Guide for Graduate students and Researchers in the Behavioral Sciences and Biology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 1997. How to present research: posters at scientific meetings, p 112-115. (SEL QH315.H25 1997)
  • Hartman, K.J. Designing Effective Poster Presentations. Fisheries. 1996 . 21 (7): 22. (SEL Per SH1 .F815). New York :Guilford Press
  • Kline, Rex B. “Poster Presentation,” Becoming a Behavioral Science Researcher :A Guide to Producing Research that Matters. New York :Guilford Press. (LML BF76.5.K54 2009)
  • Knisely, K. A Student Handbook for Writing in Biology (3rd ed.). Gordonsville, VA: W.H. Freeman: 2009. “Poster presentations,” p. 137-146. (SEL QH 304. K59 2009).
  • Koning, R.E. Standards for Effective Presentations. In: Salisbury, FB, editor. Units, symbols, and terminology for plant physiology: a reference for presentation of research results in the plant sciences. New York: Oxford University Press; 1996. p 188-201. (SEL REF QK710.5 U55 1996)
  • Pechenik, J.A. A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, 3rd ed. New York: Longman; 1997. Writing a poster presentation; p 258-265. (SEL QH304.P43 1997)
  • Salisbury, F.B. editor. Units, Symbols, and Terminology for Plant Physiology: A Reference for Presentation of Research Results in the Plant Sciences. New York: Oxford University Press; 1996. Some suggestions about scientific writing; p 163-187. (SEL REF QK710.5 U55 1996)
  • Schowen, K.B. Communicating in Other Formats: Posters, Letters to the Editor, and Press Releases -- Tips for Effective Poster Presentations. In: Dodd, JS, editor. The ACS style guide: a manual for authors and editors, (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society; 1997. p 27-47. (SEL REF QD8.5.A25 1997)
  • Scientifically Speaking: Tips for Preparing and Delivering Scientific Talks and Using Visual Aids. 2005. The Oceanography Society. Silyn-Roberts, H. Writing for science and engineering: Papers, presentations and reports. Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2000. A conference poster; p 151-166. (SEL T11 .S529 2000)

C. Designing Tips

  • University at Buffalo PPT Poster Template . This is the site from which University at Buffalo faculty, students and staff may download a template for a 44" x 36" Research or Informational Poster.
  • BIO 801, Scientific Literature and Writing: Poster Presentations . A good guide with very useful illustrations show poster elements and designs.
  • Creating Effective Poster Presentations: An Effective Poster
  • The Scientists Guide to Poster Design by Katie Everson .This is a new site with many useful tips about posters and poster design. Look for additions in the future.
  • How to Make a Great Poster . Design suggestions regarding layout, formatting, and color selection are shared on this American Society of Plant Biologists education site.
  • Introduction: Poster Sessions . This university writing guide is a great place to start when faced with a poster assignment. Straight-forward instructions and guidance along with examples and additional resources steer tenderfeet and veterans in effective design.
  • Scientifically Speaking . This is a site for effective presentation skills from a sci-tech perspective. It includes a section on designing posters and provides an example of a “good poster” and a “bad poster.”
  • Google Images . Google Image search can help locate appropriate graphic images or photographs or other illustrations for your poster presentations. Just enter the topic, concept, or object for which you are seeking an image and review the results. An advanced search is also possible. BE SURE TO PROPERLY CITE THE SOURCES FROM WHICH YOU USE IMAGES & TEXT: Citing an image or copying text "with quotation mark" is not plagiarizing, but you must provide attribution for using tem.
  • Preparing Professional Scientific. This poster minicourse provides a bullet list for start-to-finish poster design guidance.
  • Society for Technical Communication . A tremendous resource for the science or engineering or health science student interested in pursuing career options as a technical writer, illustrator, editor, or communications specialist.
  • Ten Simple Rules for a Good Poster Presentation. In: PLos Computational Biology Full-text article, Erren TC, Bourne PE (2007) Ten Simple Rules for a Good Poster Presentation. PLoS Comput Biol 3(5): e102. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030102

F. Examples

  • EPA: Community Involvement Conference & Training: Posters and Exhibits, 2007. (scroll down the page)

G. Classes & Tutorials

  • Impactful Scientific Posters-The Basics . The American Chemical Society has a VERY good video tutorial about designing a poster for presentation
  • Designing an Academic Poster (Prezi)
  • Poster Presentations: Tips, Tricks, and Planning
  • Making an Academic Research Poster Using PowerPoint
  • Make Poster - Design a Poster like a Pro in PowerPoint 2010 Part 1
  • Make Poster - Design a Poster like a Pro in PowerPoint 2010 - Part 2

If you know of sites, especially from professional associations and societies providing examples of posters send me the URL - [email protected]

Subject Librarian

FredStoss  is the subject librarian for  Poster Presentations - Designing Effective Posters.  He provides workshops or lectures on effective poster design for 40- to 90-minute and is available for research consultations, instruction, curricular support & purchase requests. Contact [email protected] , phone: 716 645-1337.

Biological Sciences Librarian

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Poster creation and presentation.

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Questions about this guide can be directed to

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Standard Layouts

poster assignment instructions

Sample Poster Layout

Posters are typically laid out in "landscape" (48" wide x 36 " high) , but may be done in "portrait" (36" wide x 48" high) . Decide this before you start designing your poster.

Make the flow of the poster obvious to the reader. Often there are 3-4 columns across with 1-3 blocks of text and image in each column, but there is no one right way.

Find your central point and consider the text, charts, or images needed. A good poster will convey the essence of your paper without your explanation and also serve as visual aid to support your verbal explanation.

The title of your poster may be slightly different from your paper's title. Choose a title that will attract viewers and convey your central point. Use 100+ point font for the title and keep it to 1-2 lines. Use slightly smaller font for your name and affiliation.

Follow the organization of your paper to plan the layout of your poster. The sections of your paper can be translated to blocks on your poster.

Aim for a total of 300-500 words on your poster . Do not paste large blocks of text; explain with visuals as needed. 

poster assignment instructions

Creating and presenting a poster allow you to showcase how your research fits within your discipline and the scholarly conversation happening with your topic. Not only do you get to present your work, but also discuss the ways you are adding to, critiquing, responding to, or filling a gap in your field of study. A poster can be a great starting spot where you can check in with other people, get feedback on your work, and begin to think of your next steps (publishing an article, presenting at a conference, or more!).

Image on  flickr :  CAFNR ; Photo by Kyle  Spradley ,  c2014  - Curators of the University of Missouri - licensed under  CC BY-NC 2.0

Design Tools and Poster Layout

Layout software.

  • PowerPoint PowerPoint is often the go-to program for research poster design. It is familiar to most people and many templates are available online. Penn State students can freely download Microsoft Office programs including PowerPoint.
  • InDesign InDesign is a high-powered layout tool from Adobe available for free to all Penn State students through Creative Cloud. This program has a learning curve, but you can access free lessons from LinkedIn Learning. InDesign gives you complete control over all aspects of design and formatting of your poster and can help you creat a high-quality poster with crisp graphics. Activate your license and download the program.
  • Canva A web-based layout program with free and paid options. Quick to use and learn, but some elements are limited to paid accounts and may not be standard to other programs, like font sizes and styles.

Graphic Creation

  • Gliffy Create simple flowcharts and other diagrams
  • Wordle Illustrate poems or critical passages of text
  • Visualize your data
  • Next: Elements of Poster Design >>
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Creating an effective poster presentation

Depending on your program of study, you might be asked to create a poster presentation as part of an assessment. Learn how to design an effective poster presentation that balances text with graphics and helps your audience understand the main points of your work.

What is a poster presentation?

A poster presentation is a visual display, usually on a large poster board, that communicates the key points of a study, project, or topic. It often includes images, diagrams, flowcharts and other graphics, and bullet points are often used to highlight the main ideas. Poster presentations are common at conferences and other academic and professional events.

While your poster might be presented to your peers with a short talk or discussion, the content and message of your poster need to be expressed clearly and concisely, in a way that is easy for your audience to understand without further explanation.

Below are some tips to help you create an effective poster.

Ideas for getting started

Read your assignment brief carefully.

It is always a good idea to have a clear understanding of the assessment criteria of your assignment. This way, you will know what the person who is marking your work will be using to grade your assignment. It is recommended that you read through the assignment instructions carefully and highlight keywords and keep these in mind throughout the planning phase of your assignment. You could use the criteria as a checklist when you have finished your draft, to ensure that you have covered everything that you needed to cover

Also, check if there are any requirements regarding the dimensions, font sizes or layout of your poster because if these requirements are not met, this could lead to a lower grade.

Contact the library

Don’t know where to look for information? Get in touch with a Librarian through the Ask the Library chat service.

They can help you find the best search terms to use, show you how to filter results, and help you identify which databases to use for your subject area.

Know your audience

Think about who it is that you will present the information to. Are they professionals in your field? Are they members of the general public?

Understanding your audience will help you to decide what content to include and the language you should use to communicate your work. Technical language and excessive jargon is not always appropriate for every assignment. Ensure that your message is clearly communicated to the target audience.

What to include

This will depend on the purpose of your poster. For example, are you telling an audience about research that you conducted? You might decide that your audience needs to know why you conducted the research, how you did it, who participated in it, what the results were and what the implications of the results are.

In this case, you might decide to follow a typical report structure of an introduction, methods, results, conclusion and discussion sections. For another type of project, you may need to include a literature review section or recommendations. And don’t forget to include your references.

If you are confused about how to structure your work, you can contact an Academic Skills Advisor through the Ask the Library service to get some feedback and advice.

Design considerations

Carefully consider the design of your poster, as this will affect how your audience engages with your information. Remember that you should include a mixture of writing and visual aids such as images, graphs, tables and charts.

Below are some points to consider for the layout of your poster:

Consider whether your poster would be best in landscape or portrait orientation.

Your information should flow in a logical way, e.g., left to right, from the centre outwards, or in columns.

a variety of poster layouts with columns in portrait and landscape orientation

Make sure that your poster is not overcrowded. There should be space around each section, as this will increase the readability of your work.

Include a border of 3cm around your poster.

poster assignment instructions

Part of your message will be conveyed through images, so they should be chosen carefully. Keep in mind the following:

Images should be meaningful, not decorative.

example of decorative image with flowers and baby chick

Remember to add citations, attributions and captions to images. If you are not sure how to properly cite an image or include a caption, visit Easy Cite for guidance on a variety of referencing styles.

ocean current world map with caption

Do not use overly complicated graphs, charts or tables. Rather, aim to include graphic information that is clear and easy to understand.

good bar chart with clearly increasing values and contrasting colours, and bad graph that is a mess of overlapping lines and unclear labels

Remember, you can't include everything in your poster. Choose the most important data, graphs, and images to include. You can expand upon your poster in an accompanying presentation.

poster assignment instructions

Include a title that stands out and catches your audience’s attention. In physical settings, your title should be able to be read from 2-3 metres away.

For font sizes, it is recommended that you use:

  • 80-96 for titles
  • 30-36 for headings
  • 18-24 for body text

Other factors to consider are:

Where possible, use bullet points to make your text more concise and help your reader to focus on the main ideas of your poster.

Choose your text and background colours carefully to ensure that your work is readable.

bad example of black text on dark blue background

Use sans serif fonts, which are typefaces without decorative feet such as Arial or Calibri, as they are easier to read than serif fonts.

poster assignment instructions

Do not use decorative or overly stylised fonts such as Comic Sans, as they are not considered academic.

poster assignment instructions

Technology for creating your poster

There are many apps and programs that can help you to design and create your poster. They include:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Microsoft Publisher

They each have their pros and cons, so it is recommended that you try a few and see what works best for you. Some free software and apps are available for RMIT students.

Once you have made your first successful poster presentation, especially if you receive good feedback for it, you can use it as a template for future presentations.

Academic writing

It is highly likely that your tutor or lecturer will request that you follow academic style conventions in your poster, such as avoiding personal pronouns and contractions, and using formal language. For help with academic style, you can make an appointment with an Academic Skills Advisor to review your work and get advice.

Images by Cifotart, ilyanatty, soyon, blueringmedia, Dennis Cox and Gstudio on Adobe Stock

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Planning Worksheet

poster assignment instructions

This worksheet will help you plan your academic poster. Planning might not be exciting, but with a project this big and with all your detailed research to share, planning is a must. This guide will help you map out your ideas and plan your design, and also has a handy final checklist to make sure your academic poster is ready to share with the world.

  • Academic Poster Planning Worksheet

Planning Your Poster

You've put hours and hours of work into your research project and now comes the best part: being able to share your awesome work with others! A poster can be an effective means of presentation at meetings, conferences, or in a classroom setting. Posters allow you to communicate your main points in a succinct and visual manner, especially if your research is highly technical or detailed. Whether you're a new student or a tenured researcher, posters are an excellent way to display your work. It's also a chance to flex your creative skills a little and have some fun!

Here are a few things you'll want to consider when you're in the early stages of planning your poster:

Format Requirements

The first thing you'll want to consider is whether you'll be doing a digital poster or a print poster. If you're making a digital poster , you'll want to find out if you will be presenting on a standard size screen (ratio of 4:3) or a widescreen (ratio of 16:9). If you aren't sure what type of screen you'll be using, a 4:3 poster ratio is usually the safest option.

If you are making a print poster, you're probably creating your poster for a class or a conference and you'll be given a set of required dimensions. The standard size for academic posters is 48 inches wide by 36 inches high (which happens to be a 4:3 ratio). 

Posters are usually presented in a horizontal orientation, but some organizations ask presenters to use vertical orientations instead. When vertical orientation is required, this will be specified.

Sometimes there will also be layout or content requirements (especially if you're presenting your poster for a class). Although creativity is always encouraged during the design process, you'll want to make sure you follow all of the requirements first!

Creating a poster can be fun... but don't underestimate how long it will take! If you are making a poster for class, you'll want to start working on it sooner than the night before it's due. If you are making a poster for a conference, you'll also have to meet specific deadlines -- sometimes months in advance. 

If you find yourself up against a deadline, don't hesitate to use a template to get things started. 

Submitting a Poster to a Conference

Submitting a poster to a conference is a great way to show off your work -- and it's never too soon to start thinking about submitting one. Conference committees will send out calls for poster abstracts in advance and to apply, you'll be asked to submit a short abstract describing what your research is about. You do  not  need to have a poster completed at this point; all you need is the title of your presentation and a written abstract. Poster abstract submissions typically occur through an online form. 

The committee will decide if your research content fits into the conference and let you know whether your poster has been accepted. If it's accepted, you'll be in charge of printing the poster and bringing it to the conference. 

Quick Tips:

  • You don't need to have completed your research project in order to make a poster! Many researchers present their findings while their projects are still ongoing. 
  • If you feel nervous about presenting a poster by yourself, find a classmate or colleague who wants to co-author a poster with you. Conferences always allow researchers to collaborate and present posters with others. 
  • Make sure your poster is self-explanatory and stands out! Unlike a class presentation or a slide presentation where you -- the presenter -- are in charge of how much time is spent on the content, the viewers at a conference are in charge of how much time they give to each poster. Your poster will be displayed in a room with a bunch of other posters, so you'll want yours to stand out and to be easy for viewers to understand quickly.

Design Software

You get to choose the software you want to use to create your poster. The most common poster design programs are Adobe InDesign and Microsoft PowerPoint , both of which HSL recommends. Many students find PowerPoint to be easier but neither program is really "better" than the other. Feel free to choose whichever option is available to you and is most comfortable to use. 

There is no specific setting or template in PowerPoint for creating a poster -- you'll just be using a single slide . 

If you're submitting your poster to a conference, you may also be asked to submit your poster in PDF form prior to the conference (in addition to bringing a print copy). Both PowerPoint and Adobe allow you to convert your files to PDFs. 

  • Last Updated: Feb 21, 2024 11:06 AM
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Using Undergrad Poster Sessions for Final Assignments

Posted on April 5, 2018 by Madeleine Gonin

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Having students create and present posters as a final course assignment is a great alternative to traditional term papers. Not only does this type of assignment allow a creative approach to synthesis and application of course concepts, but it also offers a fun end to the semester that emphasizes collaboration and community.

If this idea intrigues you, but you feel unsure of how to implement the practice, today’s blog post shares the resources that you and your students will need to create and present posters. While the examples below are from science courses, students in any discipline can benefit from this assignment type.

Why ask students to present posters? Creating posters allow groups of students the opportunity to collaborate while applying course concepts to a topic of their choosing. They can gain valuable content mastery and communication skills when compelled to explain their findings to an audience in a new context, and they need to be able to present this information in a concise and visual manner. Depending on the type of poster, it also gives students the freedom to present content in a creative way, and it is good for them to see how other students engaged in research and presented material. And if you invite guests to act as reviewers/judges (other instructors, local professionals, AIs, CITL staff members, etc.), students get to be the experts on their topics, explaining their ideas to novices from beyond the course. Finally, if your field uses posters in professional settings, you are giving students a head start on learning what it is like to present their findings and engage in discussions in a disciplinary context.

Who is doing this at IU? Faculty members across campus use this type of assignment, although we see more of it in programs where posters are a familiar part of professional conferences—often more in the sciences and professional schools.

Dr. Andrew Libby, Assistant Director of the Human Biology Program, shared this information about the program’s use of student poster sessions:

We use posters in Human Biology because we want students to become adept and comfortable at communicating science to non-scientists. We always try to host our poster sessions in a public space like the Jordan Hall Atrium or the Wells Library Learning Commons so that passersby will have a chance to engage with our students. The result is that our students learn both the joy and the difficulty of doing science as well as explaining science to others.

Do you have to teach students how to make a poster? Luckily, you do not need to spend time showing your students all the details of creating a poster. IT Training has created a Canvas course that explains what a research poster is, explains basic page layout principles that will help your students create well designed posters, and shows your students how to create their posters in one of three different programs: PowerPoint, Illustrator, or InDesign. You can view this Canvas course which includes short videos and related poster design resources for your students. You then can import the course from Canvas Commons and decide which modules you want your students to review. Alternatively, your students can enroll in the existing Canvas course and then decide which program they want to use to create their posters. You may still want to teach students about any aspects of posters unique to your discipline, maybe providing them with a few examples of posters from your field.

Where can students print their posters and will it be expensive? Students can print their posters in the Wells Library (fourth floor). Currently a 3′ x 4′ poster costs under $20 for students to print in the Wells library.

If you would like help in designing, implementing, or evaluating this type of assignment, please contact the CITL. One of our consultants will be happy to meet with you about incorporating a poster assignment into your course. And really, we love to be invited to poster sessions, so let us know if you want visitors.

Thank you to Beth Nolen, Senior IT Education Specialist for UITS IT Training , for her assistance with this post, and to Dr. Libby and his students for sharing their poster.

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Home Blog Design How to Design a Winning Poster Presentation: Quick Guide with Examples & Templates

How to Design a Winning Poster Presentation: Quick Guide with Examples & Templates

Cover for how to design a poster presentation

How are research posters like High School science fair projects? Quite similar, in fact.

Both are visual representations of a research project shared with peers, colleagues and academic faculty. But there’s a big difference: it’s all in professionalism and attention to detail. You can be sure that the students that thrived in science fairs are now creating fantastic research posters, but what is that extra element most people miss when designing a poster presentation?

This guide will teach tips and tricks for creating poster presentations for conferences, symposia, and more. Learn in-depth poster structure and design techniques to help create academic posters that have a lasting impact.

Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

  • What is a Research Poster?

Why are Poster Presentations important?

Overall dimensions and orientation, separation into columns and sections, scientific, academic, or something else, a handout with supplemental and contact information, cohesiveness, design and readability, storytelling.

  • Font Characteristics
  • Color Pairing
  • Data Visualization Dimensions
  • Alignment, Margins, and White Space

Scientific/Academic Conference Poster Presentation

Digital research poster presentations, slidemodel poster presentation templates, how to make a research poster presentation step-by-step, considerations for printing poster presentations, how to present a research poster presentation, final words, what is a research poster .

Research posters are visual overviews of the most relevant information extracted from a research paper or analysis.   They are essential communication formats for sharing findings with peers and interested people in the field. Research posters can also effectively present material for other areas besides the sciences and STEM—for example, business and law.

You’ll be creating research posters regularly as an academic researcher, scientist, or grad student. You’ll have to present them at numerous functions and events. For example:

  • Conference presentations
  • Informational events
  • Community centers

The research poster presentation is a comprehensive way to share data, information, and research results. Before the pandemic, the majority of research events were in person. During lockdown and beyond, virtual conferences and summits became the norm. Many researchers now create poster presentations that work in printed and digital formats.

Examples of research posters using SlideModel's templates

Let’s look at why it’s crucial to spend time creating poster presentations for your research projects, research, analysis, and study papers.

Summary of why are poster presentations important

Research posters represent you and your sponsor’s research 

Research papers and accompanying poster presentations are potent tools for representation and communication in your field of study. Well-performing poster presentations help scientists, researchers, and analysts grow their careers through grants and sponsorships.

When presenting a poster presentation for a sponsored research project, you’re representing the company that sponsored you. Your professionalism, demeanor, and capacity for creating impactful poster presentations call attention to other interested sponsors, spreading your impact in the field.

Research posters demonstrate expertise and growth

Presenting research posters at conferences, summits, and graduate grading events shows your expertise and knowledge in your field of study. The way your poster presentation looks and delivers, plus your performance while presenting the work, is judged by your viewers regardless of whether it’s an officially judged panel.

Recurring visitors to research conferences and symposia will see you and your poster presentations evolve. Improve your impact by creating a great poster presentation every time by paying attention to detail in the poster design and in your oral presentation. Practice your public speaking skills alongside the design techniques for even more impact.

Poster presentations create and maintain collaborations

Every time you participate in a research poster conference, you create meaningful connections with people in your field, industry or community. Not only do research posters showcase information about current data in different areas, but they also bring people together with similar interests. Countless collaboration projects between different research teams started after discussing poster details during coffee breaks.

An effective research poster template deepens your peer’s understanding of a topic by highlighting research, data, and conclusions. This information can help other researchers and analysts with their work. As a research poster presenter, you’re given the opportunity for both teaching and learning while sharing ideas with peers and colleagues.

Anatomy of a Winning Poster Presentation

Do you want your research poster to perform well?  Following the standard layout and adding a few personal touches will help attendees know how to read your poster and get the most out of your information. 

The anatomy of a winning poster

The overall size of your research poster ultimately depends on the dimensions of the provided space at the conference or research poster gallery. The poster orientation can be horizontal or vertical, with horizontal being the most common.  In general, research posters measure 48 x 36 inches or are an A0 paper size.

A virtual poster can be the same proportions as the printed research poster, but you have more leeway regarding the dimensions. Virtual research posters should fit on a screen with no need to scroll, with 1080p resolution as a standard these days. A horizontal presentation size is ideal for that.

A research poster presentation has a standard layout of 2–5 columns with 2–3 sections each. Typical structures say to separate the content into four sections; 1. A horizontal header 2. Introduction column, 3. Research/Work/Data column, and 4. Conclusion column. Each unit includes topics that relate to your poster’s objective.  Here’s a generalized outline for a poster presentation:

  • Condensed Abstract 
  • Objectives/Purpose
  • Methodology
  • Recommendations
  • Implications
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contact Information 

The overview content you include in the units depends on your poster presentations’ theme, topic, industry, or field of research. A scientific or academic poster will include sections like hypothesis, methodology, and materials. A marketing analysis poster will include performance metrics and competitor analysis results.

There’s no way a poster can hold all the information included in your research paper or analysis report. The poster is an overview that invites the audience to want to find out more. That’s where supplement material comes in. Create a printed PDF handout or card with a QR code (created using a QR code generator ). Send the audience to the best online location for reading or downloading the complete paper.

What Makes a Poster Presentation Good and Effective? 

For your poster presentation to be effective and well-received, it needs to cover all the bases and be inviting to find out more. Stick to the standard layout suggestions and give it a unique look and feel. We’ve put together some of the most critical research poster-creation tips in the list below. Your poster presentation will perform as long as you check all the boxes.

The information you choose to include in the sections of your poster presentation needs to be cohesive. Train your editing eye and do a few revisions before presenting. The best way to look at it is to think of The Big Picture. Don’t get stuck on the details; your attendees won’t always know the background behind your research topic or why it’s important.

Be cohesive in how you word the titles, the length of the sections, the highlighting of the most important data, and how your oral presentation complements the printed—or virtual—poster.

The most important characteristic of your poster presentation is its readability and clarity. You need a poster presentation with a balanced design that’s easy to read at a distance of 1.5 meters or 4 feet. The font size and spacing must be clear and neat. All the content must suggest a visual flow for the viewer to follow.

That said, you don’t need to be a designer to add something special to your poster presentation. Once you have the standard—and recognized—columns and sections, add your special touch. These can be anything from colorful boxes for the section titles to an interesting but subtle background, images that catch the eye, and charts that inspire a more extended look. 

Storytelling is a presenting technique involving writing techniques to make information flow. Firstly, storytelling helps give your poster presentation a great introduction and an impactful conclusion. 

Think of storytelling as the invitation to listen or read more, as the glue that connects sections, making them flow from one to another. Storytelling is using stories in the oral presentation, for example, what your lab partner said when you discovered something interesting. If it makes your audience smile and nod, you’ve hit the mark. Storytelling is like giving a research presentation a dose of your personality, and it can help turning your data into opening stories .

Design Tips For Creating an Effective Research Poster Presentation

The section above briefly mentioned how important design is to your poster presentation’s effectiveness. We’ll look deeper into what you need to know when designing a poster presentation.

1. Font Characteristics

The typeface and size you choose are of great importance. Not only does the text need to be readable from two meters away, but it also needs to look and sit well on the poster. Stay away from calligraphic script typefaces, novelty typefaces, or typefaces with uniquely shaped letters.

Stick to the classics like a sans serif Helvetica, Lato, Open Sans, or Verdana. Avoid serif typefaces as they can be difficult to read from far away. Here are some standard text sizes to have on hand.

  • Title: 85 pt
  • Authors: 65 pt
  • Headings: 36 pt
  • Body Text: 24 pt
  • Captions: 18 pt

Resume of font characteristics a winning poster presentation must follow

If you feel too prone to use serif typefaces, work with a font pairing tool that helps you find a suitable solution – and intend those serif fonts for heading sections only. As a rule, never use more than 3 different typefaces in your design. To make it more dynamic, you can work with the same font using light, bold, and italic weights to put emphasis on the required areas.

2. Color Pairing

Using colors in your poster presentation design is a great way to grab the viewer’s attention. A color’s purpose is to help the viewer follow the data flow in your presentation, not distract. Don’t let the color take more importance than the information on your poster.

Effective color pairing tactics for poster presentations

Choose one main color for the title and headlines and a similar color for the data visualizations. If you want to use more than one color, don’t create too much contrast between them. Try different tonalities of the same color and keep things balanced visually. Your color palette should have at most one main color and two accent colors.

Black text over a white background is standard practice for printed poster presentations, but for virtual presentations, try a very light gray instead of white and a very dark gray instead of black. Additionally, use variations of light color backgrounds and dark color text. Make sure it’s easy to read from two meters away or on a screen, depending on the context. We recommend ditching full white or full black tone usage as it hurts eyesight in the long term due to its intense contrast difference with the light ambiance.

3. Data Visualization Dimensions

Just like the text, your charts, graphs, and data visualizations must be easy to read and understand. Generally, if a person is interested in your research and has already read some of the text from two meters away, they’ll come closer to look at the charts and graphs. 

Tips for properly arranging data visualization dimensions in poster presentations

Fit data visualizations inside columns or let them span over two columns. Remove any unnecessary borders, lines, or labels to make them easier to read at a glance. Use a flat design without shadows or 3D characteristics. The text in legends and captions should stay within the chart size and not overflow into the margins. Use a unified text size of 18px for all your data visualizations.

4. Alignment, Margins, and White Space

Finally, the last design tip for creating an impressive and memorable poster presentation is to be mindful of the layout’s alignment, margins, and white space. Create text boxes to help keep everything aligned. They allow you to resize, adapt, and align the content along a margin or grid.

Take advantage of the white space created by borders and margins between sections. Don’t crowd them with a busy background or unattractive color.

Tips on alignment, margins, and white space in poster presentation design

Calculate margins considering a print format. It is a good practice in case the poster presentation ends up becoming in physical format, as you won’t need to downscale your entire design (affecting text readability in the process) to preserve information.

There are different tools that you can use to make a poster presentation. Presenters who are familiar with Microsoft Office prefer to use PowerPoint. You can learn how to make a poster in PowerPoint here.

Poster Presentation Examples

Before you start creating a poster presentation, look at some examples of real research posters. Get inspired and get creative.

Research poster presentations printed and mounted on a board look like the one in the image below. The presenter stands to the side, ready to share the information with visitors as they walk up to the panels.

Example of the structure of a scientific/academic conference poster presentation

With more and more conferences staying virtual or hybrid, the digital poster presentation is here to stay. Take a look at examples from a poster session at the OHSU School of Medicine .

Use SlideModel templates to help you create a winning poster presentation with PowerPoint and Google Slides. These poster PPT templates will get you off on the right foot. Mix and match tables and data visualizations from other poster slide templates to create your ideal layout according to the standard guidelines.

If you need a quick method to create a presentation deck to talk about your research poster at conferences, check out our Slides AI presentation maker. A tool in which you add the topic, curate the outline, select a design, and let AI do the work for you.

1. One-pager Scientific Poster Template for PowerPoint

poster assignment instructions

A PowerPoint template tailored to make your poster presentations an easy-to-craft process. Meet our One-Pager Scientific Poster Slide Template, entirely editable to your preferences and with ample room to accommodate graphs, data charts, and much more.

Use This Template

2. Eisenhower Matrix Slides Template for PowerPoint

poster assignment instructions

An Eisenhower Matrix is a powerful tool to represent priorities, classifying work according to urgency and importance. Presenters can use this 2×2 matrix in poster presentations to expose the effort required for the research process, as it also helps to communicate strategy planning.

3. OSMG Framework PowerPoint Template

poster assignment instructions

Finally, we recommend presenters check our OSMG Framework PowerPoint template, as it is an ideal tool for representing a business plan: its goals, strategies, and measures for success. Expose complex processes in a simplified manner by adding this template to your poster presentation.

Remember these three words when making your research poster presentation: develop, design, and present. These are the three main actions toward a successful poster presentation. 

Summary of how to make a research poster presentation

The section below will take you on a step-by-step journey to create your next poster presentation.

Step 1: Define the purpose and audience of your poster presentation

Before making a poster presentation design, you’ll need to plan first. Here are some questions to answer at this point:

  • Are they in your field? 
  • Do they know about your research topic? 
  • What can they get from your research?
  • Will you print it?
  • Is it for a virtual conference?

Step 2: Make an outline

With a clear purpose and strategy, it’s time to collect the most important information from your research paper, analysis, or documentation. Make a content dump and then select the most interesting information. Use the content to draft an outline.

Outlines help formulate the overall structure better than going straight into designing the poster. Mimic the standard poster structure in your outline using section headlines as separators. Go further and separate the content into the columns they’ll be placed in.

Step 3: Write the content

Write or rewrite the content for the sections in your poster presentation. Use the text in your research paper as a base, but summarize it to be more succinct in what you share. 

Don’t forget to write a catchy title that presents the problem and your findings in a clear way. Likewise, craft the headlines for the sections in a similar tone as the title, creating consistency in the message. Include subtle transitions between sections to help follow the flow of information in order.

Avoid copying/pasting entire sections of the research paper on which the poster is based. Opt for the storytelling approach, so the delivered message results are interesting for your audience. 

Step 4: Put it all together visually

This entire guide on how to design a research poster presentation is the perfect resource to help you with this step. Follow all the tips and guidelines and have an unforgettable poster presentation.

Moving on, here’s how to design a research poster presentation with PowerPoint Templates . Open a new project and size it to the standard 48 x 36 inches. Using the outline, map out the sections on the empty canvas. Add a text box for each title, headline, and body text. Piece by piece, add the content into their corresponding text box.

Basic structure layout of an academic poster presentation

Transform the text information visually, make bullet points, and place the content in tables and timelines. Make your text visual to avoid chunky text blocks that no one will have time to read. Make sure all text sizes are coherent for all headings, body texts, image captions, etc. Double-check for spacing and text box formatting.

Next, add or create data visualizations, images, or diagrams. Align everything into columns and sections, making sure there’s no overflow. Add captions and legends to the visualizations, and check the color contrast with colleagues and friends. Ask for feedback and progress to the last step.

Step 5: Last touches

Time to check the final touches on your poster presentation design. Here’s a checklist to help finalize your research poster before sending it to printers or the virtual summit rep.

  • Check the resolution of all visual elements in your poster design. Zoom to 100 or 200% to see if the images pixelate. Avoid this problem by using vector design elements and high-resolution images.
  • Ensure that charts and graphs are easy to read and don’t look crowded.
  • Analyze the visual hierarchy. Is there a visual flow through the title, introduction, data, and conclusion?
  • Take a step back and check if it’s legible from a distance. Is there enough white space for the content to breathe?
  • Does the design look inviting and interesting?

An often neglected topic arises when we need to print our designs for any exhibition purpose. Since A0 is a hard-to-manage format for most printers, these poster presentations result in heftier charges for the user. Instead, you can opt to work your design in two A1 sheets, which also becomes more manageable for transportation. Create seamless borders for the section on which the poster sheets should meet, or work with a white background.

Paper weight options should be over 200 gsm to avoid unwanted damage during the printing process due to heavy ink usage. If possible, laminate your print or stick it to photographic paper – this shall protect your work from spills.

Finally, always run a test print. Gray tints may not be printed as clearly as you see them on screen (this is due to the RGB to CMYK conversion process). Other differences can be appreciated when working with ink jet plotters vs. laser printers. Give yourself enough room to maneuver last-minute design changes.

Presenting a research poster is a big step in the poster presentation cycle. Your poster presentation might or might not be judged by faculty or peers. But knowing what judges look for will help you prepare for the design and oral presentation, regardless of whether you receive a grade for your work or if it’s business related. Likewise, the same principles apply when presenting at an in-person or virtual summit.

The opening statement

Part of presenting a research poster is welcoming the viewer to your small personal area in the sea of poster presentations. You’ll need an opening statement to pitch your research poster and get the viewers’ attention.

Draft a 2 to 3-sentence pitch that covers the most important points:

  • What the research is
  • Why was it conducted
  • What the results say

From that opening statement, you’re ready to continue with the oral presentation for the benefit of your attendees.

The oral presentation

During the oral presentation, share the information on the poster while conversing with the interested public. Practice many times before the event. Structure the oral presentation as conversation points, and use the poster’s visual flow as support. Make eye contact with your audience as you speak, but don’t make them uncomfortable.

Pro Tip: In a conference or summit, if people show up to your poster area after you’ve started presenting it to another group, finish and then address the new visitors.

QA Sessions 

When you’ve finished the oral presentation, offer the audience a chance to ask questions. You can tell them before starting the presentation that you’ll be holding a QA session at the end. Doing so will prevent interruptions as you’re speaking.

If presenting to one or two people, be flexible and answer questions as you review all the sections on your poster.

Supplemental Material

If your audience is interested in learning more, you can offer another content type, further imprinting the information in their minds. Some ideas include; printed copies of your research paper, links to a website, a digital experience of your poster, a thesis PDF, or data spreadsheets.

Your audience will want to contact you for further conversations; include contact details in your supplemental material. If you don’t offer anything else, at least have business cards.

Even though conferences have changed, the research poster’s importance hasn’t diminished. Now, instead of simply creating a printed poster presentation, you can also make it for digital platforms. The final output will depend on the conference and its requirements.

This guide covered all the essential information you need to know for creating impactful poster presentations, from design, structure and layout tips to oral presentation techniques to engage your audience better . 

Before your next poster session, bookmark and review this guide to help you design a winning poster presentation every time. 

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Poster Presentation

Developing a Poster Presentation

A poster presentation is a visual presentation of your research that often includes a concise display of the abstract, purpose, method, significant literature, results, and graphs or tables. 

IMRAD graphic

Poster Presentation Templates

poster assignment instructions

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Poster Resources

Poster Assignment timeline:

  • Poster Title, 10 References, and Abstract
  • Completing a Poster Section
  • Poster First Draft
  • Poster Final Draft
  • Poster Symposium and Peer Reviews

Poster Instructions: Poster Instructions

Complete Poster Guide Book: Scientific Posters Guide Book

Poster Templates:

  • ResearchPoster_48x36_Gray
  • ResearchPoster_48x36_Scarlet

Examples of excellent posters:

  • Poster Example 1: Golden Snub Nosed Monkey Poster
  • Poster Example 2: Mountain Lion Poster
  • Poster Example 3: Ruffed Grouse Poster
  • Poster Example 4: Panda Poster

Peer Review:

  • Instructions for Completing a Peer Review
  • Peer Review Guide_Online Section
  • Peer Review Guide_Live Section

Shapiro Library

PSY 224 (Campus) Research II: Scientific Investigation

Research poster project assignment.

Instead of a final exam, this course will end with a class poster session during the last class time, Monday, December 12, 2022 from 12:30-1:45 on the 2nd floor of the Shapiro Library in the Mezzanine area above the Zachos Cafe. You can either work by yourself or with one other student on your own research project, leading to a poster presentation that will address a research question of your choosing. Your poster should be in American Psychological Association (APA) format. This is an empirical research project where you will collect data. You are encouraged to conduct a survey, correlation, quasi-experiment or experiment depending on the type of question you are seeking to address. For those of you conducting survey research, you will have free access to software called Qualtrics which you can share with others with a link you can share through social media or with others in class.

Qualtrics: Description & Help links

  • SNHU Qualtrics page (Instructional Support) This link opens in a new window
  • Qualtrics Support: Creating a Project This link opens in a new window

Potential research questions

Below are potential research questions, general methodological approaches, free and open access test materials, and example articles for your research project, though feel free to come up with your own (but please check it with the instructor ahead of time). You will be expected to find other articles on your own using library databases. Below are  four research projects that you can choose from. The advantage of using one of the preset research questions and methodologies is that those projects are already approved by SNHU’s Institutional Research Review Board (IRB) ahead of time. The IRB is an independent ethics board that reviews research to ensure it complies with government and professional ethical guidelines. IRB-approved projects are automatically eligible to be presented at SNHU’s Undergraduate Research Day and Psychology conferences. If you choose your own research question, you have the advantage of pursuing a research question more specific to your interests, but you would need to apply for IRB approval if you want to present your research outside of class.

Research Question #1

Are cognitive biases related to how susceptible some people are to belief in conspiracy theories? This study is designed to explore how various cognitive biases, including jumping to conclusions, intentionalizing (ascribing intentionality to situations that are random or unintended), catastrophizing, emotional reasoning, and dichotomous thinking (seeing problems as extremes, without grey areas), might relate to the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories. Though some studies have focused on how cognitive ability relates to conspiracy theory beliefs (van Prooijen, 2017) and other studies have focused on specific cognitive biases (van Prooijen, et al., 2018), no study has focused on multiple relevant cognitive biases together in a single empirical study.

General Ideas for Methodology

Participants will be assessed for cognitive biases using the Cognitive Bias Questionnaire for Psychosis (CBQp). Though conspiracy beliefs do not constitute a clinical psychosis, it is conceivable that both could involve similar underlying cognitive biases towards illogical and/or non-evidence-based beliefs. The results of the CBQp questionnaire will be correlated with the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories as measured by The Generic Conspiracy Beliefs Scale (GCBS).

  • The Cognitive Biases Questionnaire for Psychosis (Peters et al., 2013) – This is an open-access educational resource. You can find the questionnaire in Appendix 1, pages 308-310 of this link.
  • To use the interactive GCB scale test, add this text below to your Qualtrix survey:
  • For this set of questions about beliefs in conspiracies, open this link in a new window or copy and paste it into a new browser tab. For each statement, select a response from disagree to agree (with neutral in the middle) that best characterizes your response in most situations. Click "Continue" when you are done. You will be asked if you are willing to answer a few more questions after clicking "Continue" but feel free to select no in response to that question. Merely click "Get results." Please take a screenshot of your results and submit it here. Please ensure your overall scores shows as well as the "5 components". Once you submit the screenshot, you have completed this survey. Thank you!

Example Articles

Here is a secondary source (article) about the psychology of conspiracy theories. Under “existential motives,” it covers how some people are drawn to conspiracy theories to feel safe and exert control over others. This article can also lead you to primary research sources.

An article showing an example of a cognitive bias, called agency detection (otherwise known as intentionality), that is associated with belief in conspiracy theories:

Douglas, K. M., Sutton, R. M., Callan, M. J., Dawtry, R. J., & Harvey, A. J. (2016). Someone is pulling the strings: Hypersensitive agency detection and belief in conspiracy theories . Thinking & Reasoning, 22 (1), 57–77.

       Here is where you can find the cognitive bias questionnaire:

Peters E., Moritz S., Schwannauer M., Wiseman Z., Greenwood K.E., Scott J., et al. (2014). Cognitive biases questionnaire for psychosis . Schizophrenia Bulletin 40, 300–313.

This article shows evidence that the conspiracy beliefs scale is valid and reliable:

Brotherton, R., French, C.C., & Pickering, A.D. (2013). Measuring the belief in conspiracy theories: The generic conspiracist beliefs scale.   Frontiers in Psychology, 4 : 279.

Research Question #2

Past research has shown that excessive use of Instagram is associated with negative mental health outcomes and poor appearance-related self-perception. Is excessive use of Instagram associated with negative mood and negative self-perception in a non-clinical population? Please note that you cannot assess clinical mental health disorders due to ethical restrictions in conducting research for an undergraduate course, but assessing mood carries less risk and would add a new angle to existing research literature.

Ask participants to estimate their average daily Instagram use in hours and minutes. Administer tests that examine mood and appearance-related self-perception. Correlate daily Instagram use with survey results related to mood and appearance-related self-perception.

  • Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS)  - This is an open-access educational resource, but you are required to acknowledge that the test is from Watson, D. & Clark, L.A. (1994). Also, indicate any modifications applied.
  • Selfie Behavior and Body Image on Social Networking Sites Scales - This is an open-access educational resource, but you are required to acknowledge that the test is from Veldhuis, J., Alleva, J., Bij de Vaate, A.J.D., Keijer, M. &, Konijn, E.A. (2018). Also, indicate any modifications applied.

Sample Article

Sherlock, M., & Wagstaff, D.L. (2018). Exploring the Relationship Between Frequency of Instagram Use, Exposure to Idealized Images,

and Psychological Well-Being in Women . Psychology of Popular Media Culture. 8 (4), 482-490.

Research Question #3

How do the Big 5 personality traits relate to preference for different genres of music? This would be a correlation study that would add something new by not only using the Big 5 Traits some subcomponents of those traits called facets and a new and updated test called the Big Five Inventory – 2.

Administer a test or survey that measures the Big 5 personality traits. You could measure music preference. Then see if total score for each of the Big 5 traits correlate with measures of the extent of music preference.

  • Big Five Inventory – 2 (BFI-2)  - This is an open-access educational resource, but you are required to acknowledge that the test is from Soto, C.J., & Oliver, J. (2017). Also, indicate any modifications applied.
  • Short Test of Music Preferences (STOMP) -  The STOMP is a 14-item scale assessing preferences for four music genres. This is an open-access educational resource, but you are required to acknowledge that the test is from Rentfrow, Goldberg, & Levitin (updated 2013). Also, indicate any modifications applied.

Nave, G., Minxha, J., Greenberg, D.M., Kosinski, M., Stillwell, D. & Rentfrow, J. (2018). Musical Preferences Predict Personality: Evidence

from Active Listening and Facebook Likes . Psychological Science, 29 (7), 1145-1158 .

Rentfrow, P. J., & Gosling, S. D. (2003). The do re mi’s of everyday life: The structure and personality correlates of music preferences .

Journal of  Personality and Social Psychology, 84 , 1236-1256.

Research Question #4

How does the emotional context of an eyewitness episode affect memory and false memory? Specifically, memory tends to be biased towards negative emotional autobiographical events, but does that translate into increased false memory as well as memory?

Run an experiment as follows: Have participants watch a YouTube video of a crime scene. Tell participants in the negative emotional context group that the video depicts an actual robbery (treatment condition). Tell participants in the neutral emotional context group that the video shows actors in a robbery scene (neutral condition). Then compare the rates of recall and false memory rates associated with each condition.

  • On a scale from 1 to 5, how sure are you that your answer to this question is accurate?
  • Not at all confident <1     2    3    4    5>  Absolutely confident

Show this video of an altercation from surveillance submitted to the Broward Sheriff’s Office depicting an altercation in which an armed robbery occurs against three young people on spring break (though the teenagers foil the robbery).

Have participants read an eyewitness account that suggests that the person in the red and black flannel shirt was the first to start punching the perpetrator and how one of the perpetrators briefly revealed a knife—two pieces of misinformation to setup potential false memories. Including true details before, in-between, and after the misinformation items.

Include these questions:

Control Questions

  • Do the tail lights of the perpetrator’s car go on after one of the perpetrators leaves the car?
  • Did the person in the blue shirt punch the perpetrator?
  • At the beginning of the video, did the young person in the red and black shirt lean against the car?
  • A fourth person gets out of the car to help his friends against the perpetrator.

False Memory Questions

  • The person in the red and black flannel shirt was the first to start punching the perpetrator.
  • One of the perpetrators briefly revealed a knife.

​​​​​​​ Remember to add the confidence rating question with each question above. See if the average confidence rating for control questions is different than that for false memory questions.

Sample article

Porter, S., Spencer, L., & Birt, A.R. (2003). Blinded by emotion? Effect of the emotionality of a scene on susceptibility to false memories.

Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 35 (2), 165- 175.

Other potential questions that you would need to seek IRB approval on your own should you want to present at a conference:

  • Do attachment styles experienced from a person’s parents affect later relationships with peers during young adulthood? Some studies show this to be the case with adolescent participants, but few if any have examined this correlation in young adults.
  • What leads to greater happiness: experiences or materials gains?
  • Does color affect the taste of food?

Where to look for other research question ideas:

  • Browse Addictions News for Topic Ideas This link opens in a new window
  • Applied Psychology Topics: Education This link opens in a new window
  • Applied Psychology Topics: Environment This link opens in a new window
  • Applied Psychology Topics: Human Rights This link opens in a new window
  • Applied Psychology Topics: Sports and Exercise This link opens in a new window
  • APA Psychology Topics: Children
  • Forensic Psychology Research Topics This link opens in a new window List of forensic psychology topics with links to overviews for each. Includes criminal competencies, criminal responsibility, death penalty, eyewitness memory, forensic assessment, juvenile offenders, etc.
  • Potential Topics: APA Spotlight Articles I/O Psychology This link opens in a new window
  • Mental Health topics on the National Institute of Mental Health's website This link opens in a new window
  • Social Psychology search results on the American Psychological Association's website This link opens in a new window

Research Poster requirements:

Your research poster should include the following sections as shown in the examples below:

  • A title box towards the top of the poster, including the names of the authors and university affiliation.
  • An introduction section highlighting the problem addressed, brief literature review with citations and your hypothesis or hypotheses.
  • A method section describing your participants, any materials used and what you did during the experiment (procedures).
  • A results section and, if applicable, associated tables or graphs.  These panels provide your statistics relevant to the hypothesis examined.  At minimum, provide descriptive statistics.  Inferential statistics are not required but your conclusions would benefit.
  • A discussion where you relate your findings to that of other studies and draw your conclusions in light of your hypothesis.
  • A references list. Make sure your references include at least four references with three primary research articles. Primary articles describe studies in which the authors collected the data themselves.  References must be in APA format.  If you cannot fit four or more references into your poster, you should provide the references separately in a Word or pdf document.

Here is an example of a poster created by a student in PSY 224 last school year:

Sample research poster by a student

Poster templates

  • Poster Template for a Survey This link opens in a new window
  • Poster Template for a Correlation, Experiment, or Quasi-Experiment This link opens in a new window
  • SNHU Poster Design Guide This poster design guide includes information about image size required for posters, templates for posters, SNHU logos, etc. to create high quality research posters.
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) APA Classroom Poster This link opens in a new window Images of sample classroom research posters in APA format available on this page.

Sample Posters

Here is an example of a poster that some students presented at the New England Psychological conference:

Sample of poster presented by students at a psychology conference.

Here is an example of a poster based on survey research:

Photo of a poster created by students based on survey research.

Poster Session details

The Poster Session will be held Monday, December 12th, 2022 during class from 12:30-1:45pm in the Wolak Library Learning Center (Shapiro Library) 2nd floor mezzanine. You will be expected to answer questions other students/visitors have about your poster. Grades will be based on the poster and participation in the poster session.

  • << Previous: PSY 224 Research Guide - Home
  • Next: Conducting Psychological Research >>

poster assignment instructions

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ACE Festival Poster Guidelines

From designing to printing to displaying your poster, details matter! Before launching your poster project, read all instructions and adhere to them carefully. Attention to detail early on will enable you to relax and enjoy the festival when the day arrives!

How big can I make my poster?

Maximum poster dimensions are 48 inches wide and 36 inches tall (4 × 3 feet). Your poster must be small enough to fit on a stand-up display board of this size. These display boards stand in a horizontal (landscape) orientation. Therefore, if your poster is in vertical (portrait) orientation, it must be less than 36 inches tall.

Minimum size is 19 × 24 inches (1.5 × 2 feet), in either horizontal or vertical orientation.

What to include? What should it look like?

Posters  must  contain the following: title, name(s) of author(s), primary author’s contact info, and acknowledgment of sources. The content of the poster should include: statement of the basic research question or presenting challenge, description of the research methods or process/plan or action, the results of the research or project, and a summary conclusion.

Posters should be designed for clarity and legibility. Envision a poster hanging above eye level or about two feet away; will the reader be able to see the text clearly? A poster 3 × 4 feet in size should contain no more than 800 words of text. Adapt content of smaller sizes appropriately. Choose font style and size for clarity more than for artistic visual interest. Color contrast is important: dark text on a light background is preferred. Give attention to adequate white space and placement to avoid an overcrowded or cluttered appearance.

The following resources may be helpful in planning the content and design of your poster:

  • Infographic - Anatomy of an ACE Research Poster
  • 10 simple rules for a science poster
  • PowerPoint templates These templates may be useful if you will be printing your poster on a large single sheet, and if the appropriate size is used. (See size instructions above.)  These layouts are not suitable if you plan to print multiple panels to assemble into one poster. (See printing considerations below.)
  • A design checklist

Poster judging - for STEM departments

Posters in the ACE Festival that are from Biology, Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, Engineering, and Psychology programs  will be eligible for the STEM departments' traditional STEM Celebration awards. These posters will be judged and prizes will be awarded in several categories, such as project posters, class assignment posters, and independent research posters.

This rubric will be used to evaluate STEM posters and select the winners.

Can I use the EMU logo?

It is customary to include the institution’s logo on academic posters.  However , if your poster will be used online or in any setting outside of EMU, you cannot use EMU’s logo without approval.  Such posters must be submitted to the marketing department for review, to ensure the usage is consistent with EMU’s brand identity guidelines . Send posters to  [email protected]  for approval prior to printing. Allow at least 48 hours (two business days) for this additional step.

Where and how do I get it printed?

Faculty are responsible to supervise students in the poster design and printing process. Departments may have differing expectations as to how printing costs will be covered. Talk to your faculty mentor, and make sure expectations are clear before proceeding.

Posters must be printed in time to be displayed on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 17, 2024. Plan ahead!

The former EMU printshop is now owned and operated by Campbell Print Center. They are located off campus but provide daily delivery to EMU. If you choose to utilize another off-campus printing service, shop around and check costs ahead of time; a price range of about $70 is not uncommon to print a single large poster. 

Printing considerations

With careful attention to design, posters can be created using sheets 13 × 19 inches in size, which Campbell Print Center can print for a much cheaper price. Joining two, three, or four of these panels, can result in several possible layouts. See diagrams of EMU printshop options . 

  • Each 13×19 panel needs to be designed separately and sized correctly. Each panel should be its own page in the final PDF document.
  • If posters are initially designed in PowerPoint, create a separate slide for each panel. Use the “set slide size” function to size each panel to the correct dimensions (13×19 or 19×13). Design panels with margins to allow for some overlap when attaching the panels after they are printed.

Campbell can print larger, single-sheet posters in any dimensions within the maximum size stated above (4 x 3 feet). The cost will vary depending on the dimensions. Contact [email protected] to get a price quote. 

Remember that your poster may need to be attached to a standup display board. For this reason, please avoid overly thin paper, which may tear or curl too easily. 

Submission instructions

If you choose to get your poster printed at Campbell Print Center, the following guidelines MUST be followed:

  • 9am on Friday, April 12 for larger single-sheet posters
  • noon on Monday, April 15  for the small 13x19 panels
  • Faculty must submit their students’ posters to the print shop, providing the necessary account number. (Students should not individually submit posters.)
  • Contact [email protected] (or 540-434-4171 and ask for Connie) for instructions on submitting your files. Please reach out in advance if you plan to place a quantity order.
  • Files must be submitted in PDF format. Do not send PowerPoint files!
  • Communicate clearly about who the posters should be delivered to when ready.

How do I display it?

Posters will either be hung from tack strips along the walls, or attached to tri-fold stand-up display boards on tables. Presenters are responsible for bringing their poster to their assigned location during the scheduled poster displaying period the day before the festival –  between 1:30 and 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 17. Please check in with the attendant, who will assist with displaying your poster.

Note that poster entries are expected to consist of a poster only. There will not be space for additional display items. Exceptions may be made in cases where a project entails the creation of a three-dimensional product; this must be indicated on the entry form.

Posters printed on individual panels must be joined (taped together) and displayed as one poster. Do not bring panels to hang or display separately.

Try to avoid tightly rolling your poster prior to display, so it will lay flat on the wall or display board.

After the festival,  posters should be picked up by their owners between 5:00 and 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 18. Posters not claimed during this time may be discarded or claimed by academic departments.

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Dr. Alex Casteel

Research Methodology & Design

Poster Assignment

The Poster: Draft Assignment is the penultimate assignment in the course, preparing you for the Poster: Final Assignment. The two assignments are identical in that you will prepare a poster presentation of your selected topic (see aTopic 2 Quiz: Pick Topic assignment ), including a statistical analysis based upon the EDCO 745 course dataset ( Topic 7 Regression Data: Output and Write-up ). The draft assignment is your opportunity to prepare the assignment and received feedback from which you will make the appropriate revisions and resubmit as the Poster: Final Assignment.

A poster is used at academic and professional conferences to present one’s research in a brief and informative manner. The poster introduces the background of the problem, identifies the research question and hypotheses to be addressed, describes the variables and instruments used, and presents the descriptive statistics about the sample. The poster then transitions into showing the data analysis by presenting the methods used (also called procedures), presenting the statistical analysis, and offering the results from the analysis. The poster concludes by interpreting those results within the context of the literature and theory.

Within the Topic 7 and Topic 8 assignments, you will develop a poster based upon the work you have done throughout the EDCO 745 course. The good news about the poster assignment is that if you have been diligently following along with this blog, you have already done the hard work for this assignment.  All you will need are your Week 4 Literature Review and W eek 7 Regression Data Output and Write-up assignments .

The following provides a step-by-step guide for compiling the material needed to complete the poster assignment. The sections described are based upon the poster template , which may be downloaded at the end this blog, which is a modified version of one of the EDCO 745 Templates (Template 1). An example of the completed assignment is also available. Be sure to review the guidance and instructions prior to developing your poster.


The introduction provides a background to the research topic and develops the need for further research. This section is a miniature version of the Literature Review’s Synthesis and Conclusion sections in which you provided a review of the literature and its findings about your topic and a statement of what still needs to be studied based upon that review. To complete this section, copy and paste the Synthesis and Conclusion from the Topic 4 Literature Review, making sure you apply any feedback received on the assignment. Once you have done this, you will need to pare down the material to present only what is necessary to introduce the topic and describe the research problem to be investigated. The text should fit within the available space without adjusting the font size. The last sentence of the section should be a statement of the research problem, which can be found at the top of the Topic 7 Regression Data: Output and Write-up assignment. Please ensure this sentence aligns with the research questions and hypotheses (and the subsequent statistical analysis) that you select.

Research Questions & Hypotheses

The purpose of the rest of the poster is to address the research problem developed in the Introduction. The process begins with proposing a research question and hypothesis that will answer the research problem. For this assignment, you only need one research question and the associated hypotheses. Assuming that you followed this blog to reach this point, you will have completed the Topic 7 assignment Regression Data: Output and Write-up Assignment in which you completed a moderator analysis. The first steps of the assignment were to identify the problem statement, which should be the last sentence of the Introduction, the research question, and the hypotheses. If you did this, you should copy and paste the research question and hypotheses into the section and you are done!

RQ: To what extent, if any, does gender moderate the predictive effect between Stress (X) and Depression (Y)?

H0: Gender does not significantly moderate the predictive effect between Stress (X) and Depression (Y).

H1: Gender significantly moderates the predictive effect between Stress (X) and Depression (Y).

The sample section describes the participants of the study from whom data were collected. Descriptions of the sample include how many total participants were in the study and listing of the relevant characteristics. For example, if the sample was 1,300 of which 704 were male and 596 were female, then one would describe the sample size and present a frequency table of the genders. One may use a bar chart to visually present the information; however, keep in mind the frequency values (the numbers for each category) must still be presented.

The sample for the study consisted of records aggregated in the EDCO 745 dataset ( N = 1,300), differentiated by gender of male ( n = 704) and female ( n = 596), as presented in Table 1.

In any research presentation, one must present the variables that are being examined. One must identify the variables, describe how the variables were measured, and describe the level of measurement for each variable. Identify the role of each variable in the study.  A simple format for this was described in Week 2: Quiz: Pick Topic Assignment. If using the analysis from the Week 7 Regression Data Output and Write-up assignment , you should be able to copy and paste directly from the previous work.

Gender, as self-identified, a categorical-nominal level of measurement. Gender is the moderator (W) variable.

Stress, as measured by DASS-Stress, a continuous-interval level of measurement. Stress is the predictor (X) variable.

Depression, as measured by DASS-Depression, a continuous-interval level of measurement. Depression is the criterion (Y) variable.

Once the questions are set, the variables identified, and the sample selected, the next step is to describe how the test will be completed. As a presentation, the procedures are intended to give an overview of the important steps one completes to prepare the data and test the hypothesis, keeping in mind the important part of testing the hypothesis is, well, testing the hypothesis. Although the course spends time on ensuring the data are prepared and appropriate for hypothesis, such data preparation is not the main part of an analysis. As such, it is adequate to describe that data were retrieved and tests of assumptions were completed. The reader will expect that tests of assumptions met the assumptions unless you describe otherwise. For example, if there was a minor deviation of normality, then one would describe it and address how that deviation was handled. Otherwise, the adage of no news is good news is applicable. With the data prepared, one should then describe how the data were used to test the hypothesis. The writeup for this section may be copied directly from the writeup for the Week 7 Regression Data Output and Write-up assignment with some minor editing.

A simple moderator analysis using Hayes (2018) model 1 was completed using the variables gender as the moderator ( W ), Stress as the predictor ( X ) and Depression as the criterion ( Y ) obtained from the EDCO 745 course dataset. The data were screened and tests of assumptions for multiple regression were completed. Although there was a minor deviation from normality for the residuals, the data were not transformed. Violation of the normality of residuals does not lead to issues with significance testing, particularly with larger sample sizes, and does not suggest any discrepancies with model coefficients should be anticipated. Instead, this violation may be an indication that a better regression model may be needed (Cohen et al., 2003). The tests of assumptions demonstrated the data are suitable for conducting the moderator analysis.

The research question was addressed by testing the null hypothesis. The relationships examined are presented in Figure 1.

With the procedures in place, the next step is to describe the outcome of the tests. As with all scholarly writing, one begins with a narrative description of the results, then one presents the figures and/or tables that support the results. The write up for the results often tend to be very brief, as one is only presenting the outcome of the statistical test—the interpretation comes later in the Discussion section. If you are using the Week 7 assignment, you may copy and paste directly from it into this section.

A moderator analysis using PROCESS (v.4.0; Hayes, 2018) was conducted to test the null hypothesis. There was a significant predictive effect between Stress and Depression,  t  = 19.9224,  p  < .001, b = 0.9353. The result of the interaction effect between gender and Stress upon Depression was not statistically significant, t = -0.8145, p = .4155, b = -0.0251. See Tables 2 and 3. The results failed to reject the null hypotheses, which stated that gender does not significantly moderate the predictive effect between Stress ( X ) and Depression ( Y ). The results suggest that although there is a significant predictive effect between Stress and Depression, the extent of the effect between Stress and Depression is not dependent upon one’s gender, as shown in Figure 2.

The discussion section presents the opportunity to interpret the results in the context of the literature and the theoretical foundations. For the purposes of the assignment, one should describe how the results of the analysis fill the need for further research and compare these results to the results of the reviewed literature. Only a few sentences are needed for this assignment. There is no expectation for contrasting the results within the theoretical foundations for this assignment. The discussion should also incorporate a description of the limitations of the study and should provide direction for future research.

The predictive effect, as presented by Smith (xxxx) and Brown (xxxx) were observed within this study’s results, as well. However, unlike the results demonstrated by Jones (xxxx), which suggested that gender may be a moderating factor between stress and depression, the results of this study demonstrated gender does not moderate the predictive effect between stress and depression.

The limitations of this study include using an archival dataset, which may have been developed using a different theoretical foundation or study purpose. Additionally, the conclusions are limited by the unknown validity or reliability of the data collection efforts in developing the archival data.

Future research should consider collecting primary data directly from participants. Considerations should be given to ensuring a representative sample or, alternatively, by focusing upon specific groups (e.g., doctoral students, 18-35 year old participants, etc.)

Within this section, one should list the references for any citations within the presentation. Typically, one would have citations in the Introduction, Variables, Procedures, and Discussion. Be sure to use proper APA format.

Hayes, A. F. (2018). Moderation, mediation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach (2 nd ed.). Guilford Press.

Final thoughts

The poster assignment is a presentation of research already conducted. As such, it should be a well-developed, visually appealing presentation of a research problem and how it was addressed. Use the same font and font size throughout, keep figures and tables legible, and focus on what is important: the results of the analysis and the interpretation of those results. A poster presentation is not a dissertation. It is meant to be read in 5-10 minutes to inform the reader about the study. If the reader wants to learn more about it, they will read the published research from which the poster was developed. In this class, your version of the published research is the aggregation of your work: The literature review and the appropriate analysis output and writeup.

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  1. How to create an effective poster presentation

    poster assignment instructions

  2. POSTER PROJECT This assignment is a great alternative to essays!! ⚛

    poster assignment instructions

  3. Example Posters

    poster assignment instructions

  4. Friendly Letter

    poster assignment instructions

  5. How To Make An Academic Poster Assignment?

    poster assignment instructions

  6. How to Write an Assignment: Step by Step Guide

    poster assignment instructions


  1. How to View Assignment Instructions Students

  2. How to Do Any Writing Assignment

  3. Assignment Instructions for Week 2 SQL for Data Analytics

  4. Poster Presentation

  5. Written assignment instructions (2024)

  6. Reaction Assignment Instructions May/Summer 2024


  1. Creating a Poster

    Prepare a four- to five-minute overview of the project, where you walk these pre-viewers through the poster, drawing their attention to the most critical points and filling in interesting details as needed. Make note of the kinds of questions these pre-viewers have, and be ready to answer those questions.

  2. PDF Creating and Presenting a Poster Script

    Type Sizes: Make the type on your poster as large as possible. As a general rule, the smallest text on your poster should be clearly visible from 3 feet away. At the minimum, type should be 72 points for the title, 36 points for the headings, 24 points for body copy. Consistency - Aim for consistency.

  3. Creative Student Assignments: Poster Projects

    First time poster creators tend to err on the side of having too much text, so you should give your students some specific guidelines. These, for example, can be adapted according to your pedagogical goals and academic discipline: Title = 1-2 short lines. Abstract (if required) = ~50 words. Introduction = ~200 words.

  4. Assignment Planner: Poster Presentation

    Read the instructions carefully, highlighting the major goals and requirements for the assignment. If you've never done a poster presentation before or would like a refresher, review the common expectations and features, do a genre analysis, and/or look at samples.Use the UT Libraries LibGuide to find out more about poster presentations.. Notice how posters are visually organized; what ...

  5. Research Guides: How to Create a Research Poster: Poster Basics

    Research posters summarize information or research concisely and attractively to help publicize it and generate discussion. 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 ...

  6. PDF Poster Presentation Assignment

    For the poster presentation, I will assign 0-4 points in each of the following categories, with 0 representing a missing component and 4 representing exceptional execution of the criterion. The total number of points comprises the grade on the poster presentation. • Focus: The poster offers a well articulated topic, issues or questions for ...

  7. Creating Poster Presentations

    Guidelines for creating your poster: Aim for a maximum of 1000 words of text (including titles for figures etc.) Write short, bulleted phrases, rather than groups of paragraphs. Use one simple font such as Arial, Helvetica or Times New Roman. Use appropriate font sizes:

  8. Poster Presentations

    This university writing guide is a great place to start when faced with a poster assignment. Straight-forward instructions and guidance along with examples and additional resources steer tenderfeet and veterans in effective design. Scientifically Speaking. This is a site for effective presentation skills from a sci-tech perspective.

  9. PDF Assignment Type: Poster

    Use a poster for assignments where you would normally ask the student to explain a concept or a topic in a paper. Provide instructions on how to create a poster. Consider using peer review for posters. Considerations On the teaching website, you will find an example poster that provides directions on creating posters, including some design advice.

  10. Library Guides: Poster Creation and Presentation: Getting Started

    Aim for a total of 300-500 words on your poster. Do not paste large blocks of text; explain with visuals as needed. Overview. Research posters are a visual representation of your paper or project. They typically include both small blocks of text and images (photos, charts, graphs, etc.). A poster will quickly educate the viewers it attracts ...

  11. Creating effective poster presentations

    What is a poster presentation? A poster presentation is a visual display, usually on a large poster board, that communicates the key points of a study, project, or topic. ... It is recommended that you read through the assignment instructions carefully and highlight keywords and keep these in mind throughout the planning phase of your ...

  12. Designing Effective Posters: Starting the Poster Design Process

    A poster can be an effective means of presentation at meetings, conferences, or in a classroom setting. Posters allow you to communicate your main points in a succinct and visual manner, especially if your research is highly technical or detailed. Whether you're a new student or a tenured researcher, posters are an excellent way to display your ...

  13. Designing Effective Poster Presentations

    Explain the poster session that is planned for the class, covering the following key points: Identify the purpose of the posters, connecting to a recent research project that students have already completed. Provide details on the event (e.g., a class session, a school-wide history fair). Explain who the audiences for the posters will be.

  14. Using Undergrad Poster Sessions for Final Assignments

    Students can print their posters in the Wells Library (fourth floor). Currently a 3′ x 4′ poster costs under $20 for students to print in the Wells library. If you would like help in designing, implementing, or evaluating this type of assignment, please contact the CITL. One of our consultants will be happy to meet with you about ...

  15. How to Design a Winning Poster Presentation (Examples & Templates)

    Step 3: Write the content. Write or rewrite the content for the sections in your poster presentation. Use the text in your research paper as a base, but summarize it to be more succinct in what you share. Don't forget to write a catchy title that presents the problem and your findings in a clear way.

  16. Poster Presentations

    Assignment Success Toggle Dropdown. Decoding the Assignment Prompt ; Types of Writing Assignments. Annotated Bibliography ; Comparative Analysis ; Conducting an Interview ; ... Developing a Poster Presentation. A poster presentation is a visual presentation of your research that often includes a concise display of the abstract, purpose, method ...

  17. PDF Poster Session Rubric

    Poster Session Rubric. Details on the poster capture the important information about the topic and increase the audience's understanding. Details on the poster include important information but the audience may need more information to understand fully. Details on the poster relate to the topic but are too general or incomplete.

  18. Poster Resources

    Poster Assignment timeline: Poster Title, 10 References, and Abstract; Completing a Poster Section; Poster First Draft; Poster Final Draft; Poster Symposium and Peer Reviews; Poster Instructions: Poster Instructions. Complete Poster Guide Book: Scientific Posters Guide Book. Poster Templates: ResearchPoster_48x36_Gray; ResearchPoster_48x36_Scarlet

  19. Research & Poster Assignment

    Research Poster Project Assignment. Instead of a final exam, this course will end with a class poster session during the last class time, Monday, December 12, 2022 from 12:30-1:45 on the 2nd floor of the Shapiro Library in the Mezzanine area above the Zachos Cafe. You can either work by yourself or with one other student on your own research ...

  20. Poster Guidelines

    These posters will be judged and prizes will be awarded in several categories, such as project posters, class assignment posters, and independent research posters. This rubric will be used to evaluate ... Submission instructions. If you choose to get your poster printed at Campbell Print Center, the following guidelines MUST be followed: ...

  21. Poster Assignment

    The Poster: Draft Assignment is the penultimate assignment in the course, preparing you for the Poster: Final Assignment. ... Be sure to review the guidance and instructions prior to developing your poster. Introduction. The introduction provides a background to the research topic and develops the need for further research. This section is a ...


    Research Paper - Critique and Analysis Assignment Instructions(1) (1).docx. ARTS 222 RESEARCH PAPER: CRITIQUE AND ANALYSIS ASSIGNMENT In designing a poster to show people and to get a point across to the audience, there are an abundance of things that need to be considered. In the Grapes of Wrath poster that we were told to analy

  23. Poster Project Instructions Template Teaching Resources

    4.8. (335) $8.00. PDF. Easel Activity. This no-prep resource on biomes contains posters, task cards, reading comprehension pages and activities, a write the room activity, and a research project. This unit has everything you need for your students to complete the research project on a chosen biome.