8 Things To Include in Your Academic Poster
As well as essays and exams, one thing you may come across at university is academic posters. These are often used at meetings and conferences so that people can showcase their work or research. It’s a lot more complicated than your simple essay as these need to be visually pleasing and well researched and written. It adds a whole other element to think about when you’re planning your work. If you’ve been set the task of creating an academic poster, you might be feeling a little bit lost, but this post is here to help you. So, keep reading!
Before you start your poster, it’s important to plan it out. As mentioned, your poster needs to look good. That’s why it’s better to get your content planned before you actually begin the process of making it. Once you’ve got your content ideas jotted down, you can begin to arrange them. So, let’s start planning out what you need to include:
Every good piece of work has an intro, and an academic poster is no exception. How will your readers know what to expect if you don’t outline your idea? Your introduction can often be the part that makes readers decide if they’re interested in reading it or not, so it needs to be effective. Start by giving a little background on your topic. This is always good to keep people informed. Then move onto the main aims and objectives you’ve set out to achieve. Then you might also want to discuss why your poster is individual. What is it about your research that is unique? Why is the poster worth reading? These are the questions your intro should be answering.
Discuss your methods
As with any piece of work, what you include can differ with subject and purpose, but a methods section may be a crucial element. If you’re presenting research, you’ll have to demonstrate how this research has or will be conducted. Outline the type of information you’re looking into, the size of the sample you’re using, how long the study will take and the criteria of your methodology. It’s always good to present as much information as possible so your readers have a clear idea of what to expect. It’s important your methods are well thought out.
Present your results
One thing to remember about your poster is to keep it short and sweet! That’s why when you discuss the results, it’s good to include those that support your point rather than those that go against it. This is also where a lot of your graphics can come in if you think it’s suitable. For example, if graphs are useful to you, your results section is a good place to put them to present your results. Your results section should also include some strong analysis based on what you’ve found out; you need to intrigue your readers after all.
Again, this comes with any piece of work that you do. By the end of your degree, you’ll be a conclusion whiz, but if you’re at the start, they can be difficult to get right. It will also be good to use one no matter the subject you’re studying so you can round up what you’ve discussed. You should use your research to conclude what you’ve found throughout the piece and answer your hypothesis confidently. It could also be good to discuss how you’d improve your work in future if you were to do it again.
Do your references
One thing you might forget with a poster is that it needs to include references just like any other academic piece. Like many essays, it’s usually crucial to include a whole bibliography regardless of whether you cited the source specifically. Due to the limited space, you probably just want to include a direct reference list to ensure it all fits in.
Now, with the main purpose of the poster being to showcase your research, getting the design right is crucial. That’s why there are a few things within the design of the poster that are important to consider. It might seem small, but for this type of assessment, the design matters almost as much as the writing.
A clear layout
When you’re planning the layout of your poster, you want to think about the information that you’re including. Would you prefer a layout that flows from one section to another or one that uses columns in the same way that a newspaper does? This completely depends on what you’re discussing, but one layout might fit better than another. One of the most important things that come with creating an academic poster is making sure that it can be read from a couple of feet away. It needs to be super clear and by doing some trial and error will help you to establish the best option.
Sort your text
If you’re going to see a poster from a couple of feet away, small text is the wrong choice. The best way to do this is to try and experiment with your poster. If you stand away from it and can’t read it, it is time for a change. Your poster is all about catching your viewers’ attention. If people are wandering around at a conference and your page is full of tiny text, they’re not going to want to read it. That also goes with how much text you write. You don’t want to have paragraph after paragraph. While it needs to be informative, you don’t want it to be lengthy, so maybe include some key bullet points here and there too.
So, what are you going to have instead of lengthy paragraphs? Visuals. This can mean anything from images to graphs. Of course, this massively depends on your topic, but if you can find a way to present your research outside of using words, then it’s good to do so. Again, if people are walking around looking at multiple posters, it’s usually the graphics that pull them in more than words. Choose something relevant and interesting that will make people want to find out more. Your aim is to catch their eye.
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Do you have any academic poster tips? Comment below and let us know!