Research Poster Presentation

By John Jemison

The research poster has become a really popular method to present information at local, regional, and national meetings. The advantages of this information transfer method is that only people interested in your work, or people doing similar work, will spend time at your poster. The potential for one-on-one idea exchange, critique, and positive reinforcement is often better with this presentation method than with oral presentations.

Three General Poster Making Tips

Tip #1. Be brief … the more pictures, graphics, and diagrams the better. Try to say the most with the fewest words. Wordy posters get passed by. Use bullets. People have very little time to read posters at national / regional meetings. Let high quality pictures draw people to your display; you can then talk with them about your methods, etc. and provide more details. We all feel the need to say everything we know about a subject, but be as brutally concise on your poster as you can be.

Tip #2. Poster size. Bigger is not always better. If you say your message on 30”x40” instead of 48”x96”, your costs will be reduced, and most people may be more interested in reading it because it will be less intimidating.

Tip #3. Follow standard research presentation protocol: introduction, project goals, methods, results, discussion and conclusions. Again, be brief. Don’t include an abstract if this is published elsewhere. Include goals and conclusions because some people will read these first to determine if they want to linger to read more.

Research Poster Template for you to modify and use.

How To Set Up Your Own Poster

I will lead you through the steps I took when setting up my own poster and will provide possible suggestions for you to use on your poster. You will be creating a one-slide PowerPoint presentation. You can click the slideshow button at anytime in the process to see how your poster is shaping up. You can add graphs, pictures, logos etc. as you complete your poster.

To start, click on the PowerPoint file WeedsPoster.ppt (Password protected; you may be prompted to login to myUMaine Portal; use your gmail user name and password) and save it to your computer.

Step 1. Open the file and go File and go to Page Set Up. This is how to set the size of your poster. PowerPoint limits your width to 56 inches. That is usually what I set my poster to regardless if I have up to 96”. See Tip 2. You will use the custom setting.

Step 2. Go under View and turn on the grid lines option. You can use these to align the boxes, pictures, etc., to make a really professional poster.

Step 3. Change the title and authors. Go through each box and add and cut as desired.

Step 4. Change background. I have used this background on all of my posters, but you can change to any background you want by moving the cursor to the poster’s background, right click the mouse and change the backdrop to whatever background you choose. Many people will use a large picture as the background. I recommend that you use a high density image so that the background won’t appear pixilated. With high resolution cameras this is increasingly possible.

Step 5. Viewing. By clicking the slideshow button in the lower left corner, you can see how the poster is progressing/lining up, etc.

Step 6. Importing pictures. If you go to insert / pictures you can go to my pictures on windows explorer and import any image you want to your poster. It will dump the picture in the middle of the poster. You can drag it and resize it to fit your needs.

Step 7. Importing graphs. You can do essentially the same thing as step 6. If you use excel to make graphs, you can simply copy the graph and paste into the poster. It will dump the graph into the middle of the poster. You can drag it and resize it to fit your needs.

Step 8. Do a file Save As at the end and name your poster.

Step 9. Send your poster to a colleague to review. I can assure you they will have good positive suggestions for you.

Step 10. Put your poster on a thumb drive and take to a printing service. I find a semi-gloss finish paper is better than other choices.