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Poster Presentation


  1. Class: Unspecified
  2. Assignment description: Posters presentations are used to present information at scientific meetings, research conferences, or for a class. They are useful because they display your research for viewers in a concise and visual manner. Your poster should not be a copy of your research paper. It should simply summarize your research and findings.
  3. This template is published for use.
  1. Step 1: Understand requirements and prepare for printing
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%


    Whether you are presenting at a conference or in a classroom you need to consider the requirements.  Before you start, check the size requirements. Make sure that your poster will fit in the space offered. 

    Common requirements include legible from a distance, clearly labeled figures, simple lettering and colours, and the content is quickly understood.

    Scout out where you will print your document. Large scale poster printing is probably beyond your printer’s capability. Consider the time and cost required to print a poster. 
  2. Step 2: Draft text for individual sections
    Percent time spent on this step: 35%


    The sections in a poster do vary between disciplines and conferences. Always follow their guidelines.

    Common sections include the following:

    • Title: The title should be obvious in the largest type font. It should give a general overview of the topic without going overboard.
    • Acknowledgements: Cite your name, as well as the names of any other authors. Include the names and address of any institutional affiliations. This information should come below the title.
    • Introduction: Typically, it is only necessary to include an introduction on a poster; the abstract can be omitted. The introduction should briefly present your hypothesis, as well as the minimum amount of background information required for the viewer to understand your poster.
    • Materials and Methods: This section should be no longer than 200 words. Summarize the equipment used and the procedure. If possible, include a labelled diagram of your setup and flowcharts or similar figures to represent the process.
    • Results: This should be the longest section of your poster. Start by addressing whether or not the experiment was successful, then move into more qualitative and quantitative findings. Whenever possible, findings should be explained using figures or graphs. All diagrams should have legends.
    • Conclusion: Begin by reminding the viewer of your findings and relate them back to your hypothesis. Discuss the relevance and significance of your findings to the real world, and present your next steps.
    • Literature Cited: Always cite sources that you have used for your research. Check with your instructor or the conference for the preferred style.
  3. Step 3: Construct or refine visual elements
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%


    Posters often include a number of visual elements.  Keep in mind that these elements need to have a purpose and add to the information that you convey.
    • Images and Secondary Tables:  If you haven’t created the image, you need to research the copyright implications of including the image. Note that even a creative common license may require attribution for the use of the material.  For more information, contact the University of Calgary Copyright Office.
    • Tables and Figures: When you have created the visual elements, set aside time to ensure that they are easily understood.
      • Do you have a description of the diagrams and graphs with each figure?
      • Have you properly labeled all elements?
      • Is the formatting of the graph simple? 3D graphs often complicate rather than clarify.
      • Is it essential to understand your project? Don’t add graphics for the sake of fitting in. 
  4. Step 4: Develop a layout
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%


    The layout of the information within the poster is key to its visual appeal. This visual appeal can result in more attention and interest in your work.  Make sure that you set aside enough time to try out different styles and arrangements. During the layout, you may find that you need to reduce your text. Before cutting large sections of material, make sure that your writing is concise.  Consider revising your text by looking for repetition, indirect sentences, and unneeded adjectives and adverbs.  More information is available in Effective Poster Presentations (part 1 & part 2).
  5. Step 5: Review poster in large format
    Percent time spent on this step: 15%


    If it’s unreadable, your poster isn’t conveying much information. Always review your posters in large format.  Step back and ensure that you can easily read headings and the title from a distance.

    Consider using this checklist:

    • Are all visual elements clear and in focus?
    • Are graphs and tables labeled clearly?
    • Is the font the same for all headings?
    • Is the font the same for all content?
    • Are your citations correct?
    • Is the poster consistent?
    • Is there a logical flow of information from right to left or top to bottom?
    • Does the poster have a consistent tense and number throughout?
    • Does the poster stay in the third person?

    Read your poster aloud to yourself. Have someone else read it aloud. It would be a shame to have a typo on the final document.

  6. Step 6: Print poster
    Percent time spent on this step: 5%


    Ensure that you give the printer the correct dimensions and the correct file.  Send an image file or pdf. Word documents and other software might change fonts and formatting. 
  7. Step 7: Prepare to answer questions
    Percent time spent on this step: 10%


    A successful poster will create discussion. Questions are compliments, as they mean your audience was engaged. While the poster is at the printer, take time to think about what questions might be asked. Perhaps review information that didn’t make it into the poster. Consider how you might explain the project to a person passing by.
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