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Research Poster Basics

Getting Started!

What is a Research Poster?

Most academic conferences include poster presentations in their program.  Research posters summarize information about research both concisely and visually 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 figures. At a conference, the researcher is usually scheduled to stand by the poster display while other participants can come and view the presentation and interact with the poster author.

Most Research Posters Include:

  • Abstract / Summary of the Project
  • Background/Introduction
  • Research Question/Problem/Hypothesis.
  • Methodology (Materials & Methods)
  • Data
  • Conclusions, Future Studies
  • Acknowledgements

What Makes a Good Poster?

  • Important information and section headings should be readable from about 10 feet away
  • Title should be short and draw interest
  • Overall word count should be anywhere from 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/figures, color and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • Includes acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation (see Brand Standards)

Preparing for a Research Poster

Creating a strong research poster means planning in advance.  Consider the following when preparing your poster:

  • due date for the poster, and when you need to have your poster ready for printing. 
  • size and materials for the poster
  • any information required to be on the poster
  • headings for your poster, and what information to include therein
  • formatting requirements, especially any size requirements, e.g., "48 x 36 inches"
  • where and how to print the poster
  • if a formal oral presentation is required

Why Create a Reseach Poster?

Research can be communicated both visually and succinctly through a research poster.  

Poster sessions are ideal for:

  1. Class research assignment
  2. Undergraduate and graduate research event (like RSCA)
  3. Promotional or advocacy event highlighting work done on a certain project and/or program
  4. Scientific conference or professional meeting

Typically some time will be scheduled for you to discuss your research poster while the poster is on display.