Creating a Research Poster in the Humanities and the Social Sciences
Knowing how to present academic research is an important skill for undergraduates that may be applied to future academic and career experiences. The research poster session has been a staple of presenting research in the STEM fields yet is still little known in the humanities and some social science disciplines. The Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research hosted workshops for undergraduate students in the humanities and social sciences on creating a research poster. This workshop should be helpful to students planning to participate in Undergraduate Research Day, which will be held on campus on April 29, 2015. Slides from the workshop are available below, and students should feel free to set up an individual appointment to learn more about research posters by contacting us at email@example.com.
Designing a Humanities/Social Sciences Research Poster (PDF of slides)
Resources for Creating a Research Poster
adapted from the University of Nevada Libraries Poster Resources and Design Tips
A Good Poster Will
- Summarize your work
- Convey a message visually
- Be readable from about 4 feet away
- Be clearly organized
Poster Design Tips
- Use large text (your text should be at least 18-24 pt.)
- Do not use more than 2-3 font styles total
- Use fonts that are easy to read
- Avoid too much text (no more than 800 words max)
- Organize your content with columns, sections, headings, and blocks of text
- Choose a title that illustrates what your poster is about. Your title should be at least twice the size of your regular text.
- Choose colors carefully and pay attention to contrast. If in doubt, dark print on light background is best.
- Selectively incorporate charts, graphs, photographs, and other graphics that support the theme of your poster
- Avoid fuzzy images; make sure all graphics are high-resolution and easily visible
- Include your name on your poster and the UMD logo
- Edit your poster carefully before the final print-out
- Free PowerPoint Poster Templates and More Free Templates
- LaTeX Templates (LaTeX, pronounced "Lay-tech," is a document-preparation software commonly used in STEM disciplines)
- PhD Posters
- Poster Design Templates, The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication, Rice University
- Poster Genius, Sci-Gen Technologies (Can download free trial of software)
- Colin Purrington has some simple poster templates on his blog in both PowerPoint and Open Office Draw formats
- Scientific Posters, Michael Alley, School of Engineering, Pennsylvania State University
- Check your academic department's website or undergraduate studies office or advisor—they may have some templates with the department/university logo available for students to use
Examples of Posters
- "Organizing Knowledge: The Periodic Table in Popular Culture," Ann E. Robinson, History Department, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- 2013 Humanities Undergraduate Research Award Presentations, Institute for Humanities Research, University of California at Santa Cruz (Has online slideshow of research posters in the humanities. Not all posters follow good design principles, however).
- University of Texas Poster Samples for the sciences, social sciences, and humanities
- Flickr Poster Sessions Group
- PhD Poster Gallery
Poster Preparation Resources and Articles
- Advice on Designing Scientific Posters, Colin Purrington blog, Swarthmore College
- Academic Posters from Edinburgh Napier University
- The Basics of Poster Design from the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium
- Creating Anthropology Conference Posters: A Guide for Beginners by Jason E. Miller, MA and John K. Trainor, MS (University of South Florida), American Antropological Association
- Creating Effective Posters from North Carolina State University
- Creating Large Format Posters Using PowerPoint, Computer Applications Training, Colorado State University
- Designing Conference Posters, Colin Purrington blog
- Poster Presentations - Designing Effective Posters, Fred Stoss, University of Buffalo Libraries
- “Effective Poster Design,” Alex Galvez, Teaching Support Services, University of Guelph.
- Erren TC, Bourne PE (2007) Ten Simple Rules for a Good Poster Presentation. PLoS Comput Biol 3(5): e102. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.0030102
- Guidelines for Poster Presentations, Whitman College (useful section on image resolution)
- How to Make an Effective Poster by David Shelledy
- Poster and Presentation Resources, The Graduate School, University of North Carolina
- Poster Design Guide, The Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication, Rice University
- Poster Presentations, The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Poster Resources and Design Tips, University of Nevada, Reno
- Poster Sessions, The Writing Studio, Colorado State University
- Preparing a Poster Presentation from Northeastern University via the WebGuru
- Research Posters and Presentations, Academic Support Services, Amherst College
- Scientific Poster Design, Cornell Center for Materials Research
Poster Preparation Online Tutorials, Workshop Slieds, and Web Conferences
- Designing a Poster, online tutorial, University of Leicester (UK) (20-minute free online tutorial which takes you step-by-step through the process of poster design)
- InDesign CS5.5: Creating Poster Sessions, Mississippi State University Library (Step-by-step webcast on creating a poster in Adobe InDesign. InDesign is a popular design software)
- Poster Design: The Basics, Undergraduate Research Program, University of Washington, PowerPoint Slides from 2014 Poster Design workshop.
- So Your Poster Got Accepted-Now What?, Screencast presentation by Tracy Volz (Rice University), April 11, 2012, National Library of Medicine Training Center/National Network of Libraries of Medicine, handouts on Poster Checklist and Presenting your Poster available.
Check your Poster
- After you have created your poster, review it using the checklist created by the Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium.
- Poster Checklist, Tracy Volz, from "So Your Poster Got Accepted-Now What?," NLMTC/NNLM website