Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Posters

Poster sessions in classes and at conferences are a way to visually convey research. This guide offers the basics in design, content, and printing resources.

Start with Michael Alley if making a poster in the sciences -- includes templates

The basics - There are three components to a poster session:

  1. You
  2. Your poster
  3. A handout

All three components should complement, not repeat one another.

You: Prepare a 1-2 minute lightning talk about your research. This should be a unique experience or insight in simple, easy-to-understand language. Also prepare to answer questions about your research.

Poster: The poster should outline your research with interesting commentary about what you learned along the way. It should be a balance of visuals and text.

Handout: Best practices for handouts - 1) The handout should be double-sided. 2) The front side of the paper should include a picture of the poster. 3) The back side of the paper should include a literature review, cited references, further information about the topic, and contact information.

Three questions to ask when designing a poster:
  1. What is the most important/interesting finding from my research?
  2. How can I visually share my research? Should I use charts, graphs, photos, images?
  3. What kind of information can I convey during my lightning talk that will complement my poster?
  4. How can people find out more about my work?

Best reason to give a poster presentation - Learn to see your research through the lens of others. Ask new questions!

What is a research poster?

A poster session or poster presentation is the presentation of research by an individual or group for a class or academic/professional conference. At a conference, the work is usually peer reviewed.

A room is reserved for poster sessions where researchers accompany a poster illustrating their methods and outcomes. Presentations usually consist of affixing the research poster to a portable wall with the researcher in attendance answering questions. Each research project is presented on a conference schedule for a period ranging from 10 minutes to several hours.

Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poster_session

What to expect at a poster session

  • Dress is business casual - wear comfortable shoes!
  • Arrive early. Make sure the poster is properly mounted and meet your neighbors.
  • Bring push pins, a black marker, and white out. Even if you didn't make any mistakes, a fellow researcher may be grateful for them.
  • Practice your lightning talk ahead of time and be prepared to answer questions. Some questions to consider: Why did you choose this particular research question? What did you learn that you did not expect? What is the most interesting aspect that you learned? What would your next steps be if you could continue this research next semester?
  • Don't focus on only one person. Use your eyes and body language to draw people into the conversation.
  • Remember a handout. This helps you connect with others after the poster session.
  • Don't leave early. Even if it seems slow, stay until the time slot is over.