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Creating Effective Scholarly Posters: Home

Step-By-Step guide to creating scholarly posters

Step-By-Step Guide

This tutorial provides you with a step-by-step guide to effectively creating and presenting scholarly posters of various types USING POWERPOINT.  Not all tips and techniques apply to all poster types, but the end goal is always to create an attractive and well-planned poster.

Poster Organization

NOTE:  Does not apply to all types of posters

  • Title-  Keep title as short as possible (1-2 lines) and use a large bold font (70-100 point).  Should be in the largest font on the page.  Doesn't have to be at top, but must be prominent. 
  • Name and Affiliation- bold and smaller font than title.  Include all students and mentors (placed last) involved in the project with the presenter marked with an asterisk*.  Indicate department affiliation.  Use MSU logo or other logos as appropriate.  
  • Abstract- Consider not using an abstract since it is published in the program.
  • Introduction- Provide a brief (200 words) description and justification of your project and state a clear hypothesis (if appropriate ) to draw viewer interst.
  • Materials and Methods- Give a brief description (200 words) of the experimental design, major equipment used, etc.
  • Results- Describe in 200 words or less both your qualitative and quantitative results, use supporting tables, figures, or images. 
  • Conclusions- Important.  State concisely (200 words) if the project supported your hypothesis or objectives.  Discuss the relevance of your findings.  Further research?
  • Literature Cited- (optional)  Be selective, 4-5 citations.
  • Acknowledgments- Thank specific individuals (not mentors) who assisted your research or the agency that helped support the project.

Tips & Hints

1.  Most importantly, give yourself enough time to make multiple drafts before you develop the final product.  Develop a rough draft and have your mentor and a least one other trusted person look over your poster and make suggestions.  Ask them to appraise and honestly comment on all aspects of your design, construction, look and feel, etc.  Above all, work closely with your MSU mentor(s).

 2.  Organize, reorganize, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

 3.  Make your poster readable from 6 feet away, and keep your word count as low as possible.  The most common mistake is putting in too much stuff and making the poster too busy or wordy.  A total of 800-900 words or possibly less is what you are looking for.

 4.  For your title, use a large (70-100 size), bold font.  The text should be in a serif font such as New Times Roman.

 5.  Organize your poster so that it does not appear to “busy," has sufficient white space, and is easy for visitors to follow.  Make sure the most important aspects are easily visible.

 6.  Minimize the use of acronyms, since they are difficult for the visitors to remember.

 7.  Be cautious with use of web graphics since they often are not high quality resolution.

Subject Guide

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Rodney Watkins
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