Presentation on theme: "Student Research Conference: Preparing for your poster presentation"— Presentation transcript:
1 Student Research Conference: Preparing for your poster presentation with Maya Weilundemo OttHarvard Graduate School of EducationMarch 23, 2015Sources: The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin, MadisonHess, Tosney, & Liegel (2013). Creating Effective Poster Presentations.
2 What’s so great about presenting a poster? Share your research in a relatively low-pressure environmentPractice telling the story of your researchPractice answering questions about your projectGain insights about next stepsSession goal: Prepare to make the most of this opportunityOne-on-one engagementSee range of audience responses to your ideasEngage with audience’s responses, questions, insights
3 available at many office/copy stores (e.g. Staples) The basicsYour poster should be presented on a tri-fold board so that it can be displayed on a tableTri-fold boards typically hold about 15 pages in landscape orientationYou should practice presenting a brief pitch that tells the story of your projectYou may also prepare a handout to share with viewersAlternatively, bring a sign-up sheet and offer to share your handout electronicallyavailable at many office/copy stores (e.g. Staples)Powerpoint slides make great templates, but avoid busy, distracting backgrounds
4 Be aware of your audience(s) Who is your audience?General interestExpertPrepare your poster and pitch with a general interest audience in mindDescribe the big-picture context for your researchArticulate the significance of the issue or problemProvide a concise, jargon-free summary of your methodsExplain how your findings help address the issue or problemPrepare your handout with an expert audience in mindProvide a more detailed account of your methodsAcknowledge the limitations of your study…and be prepared to talk about these details, if someone asks
5 Craft a focused, coherent story about your project A simple, coherent story will be easier for your audience to understand, respond to, and rememberAsk: What do I most want my audience to learn about my project?Identify a very small number of key take-away messagesWeave those messages into a coherent story about your projectYour poster should only include text and graphics that directly support your storyAsk: Is this really essential to my story? If not, cut itRemember that interested viewers can always ask for details
6 Contents of a research poster Project titleAuthor name(s), affiliation(s), and address(es)Context for your studyWhat does your audience need to know in order to appreciate the significance of your study?What practical or theoretical issues motivated your study?Research questionsMethodsWhat was the source of your data?What should your audience know about your sample?How did you collect and analyze data?
7 Contents of a research poster (continued) ResultsWhat did you find?How do your results map onto your research questions?What is your most persuasive or interesting data?DiscussionHow do you interpret or make sense of your findings?What implications do your findings suggest, in terms of the practical and theoretical issues that motivated your study?What do you see as next steps for research?ReferencesBest to include citations in small font at the bottom of this sheet
8 Create a positive first impression Design your poster to capture the attention of people wandering byText and figures should be completely legible at a distance of 4 feetOverall composition should be visually inviting—not overwhelmingDon’t fight reader gravity—your viewers’ habits for scanning textFor readers of English, reader gravity pulls viewers’ eyes from top to bottom and from left to rightPosition the most important content where viewers are most likely to lookViewers should be able to skim the poster from several feet away and easily make out the most significant pointswant viewers to notice and take interest in your poster so that they will pause to learn more about your project. present your research in a way that is easy for those viewers to make easy sense of itAn effective poster is a visual communications toolCreate a display that enhances conversationSource: Hess, Tosney, & Liegel (2013). Creating Effective Poster Presentations.
9 Design text elements for ease of digestion Be ruthless about reducing textAsk: Is this really essential to my story?Limit blocks of text to 50 wordsCreate substantive headings that tell the story of your studyFor example, replace “Results” with a key findingReduce sentence complexity. Replace sentences with phrasesAvoid jargonCommit to using just one fontUse at least 20-point fontUse dark text—preferably black—on a light backgroundLeft-justify blocks of textDouble-space text elementsDense blocks of text may be difficult to absorbAt worst, a viewer may become overwhelmed and just move oncomplex sentences are difficult for viewers to absorb.A hurried reader should be able to get the main points from the headings alone.
10 Use graphic elements to emphasize key take-aways Use graphics to direct viewers’ attentionUse charts, graphs, or other figures to communicate your most important or interesting findingsUse color only to highlight key informationDesign clean figures that are easy to interpret. Get rid of chartjunk!
11 Prepare to engage with your audience Practice telling the story of your project through a brief pitch…lasting 3 minutes…lasting only 30 seconds…using your poster as a visual aid…to friends or colleaguesAt the conference, when people approach your poster:Wait a few moments, giving them time to scan your posterThen thank them for stopping and offer a “guided tour” of your projectMore productive than just asking, “Do you have any questions?”Tell the story of your project, using your poster as a visual aidWhat I wish I’d knownPlan for a conversation, not a presentationWhat sort of feedback would you like from your audience?“One thing I’m still puzzled by…” or “The results made me wonder…”
12 Questions?Sources: The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin, MadisonHess, Tosney, & Liegel (2013). Creating Effective Poster Presentations.
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