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Characteristics of a Good Scientific Poster MBRS-RISE Summer 2009. Dr. Gail P. Taylor Asst. PD MBRS-RISE University of Texas at San Antonio Rev 6/09. Acknowledgements. ABRCMS poster Guidelines. http://www.abrcms.org/posterguidelines.asp

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Characteristics of a Good Scientific Poster MBRS-RISE Summer 2009


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    1. Characteristics of a Good Scientific PosterMBRS-RISE Summer 2009 Dr. Gail P. Taylor Asst. PD MBRS-RISE University of Texas at San Antonio Rev 6/09

    2. Acknowledgements • ABRCMS poster Guidelines. http://www.abrcms.org/posterguidelines.asp • Colin Purrington: Advice for designing scientific posters. http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/posteradvice.htm • Knowledge Management in Health Services; HSERV 590A: Creating a Poster Using MS PowerPoint – University of Washington http://courses.washington.edu/~hs590a/weblinks/poster.html • Creating Effective Poster Presentations – Hess and Liegel. http://www4.ncsu.edu/~grhess/posters/ • University of Buffalo- Designing effective poster presentations http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/sel/bio/posters.html • University of Kansas- Jeff Radel http://www.kumc.edu/SAH/OTEd/jradel/Poster_Presentations/PstrStart.html

    3. What is a Scientific Poster? • “Stand alone” summary of research • Allows for “Visually augmented” discussion • ~5 minutes • Few viewers at a time • Interactive

    4. Where are Posters Used? • General – Poster days, Symposia • Tack up poster • Stand by poster (1-3 h) • Viewers browse and interact • Conferences • Abstract submitted • Limited orals (15 min ea) • Increased opportunity for presentation • Time/location included in program • Hallways • Often posted outside labs after presentation

    5. Poster Benefits • Research presentation • Idea sharing • Practice public speaking • Opportunity for teaching and learning • Deepens understanding of topic • Represents you and you mentor • Demonstrate expertise • Demonstrate attention to detail • Builds CV • Create collaborations

    6. Who is Your Audience? • People in your field • Will read even if bad • People in related fields • Easily persuaded to view • Previously uninterested passers by • Can be attracted by a good poster

    7. Designing Your Poster

    8. Approaching Poster Design • Consult rules of conference • Create a storyboard • Visually appealing • Primarily image driven • Simply and tightly written

    9. Consult Rules of Conference • Size Max (board size) vs Size Requirement • Abstract number • Abstract in or out • Contact Information • Section headings • Font size • Possible “sentence case” in titles • http://www.abrcms.org/page05d.html

    10. Create a Storyboard • Rough paper or mental sketch of your poster • Select/design figures/tables • Results and possibly Intro or Methods • Estimate space that will be needed • Select number of columns • Average 4 (range 3-5) • 36”x54” good for 4 column • 36”x48” good for 3 column • >42” tall is quite big • Choose headings desired • Abstract, Introduction, Results, etc • Use bulleted or numbered lists

    11. Should be Visually Appealing • Understand reader “gravity” • Have an obvious flow • Headings • Numbers • Use white space to organize • Neutral backgrounds

    12. Visually Appealing II • Carry information with colorful images and figures • Balance your text and images • Use very large font for title (1-2” high) • Use at least 20 pt text for body text • Read 4-8 feet away • Figure lettering must also be large enough! • Can make abstract, references, acknowledgements smaller • Don’t vary “Intro and Results” font size or type • Don’t use “all caps” • Format text to prevent sub- or superscripts from altering spacing

    13. Primarily Image Driven • Must be “stand alone” • Visitor will NOT read poster if you are there • You will “walk” visitor through poster • Poster provides visual aids as you talk • Can create Methods flow chart • Results as figures (tables if necessary) • You point at and describe your results

    14. Poster Content

    15. Simply and Tightly Written • Minimize writing and maximize visuals • But…must stand alone • Avoid long sentences and paragraphs • Can use figure legends/captions as text • Assess every sentence and word • Put related text and images near one another • *** Your Mentor is Always Right ***

    16. Title • Length and text style determined by conference • Optimally, identical to “paper” title: • Very brief summary of research • Omits “A study of,” “Investigations of,” etc • Put species studied • Put limiting information • Avoid “cute” or abbreviations • May or may not give results • Topic – Effects of phenobarbital on learning in the…. • Conclusive – Phenobarbatal diminishes learning in the… • Helps people to choose which posters to view • Ex: Effect of Owner Education Level on Number of Cats per Household • Ex: FGF-2 Induces Regeneration of the Chick Limb Bud

    17. Names and Affiliations • Names • Department, University, Centers, etc • Address of Univ. (option) • Email Address (may be required) • Phone number (may be required) • Logos for Universities, Depts, Centers

    18. Abstract • May not be required • Placed in upper left of poster body • Preferably turned in for abstract book • Provide redundant information on poster • Approx. 300 words, 2500 characters • Use conf. requirements • Concise as possible • Content: Mini paper • Intro with Purpose (2-3 sentences if possible) • Hypothesis (req for student conferences; one sent) • Methods (2-3 sent) - general • Results (2-3 sent) • Important data • Significance, mean values, n, SD • Discussion/Conclusions (2-3 sent) • Acknowledgement (Funding source; 1 sent)

    19. Creating the Abstract • Short but time-consuming • Very information-dense, but simply formatted • Write “long” and pare down if needed • Analyze one sentence at a time • Each sentence has purpose • Each sentence logically follows another • Use plain English wherever you can • Use active voice when you can • State only your most important conclusion(s) • There is not good writing, only good rewriting

    20. Introduction • Needed even if Abstract is present • Or Background • Get viewers interested! • Reason you chose to study • Foundation for your work • General topics to specific • Make as brief as possible • Equiv. to 1 double spaced 12 pt page • Usually contain citations/references (cite!) • Include hypothesis • Generally completes first column

    21. Purpose (optional) • Or…Objective, Aim, Goal • Why are you doing? • May include a hypothesis here or in Introduction

    22. Materials/Methods • Text with subheadings • Can include a flow chart to summarize • May include citations • Make sure to include: • subjects • experimental design • drugs and equipment used • statistical methods

    23. Results • Largest section • Often two middle columns • Experiments- what you found • Don’t present raw data • Make Image-based; use few words • Maximize use of Figures • Make them simple • Must be easily seen • Make all lines wide enough • All text large enough! • Consistent across poster

    24. Results Cont: • Minimize use of tables • Difficult to grasp quickly • Can use figure legends/captions as text • 1-2 paragraphs for each image

    25. Conclusions • Or discussion or summary • Summarize “take home” findings • How did hypothesis work out? • Tie back to real world problem • Why Important • Very few words • Bullets good • Bigger font if needed

    26. References • If cited, must include reference • Generally “short” (title optional) • Can make smaller if needed

    27. Acknowledgements • Should be included • Thank people • Mentor • Labmates • Technical assistance, etc. • Reveal possible conflicts of interest • Identify funding utilized while doing – McNair Scholars, RISE, etc. • Can be smaller than rest of text

    28. Creating the Poster

    29. Software • Actual layout: • Powerpoint (one big slide) • Pagemaker • Canvas • Illustrator • Quark • Ask print shop about requirements • Print directly or convert to pdf • Images (compatible with printer driver!) • Photoshop • MS Photo editor • Tables/Graphs • Directly from Office (Excel or Word)

    30. PowerPoint • Has 56” maximum dimension • Create at full size (or nearly so) to prevent pixelation • Set page size to desired size

    31. Poster Templates… • Sample posters can be seen online • google search • A “template” can be found at: • http://www.utsa.edu/mbrs/resources.htm

    32. Use standard formats .jpg, .gif, .tiff, .tif, .bmp Watch resolution of photos 72 dpi vs 300 72 dpi will look pixelated on a poster 230 dpi prints like a photo Insert high dpi photos Make them relatively large Stretch to correct size Pictures

    33. Capturing Images off of the Web • Problems- resolution (72 dots per inch) • Okay for slides • Problem on print/poster • Find high DPI (230+ DPI or huge) images • In browser • Rt click on image • Save image/picture as: • Note image name • Note location where saved • Insert as described before

    34. Capturing Screen Shots • Get what you want on screen • Make it as large as possible • Press the PrtScn button (top right keyboard) • Open Start/Programs/Accessories/Paint • Select Edit/Paste (yes to enlarge bitmap – the whole screen appears) • Use the selection cursor (shown right) to choose the desired area • Edit/copy • Click where you want image pasted, and paste.

    35. Good Ways to Insert… • Use Insert (shown) • Picture (or whatever)

    36. Enlarging Images/Tables/Figures • To enlarge proportionally: • Click on image • Put cursor on corner  • Left click and slide diagonally

    37. Additional Info • Insert individual text boxes • Text • Labeling • Right click on objects for sizing and formatting • Turn green dots for rotation • Drawing tools can order objects • Drawing tools can align objects • Great for sizing and location on poster!

    38. Presenting the Poster

    39. Plan – Flow I • Opening sentences • Name, school, degree seeking, laboratory mentor • What circumstances for research? • Flow to introduction • Don’t refer to text, do refer to images • Why important? • Hypothesis

    40. Plan – Flow II • Move to Methods • Briefly summarize • Point at figures • Move to Results • Longest section • Indicate at beginning if did not work • Walk thru all figures • Transition to Conclusions • Say Conclusions • Acknowledgements (optional) • Any Questions?

    41. Plan – Transitions • MAKE SURE TO PRACTICE! • Develop 5-10 minute presentation • Know first sentence • What to say for each figure • Transitions between figures • What to point at for each figure

    42. Practice • Finish early enough to practice • Practice with labmates and laymen • Stand to one side and point • Run through ENTIRE poster • Memorize key points! • Pause long enough for them look at figure • Know where you are going with each figure! • Know what questions may be asked…. • Can practice them

    43. Transporting Poster • Buy tube for rolling • Do not be separated from it • Plane • Hotel • Carry it yourself • Have it also in electronic format • Do not leave it at home or in car trunk

    44. Supplemental Materials • Mini-poster printed out • Poster repair kit • Pins • Business cards • Water • Notebook

    45. Now…on to the real presentation! • Dress for situation • Conference – suit…or minimally khaki's • Comfortable shoes • Be there on time! • Have Business Cards • Have mini-posters • Have friend there to help • Water bottle • Don’t leave unless it is very important to do so (if so, leave a friend there momentarily)

    46. First Contact • Stand to side of poster • Take initiative • Smile, but stay near poster • If they come closer (~3-4 feet) • Say, “Hello” and shake hands • Give name • Ask them, “Would you like me to walk you through my poster,” or similar • Give title • Mention mentor’s lab and context of research. • (Optional) Ask if they are familiar with this field of research • No- More introduction, careful with acronyms • Yes- Can go more quickly through intro Then…Move into Introduction…

    47. Walking them through it • Proceed as planned, above • Be friendly • Don’t sound like you’ve memorized • Be excited about your work • Remember to refer to your poster! • They may interrupt with questions • Give extra information only if they ask

    48. Extras • Networking – write down ideas and names! • Don’t be discouraged if only a few come!

    49. Coming Home Again • Keep promises that you’ve made • Drop emails to folks whom you’ve met • Hang poster outside of lab