Posters. Poster sessions

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1 Posters Posters are an important method of communicating research. A poster is basically an article translated into graphic form by shortening the text sections and presenting key findings as bullet points. Some posters also incorporate graphical elements to help illustrate key points of the research. Many posters follow this model, which is designed to succinctly convey the results of a research project. Creating an effective poster can be challenging because you may have to squeeze results from a year's worth of research onto a 3- by- 4- foot sheet of paper. Your goal should be to create a good poster because it represents you and your research to your peers. This is particularly important if you are a new researcher, because employers often recruit at poster sessions. Also, prizes are frequently awarded for the best posters at medical conferences another incentive to have an outstanding poster. This article discusses the general characteristics of effective posters and presents guidelines and simple techniques for using Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 to create posters. In most cases, a poster is a single PowerPoint slide that contains numerous headings, text boxes, and graphic objects. Poster sessions A good poster effectively communicates its content in the context in which it will be viewed, which is usually a poster session at a scientific meeting or medical conference. Most meetings and conferences feature far more posters than they do oral presentations, because poster sessions provide an efficient way for numerous people to present their data. In addition, a conference or meeting is often the first place that researchers present their research. Poster sessions provide a good venue for presenting your ideas and soliciting feedback before publishing your research in a journal article. It's important to consider the poster session when planning your poster. At a typical poster session, you will be allotted a fixed amount of space, typically 4 feet by 5 feet on a bulletin

2 board, to display your poster. You will stand by the poster during the session to discuss your research with anyone who is interested. The poster session will probably occur in a large exhibition hall in which hundreds of posters are presented in a single session and multiple sessions are presented each day. During a poster session, conference attendees will be walking around, glancing at the posters, and socializing. Goals for effective posters At a poster session, your poster has two goals. The first goal is to sufficiently attract the casual onlooker's attention so that he or she will stop and take a second look. After your poster has captured a viewer's attention, the second goal is for it to concisely communicate the results of your research. People who want more details and information can refer to a section on the poster that provides author contact information and can follow up with you after the conference. Principles of effective posters You can present information in a poster in a number of ways. The following principles generally apply to good posters: A poster should present an overview of your work. It's not a journal article, so don't try to cram all the details onto the poster. A casual viewer should be able to glean your message in 3 to 5 minutes and read all the text in 10 minutes. A poster is a visual means of communication. Even if your poster consists entirely of text, a clean and uncluttered presentation will attract readers and help them comprehend your research. So much the better if you can include graphical elements (such as figures, charts, and photographs), which can help reinforce your conclusions. If you incorporate pictures, make sure the picture file is high quality. If you use low resolution files, they will look grainy when the poster is printed. A poster should be organized in sections in a way that's similar to how a scientific article or oral presentation is structured. In your poster, lay out the sections in three or four

3 columns. If the conference does not specify the sections that you must include, consider including the standard sections of a journal article: introduction, methods, results, and conclusions. You may also want to include an abstract, acknowledgments, and references. A poster should have a main title that's readable from 25 feet away. People will be wandering through the poster session, so you need to catch their eye from a distance. A general rule is to use a 72- point type and a common font such as Times New Roman or Arial for your poster title and to use a smaller size of the same font for the section titles. A poster should have body text that's readable from 4 to 6 feet away. Your poster may draw a crowd, and viewers will be more interested in your results if they can read about them without straining their eyes. Use 20- point or 24- point type and a common serif font such as Times New Roman for the body text. A poster should have one or two fonts and a simple color scheme. You should attempt to grab people's attention through the clarity of your presentation and impress them with the quality of your research. Don't distract viewers or dilute your message by using too many different colors, fonts, and font sizes. A poster should have serif fonts with proportional spacing. These fonts (such as Times New Roman or Century Schoolbook) are the easiest to read, which makes them a good choice for most text. Some people like to use a contrasting sans serif font (such as Arial) for titles, whereas others prefer to use only serif fonts. Key points to remember about designing effective posters The principles listed in the preceding section may seem like a lot to remember, but designing a good poster really comes down to the following three key points: Make it easy for your readers. Viewers' attention will be in demand, so no matter how interesting your results may be, if they are badly presented, no one will take the time to read them. The purpose of your poster is to present information. Don't get carried away with using a lot of colors and fonts, which might distract from the presentation of your research.

4 Your poster is a visual means of information. If you have graphics that will help communicate your research results, you should include them. Additionally, keep the body text short and present only the key points; save the lengthy explanations for the journal article. Using a PowerPoint template for your poster To create a poster in PowerPoint you can look at this template gb/templates/tc aspx for an example. You can also Google different templates. Once you have selected a template in PowerPoint, you need to go to File - > Page Setup - > Enter 48 for width and 36 for height. This will ensure that your poster prints 3 x4. When using the template, type or paste in the appropriate text. You can also insert graphical elements, such as graphs or charts created in Microsoft Office Excel 2003, photographs, and drawings. Your poster may require different section headings, and you may want some text sections to be larger or smaller. You can create new sections and headings by adding text boxes, resizing the text boxes as necessary, and moving the elements. Printing your poster You will need to get a Printing Voucher from Service Desk in the Commons and bring it back to be filled out by Honors staff. Once I have proofed your poster, I will give you the okay to take the voucher and get your poster printed. You will always select glossy paper for printing and 36 x48! It is up to you to get your poster printed in a timely manner before a presentation or conference. UWF Student Activities Poster Guidelines: We recommend that your document s resolution be set between 180 dpi or pixels/inch. 150 is probably ok. For example, to print a 40 x 30 poster, we recommend that the original image be at least 6000 x 4500 pixels. To calculate how big your image should be, take the number of pixels along each side and divide it by 180 to get the recommended length in inches. Don't attempt to 'up-scale' your graphics and photos. Printing pictures larger than they actually are will make your final product look pixelated or distorted. Choose font sizes that can be read from about 4 feet away. Anything smaller than 20-point is probably too small. Dark backgrounds are discouraged. Besides consuming large amounts of ink, dark backgrounds may oversaturate the paper and cause it to wrinkle or smudge. Always preview your poster on your screen at 100% and have a colleague proofread it before submitting. It is also a good idea to print a small copy on a regular color

5 printer for proofing. Printing a full size draft copy is cost- prohibitive and you will be charged if you need a second copy. Send your files in their native format from any supported software. You should design at no less than 25% of the final image size, with dpi of information at final print size for raster-based images. For example: A 24x36 poster could either be designed on a page size of: (a) 24x36 at 150 dpi, (b) 12x18 at 300 dpi, or (c) 8x12 at 450 dpi UWF Kugelman Honors posters are 36 x48 and needs to include the logo below.

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