writing and Designing a Poster Presentation
Student Development Services Writing Support Centre
1 Posters can be an effective and efﬁcient way to communicate your research to a wide audience.
Writing Your Poster Designing Your Poster
2 This presentation will discuss writing the text for a poster, and some of the issues around designing a poster; however, some of the issues surrounding writing a poster also impact its design.
Writing the Poster
Two Goals of a Poster: 1- Capture the audience 2- Inform the audience
3 When considering the text to include in a poster you must consider the purpose behind a poster. The ﬁrst goal is to capture the attention of your audience. Nobody will learn anything about your research if they just walk on by. Once you’ve captured the attention of your audience, you need to communicate the content of you poster as clearly and efﬁciently as possible.
Capture the Audience
Audience wants to be interested Your job is to make them interested First glance: Use concise and descriptive headings Colourful pictures and diagrams White space is good
4 In most cases, your poster will be presented to a keen audience. They are interested in the topic, but it is your job to make them interested. The way you present your text will encourage people to look deeper at the rest of your poster. To start, using short descriptive headings allows people to scan the overall content of your poster very quickly. An entire poster comprised of text is fairly intimidating and will only be read by a few diehard observers. On the design end of things, use colourful pictures and diagrams to lure in your audience, and don’t feel that you need to cram each square-inch of your poster with information. Effective use of white space will make your poster easier on the eyes.
Capture the Audience
First read: Try to get ONE point across More like newspaper writing than academic writing You have 10 seconds to convey your point
5 On the ﬁrst read through a poster, your audience will not be able to understand all the many intricacies of your study. Many people will not give your poster any more than this one quick readthrough, so it is important to make it count. Think of the one point you want to communicate to your audience and focus your poster around communicating this one message. Use the title and main headings to get this point across. Vague headings like “Introduction” or “Methods” do not give this ﬁrst read a good indication of what your poster is about. In many ways, writing a poster is similar to writing a newspaper article. The majority of the information should be upfront, so that anyone who stops reading early on still gets the main idea. Details that follow should just ﬁll in the main ideas you have introduced.
Inform the Audience
Who is the audience? Non-experts: Need more background Experts: Use buzz words to attract attention Posters are often starting points to detailed discussions
6 Before considering how to communicate the bulk of your content, you must consider who your primary audience is. Most conferences have attendees with diverse backgrounds, and you should consider whether you are targeting experts in your ﬁeld or trying to reach as many individuals as possible. When targeting non-experts, make sure that you give sufﬁcient background material. In these cases, it is especially important to only communicate one main idea, otherwise the message of your research will likely be forgotten. With experts in your ﬁeld, you may give more information, but you will need to lure them to your poster. Making the key buzz words of your research as prevalent as possible will be all that is need to attract these people. You may give more information, but remember that a poster can launch more detailed discussions covering speciﬁc content that need not be covered in as much detail on your poster.
Four sections in one or two sentences each Hypotheses/Objectives/Main...
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