Preparing An Effective Scientific Poster. Presentation given by Dr. Lasse Lindahl, Chair of the UMBC Department of Biological Sciences July 5, 2007 Summer Undergraduate Research Seminar Series (PowerPoint presentation updated by Kathy Lee Sutphin on July 12, 2007).
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Preparing An Effective Scientific Poster
Presentation given by Dr. Lasse Lindahl, Chair of the UMBC Department of Biological Sciences
July 5, 2007
Summer Undergraduate Research Seminar Series
(PowerPoint presentation updated by Kathy Lee Sutphin on July 12, 2007)
“Criticism and testing are of the essence of our work. This means that science is a fundamentally social activity, which implies that it depends on good communication.”
1Quoted by Robert A. Day in How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper. The Oryx Press (1998) p. ix.
Author(s), Department(s) and Affiliation (UMBC) - and your “home” affiliation, if you wish
THINK BIG - can you read the title from 15-20 feet away?
The Title of a Poster is the First Thing a Visitor SeesThe goal is to be professional and attract visitors to your poster.
Titles: 90 pt for long titles; 100 pt for short titles
Typical Affiliation line= 65-70 pt
Text = 24-36 pt
Colors: Use normal, dark colors. No light colors.
Background: Avoid background colors, except for watermark designs.
Many posters include the abstract as a beginning element. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words. The suggested content for abstracts includes:
Approach and experiments
Overview/Background of the topic area
Statement of the project’s purpose
Definitions of technical terms, if needed
Interpretation and discussion of findings
Summary of major findings
Acknowledge individuals who contributed to the project
Acknowledge organizations and agencies that contributed to the project, especially through funding support
Plan using the size allotted for each poster presentation; the 2007 SURF preferred maximum size is 36” wide by 46” long
Plan the layout of the elements
It is not necessary to fill all of the space - do not “clutter” your poster
Two Basic Poster Layouts
Vertical- sequential elements in columns
Two Basic Poster Layouts
Horizontal - sequential information in rows
Two Basic Poster Layouts
Which layout is best?
Two Basic Poster Layouts
Vertical - When information is presented in columns, this layout enables the poster elements to be viewed in progression and helps to prevent traffic jams
Helpful Hint: The most important elements of a poster should be displayed at the viewer’s eye level - which is often about one foot from the top of the poster board
When the layout is finalized, sketch it on a piece of paper to use as a helpful reminder when assembling the poster
font size of
If it is too small, people will move to next poster
Identify and include the “take home” message for the poster - the one thing you would like a visitor to remember.
Include a summary of the poster’s most important points
Use bullets and/or boldface to emphasize important information
Define all technical terms used throughout a poster
(Hint: An element listing these definitions can be very helpful to visitors.)
Minimize Text -
Maximize Illustrations and Cartoons
(Hint: A poster is not a research paper.)
Avoid long blocks of text and
Use small chunks of information
(Hint: Edit, Edit, Edit to get to the core messages of the poster.)
~ 2 inch Border
For Multiple Panel Posters: Mount each element on a piece of colored cardboard. Some presenters use page protectors, which guard against moisture and allow for quick revisions.Consider having a 36” banner printed with your title information for your presentation.
(Hint: Some presenters number the backs of the mounted elements in sequential order)
For One Sheet Posters:
Use the 36” x 48” template available on the UMBC Illustrative Services website:
EMBARC: “This investigation was supported, in part, by UMBC and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites Program Award DBI-0453294.” OR
SPCB: “This investigation was supported, in part, by UMBC and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites Program Award DMS-0354034.” OR
STEP-UP BSURE: “This investigation was supported, in part, by UMBC and the National Institutes of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health), Award 1R25DK078380-01.”OR
MARC: “This investigation was supported, in part, by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Research Service (NRSA) Award GM 08663 to the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) Program at UMBC.”
If you have additional supporting data that cannot be included in your poster due to space limitations, feel free to put it in a booklet to share with engaged visitors.
(This is optional!)
For the first time, participants will use the SURF website to register for the CNMS Summer Undergraduate Research Fest at UMBC and to submit their abstracts by the submission deadline of midnight, Wednesday, July 25, 2007.
Research Mentors, UMBC faculty, guests and other guests are asked to use the website to register their planned attendance as soon as possible and by August 1, 2007, so that an approximate number of attendees can be given to UMBC’s caterer.
Tenth Annual UMBC Summer Undergraduate Research Fest
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery
Details and poster assignments will be posted on the SURF website closer to the event. Please visit:
All participants must prepare their abstracts using Microsoft Word (using the extension ‘.doc’)
The abstract should fit on one 8.5” x 11” page and use 12-point text and one inch margins on all four sides.
There is a 300-word maximum for the body of the abstract not including the acknowledgement. Abstracts can be less than 300 words but abstracts longer than 300 words will be returned to the student for rewriting.
All abstracts must be reviewed and approved by each student’s research mentor or by an individual authorized by the mentor to review and approve the abstract. The mentors must confirm to the SURF Review Staff that they have reviewed and approved the abstract with the understanding that the abstract will appear in an event program book and may be posted on-line. This can be done on-line at:http://www.umbc.edu/SummerResearchFest/registration07/facultyresponse.php
DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACT SUBMISSION
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Students should submit their abstracts to their research mentors so there is sufficient time to edit the abstract. Talk about this now so that you know what deadline to use for your mentor’s review of your work to ensure you meet the July 25th SURF abstract submission deadline for 2007.
Use the Student Presenter’s First Initial and Last Name Plus the word “Abstract” as the file name for the student abstract.
Remember, it is essential for you to ask and receive permission in advance from your mentor for any and all additional presentations of your summer research. This is critical!
Special thanks to Zoe Warwick, Ph.D. and Stephen Miller, Ph.D. for the assistance provided to this presentation. Presentation created by Kathy Lee Sutphin - updated July 12, 2007 ©