Creating and Presenting a Research Poster

A research poster is an opportunity to get your research out into the real world. Presenting  a poster will give you practice talking about your research with a general audience, and hopefully get you some preliminary feedback on your work from the greater research community.

General layout of a research poster

These slides from our poster overview workshop get into much better detail than I do here.  (courtesy of Oceana Hopkins)


Sections in a typical research Poster


What is the general problem and why is it important? (Big picture)*

What is the specific purpose/research goals of your study?

What is your research question and how do you go about answering it? Do you have hypotheses as to what you’ll find? If so, clearly state them.

If relevant (and if you have space), you may want to identify places where previous research has fallen short in answering your question.

* Do not make unsubstantiated claims. Provide references for relevant research that has come before your study. Posters typically cite anywhere from 5-15 references.


How are you testing your hypotheses or exploring your research question?

Diagrams/visuals may be especially effective in this section to convey experiment design etc.


This is another section that can be largely graphical (less text= more readily interpretable).

Report your major findings using appropriate statistics and visual representations whenever possible. Did you find evidence for your hypotheses? be sure to tell us explicitly!


Recap major findings and emphasize implications for the field. Offer accounts for unexpected findings. Based on the general lay of the land you described in your intro, why are your findings important to the field? Acknowledge any limitations of your research, and propose followup studies, or interesting next steps that would further elucidate the phenomena of interest.

Here is a Poster Template you can use to start out your poster design. Please use it for inspiration and as a low-level scaffolding for your poster design, not for cutting and pasting your work into (obviously, right?).


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