Poster Presentation Guidelines
November 26, 2007
A poster a presentation is method of displaying your results that has some things in common with both written and
spoken presentations. Like a written paper, a poster should be understandable to a reader even if you are not there.
Like a scientific talk, much of your emphasis should be on delivering your results visually, and you should avoid using
too many words.
The remainder of this document contains recommendations for making a successful poster. Many sets of
instructions for creating a good poster [Block, 1996; Day, 1998; JSR, 2007], are available (both on and offline) if
you would like more detailed instructions. The key thing to do while you are creating your poster is to try to put
yourself in the place of someone looking at it, and to make the point of your poster as clear as possible for the
2 General Guidelines
- Like a formal lab write-up, a poster should include an overview of the entire experiment, but it should
emphasize your results and conclusions. The poster should start with a brief abstract which summarizes
in a few sentences what you did with your experiment. The purpose and methods of your experiment
should be explained, but only use as much detail as you need to setup your results and conclusions.
- Remember that a poster is largely a visual medium, so you should focus on including graphs, figures,
and pictures that tell the story of your experiment. All figures, graphs, and pictures should be numbered
sequentially and should have captions. Captions should have enough detail to make it possible to
understand the figure without the need for any additional information, since people will look at your
poster when you are not around to answer questions. If you did not create the figure yourself, the source
should be noted in the caption.
- While text is necessary to explain your work, you should avoid long paragraphs. Write short, active
sentences and use bulleted lists where appropriate.
- Posters for more formal settings are often using electronically (using programs like LaTeX, Illustrator,
or Powerpoint) and printed to large poster printers, but you can use more primitive methods here.
Create your text and figures how ever you like, and tape or paste them to your poster board.
- Be careful when designing the look of your poster. Posters should be visually appealing and legible.
Make judicious use of color and be careful about font size. The title of your poster should be legible at
least 10 m away, the section headings 5 m away, and the rest of the text at least 2 m away.
- Structure your poster so that the ordinary flow that the audience should follow when reading your
poster is clear. Typically posters are broken into columns, but other layouts are fine too.
- Come up with your own title for your poster. You will probably want to include it centered across the
top of your poster.
- Remember to include units and uncertainties with your results and data.
3 Specific Requirements
- Your poster should be mounted on hard poster board or cardboard with a size between 40 x 32 and
48 x 36. Note that we will likely be hanging the posters on the wall, so if your poster ends up being
unusually heavy, you may want to install hooks on it.
- Include the title of your poster, your name, your partners’ names, and the date.
- Include a list of references. The list should have full bibliographic information and web URLs where
4 Poster Session Guidelines
For our poster session, we will be hanging the posters on the walls of Peter Engel Science Center.
The poster session will be divided into two parts, with one member of each lab group in each part for
most groups. While the first group is presenting their posters, the members of the second group along
with Physics department faculty members (and anyone else that wanders by) will circulate past the
first groups posters listening to the presentations and asking questions. While viewing the posters,
audience members will also be evaluating them. After the first group is done, the second group will
Part of your grade on your posters will be based on how your poster presentation is rated by other students and
Physics faculty members. Another part of the grade will be based on my evaluation of how well you
performed in rating other student’s posters. You may not rate every poster equally and you must include
reasons with your evaluations. You will get to see the reviews of your poster after the presentations are
5 Poster Evaluation
Poster presentations will be evaluated equally on Contents and Delivery. The posters should contain the necessary
parts and describe the physics of the experiment, and they should do it clearly while following the
guidelines listed here. The evaluation guidelines that will be included on the review forms are listed
- There should be an appropriate balance of contents among Theory, Experiment, and Analysis.
- The emphasis should be on experimental work carried out in lab, and on analysis of the data.
- Connections should be made to the underlying physics.
- Presentations should be organized in a logical way, with the necessary components; for instance, posters
and papers should include an Abstract and Conclusion.
- Visuals or Graphics should be of appropriate quality.
- Talks should fit within the time limit, allowing time for questions from the audience.
- Professionalism should be maintained in regard to language, attire, attitude, and responses to questions.
Block, S. M., Do’s and Don’ts of Poster Presentation, Biophysical Journal, 71,
Day, R. A., How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, third ed., Orynx Press, Phoenix, Arizona, 1998.
JSR, Poster presentations, http://www.abdn.ac.uk/physics/guide/postadv.html, 2007.