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Research Posters: Designing Your Poster

A research poster is a visual representation of a research project. This guide offers the basics in design, content, and printing resources.

Poster Template

Designing the Poster

  • Consider who your audience will be on presentation day. e.g. Are you a science major who will be presenting to an audience that will include non-science majors? If so, do not include a lot of discipline specific language. or, if it is necessary language, be prepared give definitions.
  • Know the poster dimensions mandated by the conference or the research day. You do not want to design a poster that will not fit in the space assigned. If you are attending a professional conference, check their website for required poster sizes. If it is a college research day or presentation day for a class, ask your professor for required poster dimensions.
  • Fall 2020, posters will not be printed for this Capstone Day. Printed capstone posters at Davis & Elkins College should be 3' x 2'  (landscape) or 2' x 3' (portrait). The posters will be taped into place for presentation.
  • For a poster presentation focus on the most important elements of your research. The results section will be largest section of the poster.
  • A research poster should never have too much text. (Rule of thumb: approx. 350 words)

Introduction to research posters

Making the Presentation

The Presentation

Presenter: explains the project
  • has short oral summary prepared
  • use poster as graphic support
  • professional in dress and behavior
Research Poster: tells a logical story about the project
  • the poster reads from top-to-bottom, left-to-right
  • must be neat, professional, and well-organized
  • stands as an independent scholarly work
Audience: interacts with a poster presentation from 3 distances
  • From a distance: A quick scan, identifies topic, reads title and name
  • Pauses to read: understands project, reads sections, graphs, and pictures
  • Engaged: understands project goals, methods, and outcomes, reads text and references; will ask you questions