Remember, there are three components to your poster session:
All three components should complement one another, not repeat each other. Try to outline all three before designing your poster.
You: You should prepare a 3-4 minute lightning talk about your research. This could be a unique experience or insight you had about your research that adds depth of understanding to what the attendee can read on your poster or it could be a quick overview of our research. Carefully consider the audience for your poster session. Unless you are presenting at a discipline specific conference, your talk should be in layman's language - don't assume your audience will understand the jargon in your discipline. You should also prepare to answer questions about your research. Practice your talk with several people from inside and outside your discipline, if possible.
Poster: How do you choose the content that will go on your poster? Keep in mind - your poster in not a research paper. A guideline is, whatever content you want to include on your poster, cut it in half. Use bullet points whenever possible and stay away from long, narrative paragraphs. Your poster should be an outline of your research with interesting commentary about what you learned along the way. It should also balance visuals and text. Your poster is essentially a prop for your presentation. See the Examples tab for some example posters.
Handout: Best practices for handouts - 1) Your handout should be double-sided. 2) The first side of the paper can include a replica of your poster (this can be in black and white or color). 3) The second side of the handout can include extraneous information such as your literature review, cited references, further information about your topic, and your contact information. Your handout can be a single sheet or 1/2 sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 inches.
Three questions to ask yourself when designing a poster
Best reason to give a poster presentation - Your poster presentation presents an opportunity to talk about your research and learn to see your research through the lens of other experts and non-experts. By interacting with others, you may think of new answers to your research. You may also surprise yourself by asking new questions!
If you are presenting at the Illinois Undergraduate Research Symposium:
The day of the conference (if online!): COMING SOON
Before the conference (if in-person!):
The day of the conference:
If you are presenting at a professional conference:
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A poster session or poster presentation is the presentation of research information by an individual or representatives of research teams at a congress or conference with an academic or professional focus. The work is usually peer reviewed. Poster sessions are particularly prominent at scientific conferences such as medical congresses.
Typically a separate room or area of a tradeshow floor is reserved for the poster session where researchers accompany a paper poster, illustrating their research methods and outcomes. Each research project is usually presented on a conference schedule for a period ranging from 10 minutes to several hours. Very large events may feature a few thousand poster presentations over a matter of a few days.
Presentations usually consist of affixing the research poster to a portable wall with the researcher in attendance answering questions posed by passing colleagues. The poster itself varies in size according to conference guidelines from 2x3 feet to 4x8 feet in dimensions.
See the Wikipedia entry on Poster Sessions.