Posters

Poster papers were initially introduced to ensure that people could still have their work presented at conferences when there was insufficient space for it on the main programme. Curiously enough, I have been unable to find any assessments of their effectiveness in this respect.

Most papers on posters concern their design. Figure 3.6.1 shows a typical arrangement for a poster at a scientific conference. Conference organisers usually specify how large such posters can be. A conventional size is about 4 feet (120 cm) wide by 2.5 feet (75 cm) deep, but this can vary. It is essential, therefore, to find out what size is allowed before designing a poster.

Some suggestions for presentation, culled from various papers are:

• Avoid acronyms in the title (and the text).

• Use a large type size (24-30 point). (Try reading your poster - or someone else's - from 3 to 6 feet away.)

• Use no more than three columns of text and make the flow/organisation of the text clear. Some readers will expect to go across the columns and some down. Using the IMRAD structure for the sub-headings, if appropriate, is helpful in this regard.

• Do not use all capital letters for headings, titles, etc.

• Do not underline headings.

• Set the text 'unjustified', that is, from the left in each column, with equal word spacing and a ragged right-hand edge (as here).

• Use short sentences and 'bulleted' lists.

• Do not set the text single-spaced.

• Use one, two or at most only three colours, and only if each colour has a didactic purpose.

• Supplement your poster with a summary handout and/or a full paper that includes your name and address and the date and place of the presentation. This can be given to enquirers and people who pass by.

Imrad Scientific Poster

Figure 3.6.1 A typical format for a scientific poster.

Reproduced with permission of Betch Fischer and Zigmond (2006), available at www.survival.pitt.edu.

Figure 3.6.1 A typical format for a scientific poster.

Reproduced with permission of Betch Fischer and Zigmond (2006), available at www.survival.pitt.edu.

Most poster presenters offend at least one or more of these rules. In particular, people seem reluctant to cut their material down to make it accessible on a poster, or to remember that text is hard to read from a distance. Even award-winning posters can be improved in this respect.

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  • Rosa
    What is a "poster" within academic pubishing?
    6 years ago

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