Helpful Hints to Designing a Research Poster

Let’s start with two helpful hints to consider when designing a poster:

The poster is usually a mixture of a brief text mixed with tables, graphs, pictures, and other presentation formats. At a conference, the researcher stands by the poster display while other participants can come and view the presentation and interact with the author.

Posters are widely used in the academic community, and most conferences include poster presentations in their program. Research posters summarize information or research concisely and attractively to help publicize it and generate discussion. Prepare a 3-5 minute verbal explanation, as people will probably spend only about 5 minutes at your poster.


Where do I begin?

Answer these three questions:

What is the most important/interesting/astounding finding from my research project?
How can I visually share my research with conference attendees? Should I use charts, graphs, photos, images?
What kind of information can I convey during my talk that will complement my poster?


What makes a good poster?

-Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away
-Title is short and draws interest
-Word count of about 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 – put captions on them, resolution 300dpi
-Attractive use of color (2-3 different colors, no dark backgrounds) and fonts (sans serif)
-Consistent and clean layout
-Includes acknowledgments, my name, and institutional affiliation


What a poster should include:

Title: project title
Authors: my name, faculty advisor’s name, names of collaborators, and department
Purpose or Introduction: What’s the question? What’s my argument? Why is it important? What am I adding?
Methods: What did I find?? How did I find it?
Results and Conclusions: What’s Next? References/ Acknowledgements (optional)
Acknowledgments: Include any sources of funding received


What software can I use to make a poster?

PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Open Source Alternative such as OpenOffice, Inkscape, and Gimp.


How Do I Format My Poster?

“EVERYTHING on your poster should be readable in 5 MINUTES from 5 FEET away”

Title: 70- 85 pt, bold
Authors: 56pt
Sub-headings: 36- 44 pt
Body text: 24pt
Captions/Acknowledgements/References: 81- 20
1.5 spacing; single spacing hard to read


Using the IHR Template
Built in PowerPoint or InDesign
One 46” x 38” slide
Poster is read top to bottom, left to right
Three columns: Introduction, Methods, Results and Conclusions


Remember to…

-Use standard format for conferences that can be used to represent research in any academic discipline
-Create a narrative arc that captures a 3-minute elevator speech
-Explain how my research contributes to the world
-Show the value of my research
-Engage both academics and non-academics in intellectual conversation
Get people excited about the Humanities!

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