What is a Research Poster?

Posters are widely used in the academic community, and most conferences include poster presentations in their program.  Research posters summarize information or research concisely and attractively to help publicize it and generate discussion.  

The poster is usually a mixture of a brief text mixed with tables, graphs, pictures, and other presentation formats. At a conference, the researcher stands by the poster display while other participants can come and view the presentation and interact with the author.

What Makes a Good Poster?

  • Important information should be readable from about 10 feet away
  • Title is short and draws interest
  • Word count of about 300 to 800 words
  • Text is clear and to the point
  • Use of bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read
  • Effective use of graphics, color and fonts
  • Consistent and clean layout
  • Includes acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation

So, where do you begin? Try answering these three (3) questions:

  1. What is the most important/interesting/astounding finding from my research project?
  2. How can I visually share my research with conference attendees? Should I use charts, graphs, photos, images?
  3. What kind of information can I convey during my talk that will complement my poster?

Where can you make the poster?


A popular, easy-to-use option. It is part of Microsoft Office package and is available on the library computers. You can also use PowerPoint on the Learning Commons computers in Kiely Hall 127/131/144.

Open-Source Alternatives 

Poster Design Guides and Tips 

Designing Conference Posters

Here is a guide provided by Colin Purrington, a former professor. Dr. Purrington breaks down how to design conference posters and a list of do’s and don’ts.

Creating an Effective Scientific Poster (PDF)

Provided by the University of Guelph; OER.

Poster Presentations: Designing Effective Posters

University at Buffalo research guide by Fred Stoss, Biological Sciences Librarian.

Poster Templates