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Postgraduates & Researchers

Guidance and Materials for Postgraduate Taught and students part of the Graduate School

Introduction to Poster Presentation

As part of your degree or when participating in a conference, you may be asked to create and present a poster on your research. This guide aims to explain some general aspects of posters and signpost you to further sources of information and support. However, it is important to remember that if you are creating a poster as part of your degree, you must check your subject’s Moodle site and assessment guidelines (if applicable) to ensure you are fulfilling their requirements. Similarly, each conference will have specific guidelines regarding posters that you need to read carefully. Your tutor may also be able to show you some examples of good posters from your discipline.

This page goes is a step by step guide of what to think about when creating your poster presentation. If you could like to download a PDF copy of it, you can find the attachment below. 

Present a poster on your research

What is a poster?

An academic poster is a visual guide to your research. It is a way of sharing information about your work and a springboard to further discussion with your audience.

Why are they a useful way to share research?

Posters are often used in conferences, seminars or exhibitions as a means of sharing different research projects. They allow you to share your research and can even lead to the creation of new contacts within academia. In addition to the benefits of sharing your work publicly, the process of designing, presenting and discussing your poster can help you to reflect on the key aims, rationale and message of your research, as well as improving your verbal communication skills.  

What are the most important considerations when creating a poster?

The most important thing to remember when designing your poster is clarity. Your research may be hugely important and compelling, but if you present it in a way that is difficult to read or understand then it will be very challenging to communicate this to your audience. Make sure that you do not cram too much information onto the page. It is impossible to include every detail of your research effectively on a poster, so instead consider the core messages you want to convey or focus on one aspect of your research that most closely relates to the conference type or assessment brief. Mention at what stage of the research process you are at, as it helps to pre-empt the question.

The design of your poster is also essential. Again, clarity and accessibility are vital to this. You need to ensure that your poster is easy to read even from a distance by leaving visual space and ensuring the text is large enough, that the information is structured in a logical order (subheadings can help with this) and that it is visually appealing.

Adding a touch of creativity will also attract an audience, so consider the use of colour and the inclusion of images to make your poster stand out. Remember though that the information is the most important part of the poster and that conveying your research clearly should be the central consideration.  

You also need to reflect on who will be your audience. If the poster is intended for non-specialists you will need to ensure that you explain the context and content of your research very clearly, and that you remove unnecessary jargon.

Structuring your Presentation

Structuring your Presentation

Like many other assignments, a presentation should include:

  • An introduction that explains what you are going to talk about: your key message, or argument and an outline of the presentation
  • A main body where you discuss the most relevant and interesting points in a logical and coherent order.
  • A conclusion that gives a brief review of the purpose of your presentation, reiterates the key message and sets your discussion in a wider context
  • References to the evidence you have used.
  • Thanking the audience for listening and an invitation to ask questions.

During your presentation, help your audience follow your thoughts and understand how your ideas link together by giving them verbal cues.

Here are some examples:

“I will begin by discussing…”

“We will draw on 2 key theories…”

“Now I have discussed the methods, I will move on to…”

 “This is particularly significant because…”

“In this presentation I aimed to…”

Adapted from Leeds University Poster Presentation’ https://library.leeds.ac.uk/info/1401/academic_skills/130/presentations/5

Tips on Presentation

Tips on Poster Presentation

  • Focus on the key points of your research rather than trying to cram in all the minor details. Remember this is just a starting point for discussions and that you can provide more details verbally.
  • Be prepared to welcome critiques about your research processes and acknowledge feedback that can help inform your work. To alleviate nerves, practice some of the Q&As that you believe an audience might ask so that you are prepared for any eventuality. If you disagree with a comment from a participant thank them for their contributions and offer to discuss at another time. If you do not know the answer to a question be honest and take the participants’ details or ask them to get in touch so that you can have a further conversation.
  • Practise what you are going to say when approached by attendees. Be able to sum up your work clearly and concisely, so that you can communicate the essence of your research effectively.
  • It is normal to feel nervous before a poster presentation. Remember that this is your research and your opportunity to share it and try to enjoy it! Postgraduate study can sometime feel isolating but presenting your work can help generate useful conversations and lead to new associations.
  • Make the most of the hard work you have put into creating your poster. Remember to share images of your poster on social media and add details of your poster presentation to your CV.

Poster Presentation Checklist

Poster Presentation Checklist

Appeal

Checklist tick Would you stop to look at this poster at a poster session?

Checklist tickIs the title short and attention grabbing?

Checklist tickIs the subject matter clear?

Checklist tickIs the layout visually appealing and does it guide the audience?

Checklist tickIs the poster well organised?

Message

Checklist tickIs the poster easy to scan-read?

Checklist tickIs the information and purpose immediately apparent?

Checklist tickWould you read the text on this poster?

Checklist tickHave you considered your audience requirements?

Checklist tickIs the title clear and informative?

Checklist tickAre the aims and conclusions clear?

Poster presentations

Checklist tickIs the subject matter clear and concise (text short, content rich)?

Checklist tickIs there a logical flow to the information?

Checklist tickCan you find relevant information easily?

Checklist tickIs the text readable (linguistic difficulty / does it have too much jargon)?

Checklist tickIs the text legible (font, size, colour and spacing)?

Checklist tickIs there too much/little data?

Checklist tickDoes the title bar include the authors’ names, and the University identifier?

Visuals

Checklist tickAre the key graphics large enough to be seen from 3 meters away?

Checklist tickAre the graphics attractive, relevant and appropriate?

Checklist tickIs there adequate clear space?

Checklist tickAre sections clearly defined?

Checklist tickHave items been aligned?

Checklist tickHave you considered: number of graphics, use of colour, font size and type

Adapted from Imperial College London, Poster Presentation, https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/study/graduate-school/public/helpsheets/Poster-presentation-handout---October-2017.pdf

Presenting your Poster

Presentations can be nerve wracking, but the best way to ensure that yours goes well is to practise repeatedly. Make sure that you know how much time you are allowed and then rehearse your presentation aloud first to yourself and then to friends or family. Practising your talk for other can allow you to receive useful feedback on key areas such as pace, volume and clarity. You should also consider how can you make your poster more accessible. For example, by describing the images you use for the visually impaired. Having a clear structure to your presentation will also help, as you will have definite sections that you need to cover in a logical order. It is fine to have cue cards to remind yourself of the key points you want to make but be careful not to simply read the poster or a transcript of the information. Instead you should aim to know the information well enough to be able to talk fluently around your key points.

Additional Information on Poster Presentations

Below are some useful websites that provide additional information on poster presentations.

Find general information on Presentation Skills on The Learning Skills Hub on Moodle or contact the AA Team at aateam@roehampton.ac.uk.