Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium


Call for Papers and Posters

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Guidelines for Abstracts


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Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium

Brief Tips for Effective Poster Presentations


Good planning will make your poster easy to read and will facilitate a clear and effective presentation.

Posters should be readable by viewers from 3-5 ft. away. The message should be clear and understandable without oral explanation. The following guidelines are presented to help improve the effectiveness of your poster presentations.

  1. Initial Plan or Sketch Plan: Begin your poster preparation early by sketching the general layout and identifying the figures, tables and text that will be used. Focus your presentation on a few key points. Consider various styles of data presentation to achieve clarity and simplicity. Does the use of color help? What needs to be explained in text? Identify headlines and headings that will help to attract attention. Plan ahead to prepare color photographs to help attract attention.
  1. Rough Layout Enlarge your best initial sketch, keeping the dimensions in proper proportion to the final poster size. The backing board one the easel is 4 X 4 ft, but the most printers on campus limit one dimension to 42". The other dimension (whether landscape or portrait layout) can be up to 48". Ideally, the rough layout should be full size. Print the title board including names of authors and their affiliation as well as section headings. Indicate text by horizontal lines. Draw rough graphs and tables. This will give you a good idea of proportions and balance. Ask associates for comments. This is still an experimental stage.
  1. Final Layout The artwork is complete. The text and tables are typed but not necessarily enlarged to full size. Now determine whether or not the message is clear? Do the important points stand out? Is there a balance between the text and the illustrations? Is there spatial balance? Is the pathway through the poster clear? The following points should be considered:
    • Simplicity - The temptation to overload the poster should be resisted. More material may mean less communication and may discourage viewers.
    • Balance - The figures and tables should cover slightly more than 50% of the poster area. If you have only a few illustrations, make them large. Typically there will be sections of text covering items such as objectives, materials and methods, and conclusions, but try to keep these sections brief and succinct. The poster should be understandable without oral explanation.
    • Typography - Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and jargon. Use a consistent type style. Use large, simple type. Many software packages and laser printers offer great flexibility in preparing text in different fonts and sizes.
    • Eye Movement - The movement (pathway) of the eye over the poster should be natural — down the columns or along the rows. The reader should not have to search to figure out the proper order or flow of your poster. Size attracts attention. Arrows, pointing hands, numbers, or letters can help clarify the sequence.