A scientific poster should follow the same organizational conventions used for other scientific writing, with an Introduction, Objectives, Materials and Methods, and Results. The Discussion should be limited, and can be included under the single heading of Results and Discussion. If literature is cited, a References section must be included; however, it can be in smaller type and in a less prominent position than other sections. Include Acknowledgments to recognize contributions to the research or poster construction.
Despite following the same general organization, however, a poster differs in many ways from a paper written for publication. Poster format demands concise presentation of information, clearly coordinated with visuals. Many people find it helpful to view the poster-writing process not as trying to condense a paper but rather as expanding and enriching the abstract. The most common problem with poster presentations is the attempt to present too much text and too many data. As Davis (2005) recommends, be willing to make one or two points and leave your other information for future papers. In comparison to a written paper, add more photographs, graphics, and color. Omit the separate abstract unless the sponsoring society requires it.
Make sure the text of the poster can stand on its own merits. Part of the time you will be present to answer questions, but some viewers will peruse the display when you are gone. Note that even then, most will not read the poster from beginning to end. Most commonly, viewers start by viewing data in tables and figures, or by reading the conclusions or objectives. Try reading these independently yourself, and see if they carry your central point of emphasis.
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