Poster Session Tips Introduction: A poster session provides an opportunity to present research in a visual and interactive way and discuss findings with conference participants in an individual, informal manner. Many new presenters mistakenly assume that a poster presentation is of lower quality on comparison to giving a speech at a conference. While there may be a perceived increase in "vitae" power, posters actually have many advantages over traditional oral presentations including: o More people can and will see your work o Longer presentation time than a 15-20 minute speech o Greatly enhanced chance for personal one-on-one interaction o Cross discipline interaction (almost everyone looks at posters) o Lower stress in the creation & delivery process o Increased likelihood of acceptance at the conference Sounds like a pretty good opportunity doesn't it? And keep in mind that submitting a proposal for an oral presentation does not restrict you from submitting a poster proposal as well! If you are going to spend a lot of money to travel across the country for a conference then it is probably in your best interest to maximize the potential benefits and hedge your bets, so to speak. There are times in which an oral presentation is returned to a presenter to ask if they would consider giving it as a poster presentation instead. The researcher should not be disappointed by this because the scheduling commitments of the organization, number of volunteers, limited rooms, number and quality of proposals, submission dates, etc., all impact how many oral presentations can be given. Getting Started on your Poster Proposal: A proposal for a poster presentation typically follows the same format as other proposals. Space is limited (600 - 800 words*) so try to stick to the point. The proposal should include the following: 1. Title - Something that describes your presentation and has a little bit of a catchy edge. 2. Introduction (100 words*)- Summarize the purpose of your proposal. Describe things such as how your poster will benefit the target audience that would attend your presentation. Keep it under 100 words. 3. Purpose (300-500 words*)- The main section of your proposal might vary significantly due to the nature of your research. For example, a research study that has been completed will include a results section whereas a researcher who is submitting a proposed research study will not have had the chance to collect any data yet. Keep it between 300 and 800 words. a. Completed research will typically include the following items: a) research questions; b) a short review of literature to position the study; c) an overview of the research methods; d) a summary of the results; and e) an explanation as to why the results are important. b. Proposed research will typically include the following sections: a) research questions; b) a short review of literature to position the study; c) proposed research methods; d) possible results; and e) an explanation as to why the study may be beneficial. c. Theoretical or methodology research will typically include the following sections: a) justification of need for new theory/method; b) literature review; c) description of proposed new or altered theory/method; and d) instructional or research applications. d. Position papers will often be similar to the theoretical research papers but typically include the following sections: a) explanation of new position; b) literature review; c) description of how the position is different from the past or beneficial to the future; and d) instructional or research applications. 4. Reference Section - Follow APA Publication Manual 6th edition guidelines. Since proposals typically have a word limit when submitted electronically, 5-10 references is about all you'll be able to fit in. Creating the Poster: Posters vary in content depending upon the nature of the study and how far it has progressed. The following is a list of common items: o Title o Abstract o Introduction o Research Methods o Review of Literature o Results o Discussion sections o Figure(s) and/or table(s) o Reference Section o Other contextually relevant information such as images, quotations, references, etc. as appropriate. There is little benefit in creating a new guide on how to create posters for conferences when others have already done an amazing job at this. Here's a few examples o Collin Purrington's Guide to Poster Design: http://colinpurrington.com/tips/academic/posterdesign - This is a great guide for the creation of posters. It also provides templates so that you don't have to start from scratch (requires powerpoint or google docs). o Google Images - Do a search on google images for "conference posters" and you'll see a seemingly never ending number of pictures of good and bad posters. What to Expect on Presentation Day: The poster session will run for 30 minutes, during which the author(s) will discuss her or his project and interact with participants who move around visiting different poster exhibits. Please bring at least 30 copies of a handout (a synthesis of the poster presentation) for the visitors. *Submission requirements occasionally change so follow the guidelines on the actual submission requirements document or web page.