Research Poster Design

Basic design principles for powerpoint slides, infographics, and research posters.

 

Research Poster Expectations

Research posters are a great way to display research at conferences and many hold poster sessions for this very reason. When building your research poster, these are the traditional sections that are expected:

Title & Authors

The title should be the largest singular object on the poster, and all the research author names should be located somewhere near the title. Be sure to include all appropriate affiliations and post-nominal letters (such as PhD) for each author.

Abstract

The abstract is a 250-500 word summary of your project. First, determine if the audience will even need an abstract in the poster. If it is a campus event with colleagues, perhaps leave it out, but if it's a conference in another state consider leaving it in. Make sure to include portions from every section of your poster: introduction through conclusion. It should be a paragraph with no bullet points. If you need help writing an abstract, check out Hilda Bastian's guide here: https://blogs.plos.org/absolutely-maybe/2018/06/06/building-a-great-scientific-abstract-a-quick-checklist/

Introduction

The Introduction context and provides any background necessary to the research. Make sure it grabs the attention of the reader, and consider using bullet points to get the point across quickly. It should not include your hypothesis or research.

Method

The method describes your research process, and be sure to include references or data. This would be the section to include graphics like pie charts or bar graphs (and if you do include them, be sure to have them properly labels, maybe with a legend). This is the largest portion of your poster, and may include several, separated sections or paragraphs. 

Results/Discussion

Present your research results and discuss them. Present your findings using data visualization (like graphs, equations, images, etc.) and a few sentences. If your poster is part of a Poster Session, consider what you would like on the poster and what you will say in the presentation so they work together without too much repetition. This section may be just as large as Methods or even larger, depending on how you would like the results presented. Think of Results as the "meat" of your poster.

In some disciplines, it may make sense to have Results, Discussion and Conclusion as separate sections, or all three in the same section. Discussion might be grouped with Results, or it might be grouped with Conclusion. You know your research best, chances are you will know how to separate the information best as well. If you are stumped, talk with a faculty advisor.

Conclusions

Like the introduction, keep it short and simple. State the conclusion, the future of this research, and any new hypotheses you developed after the research. A bullet pointed list here is also fine.

References

If it is cited in the poster research, it needs to be cited on the poster. Follow the citation format used by your discipline. To save space on a poster it is okay to change citations slightly by removing the title from journal articles (but including the title of the journal) and only listing the first author and following that with "et al.".

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments induce the names of funders, grants, and affiliations (like U Health). Consider using logos of the institutions being acknowledged. Acknowledgments do not include any authors on the project.

Listed below are tips when creating research posters and some PowerPoint templates using the U Health logo.

U Health logo:  

You have creative rights on the look of your poster, however there are rules when using the U Health logo:

  • Only use the approved logos, in approved colors
    • poster templates below are U Health Logo compliant 
  • No text or image within about 3/4 inch of the logo
  • Log in to Pulse to download the logos, find any further rules and see examples (as well as some faux pas)

PowerPoint tips:

  • Check with conference sponsor for poster specifications.
  • White space is important. Avoid crowding text and images.
  • When creating your poster in Powerpoint, take advantage of arranging layers of colors, shapes and text-- right-click selected objects within the slide and use the "Send to back" to push it all the way back, or "Send backward" to have it move back only one layer. "Send Forward" and "Send to Front" do the opposite.
  • Use the Format tab: That's where all the shapes, fills, outline, effects and everything else are!
  • Images: When searching for images to use on your poster, find image files that are PNG instead of JPEG. They will generally be higher resolution and many incorporate a blank background (so it's the image only, no white box around it).

Research Poster Templates

Here is a link to some template ideas from Mike Morrison

"Creating Powerful Poster Presentations" by Jeanne Marie LeBer & Susan Roberts

Print your poster

You can print your poster at Marriott Library Knowledge Commons desk.

Archive your poster

Add the electronic version of your poster to USpace, the University Institutional Repository, which provides future access to your poster. You can then insert a link to the poster into resumes and applications for employment, scholarships, grants and/or graduate schools.

Additional resources:

Research Posters and Poster Sessions (Marriott Library Guide)

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