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Poster Format

Purpose

Poster presentations provide a forum for you to present either research projects or internship experiences. This format serves a two-fold purpose in communication: it allows you the opportunity to present your project/internship and it allows the content of your experience to be shared interactively with other students and faculty. In order to fulfill this purpose, the poster should be legible from a distance (~ 5 feet) to permit viewing by more than one person at a time. The guidelines below will give you some of the criteria to consider in preparing a clear and effective visual representation of your project.

Content

You should display an account of your research/internship/study abroad experience. 

General Format

**Purchase a Tri-Fold Poster Board and Consider the Following:

  • Use large type -- at least 72-point font for the title, 20-point for major headings and 16 point for the text. In this document “Poster Format” is in 18-point bold font, the major headings are in 16-point bold font, the A,B,C headings are in 14-point bold font, and the text is in 12-point font. Imagine reading these from a distance of 5 feet. (I am using the Times font -- remember different fonts vary in size.)
  • Choose a clear font (not too fancy) and use a single font type throughout the poster.
  • Prepare a title banner for the poster, including the TITLE OF PRESENTATION with the names of the authors.
  • The poster should flow either down columns or along rows -- natural patterns for Westerners.
  • Keep the poster simple. The challenge is to maintain a balance between providing information and not confusing the viewer.
  • Figures and tables should cover roughly 50% of the viewing area.
  • Make sure every photo, diagram, graph, etc. has a caption explaining what it shows. It is also helpful to give figures numbers and titles.  For example, “Figure 1.  Distribution of the American chestnut in 1890.” (And make sure any images, graphs, diagrams, etc. that you use from another source is appropriately referenced!!)
  • Text portions of the poster should be concise while providing the necessary information. (Balance, again!) Feel free to use bulleted lists and outlines for clarity.
  • The tri-fold cardboard display units are 48” x 36” (w x h). (The maximum width of the paper at the printer in the library is 44”.  You can set up the poster to print as 44” x 36” to fit the width of the printer at the library or you can rotate the poster to print 36” x 48” using the length of the paper off the roll to get to 48”. If you do this you should trim the poster to 36” to make it easier to display on the trifold board.)
  • Make sure all information, figures, and charts, etc. are appropriately referenced! Your posters are formal works and subject to all the same plagiarism considerations as other written, oral, and presentation formats. Please cite appropriately.

There are posters of scientific research on display throughout the science building. Check some of these out. How do they accomplish the goals above?

Tips for preparation

  • Plan ahead! Make a rough sketch of the poster first. What are the main points you wish to convey? What is the best format for figures? Should you use photographs? Graphs? Charts? Tables? What can best be said in prose? Does color help?
  • What are the appropriate major headings and topics for each section? Make a mock up of the figures and text you plan to include and experiment with layout. Get some feedback from peers and professors. Sleep on it. (No, not literally!)  Does the poster convey the message you intend?
  • Formalize the figures and the text. Don’t forget to check spelling and grammar! Lay out the poster. Stand back and look. Are all the figures clear? Can a reasonably intelligent individual navigate the poster without your assistance?
  • Add finishing touches, altering figures and text to enhance clarity and flow.
  • Celebrate!

 

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