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Poster & Project Presentations The Robert Gordon University

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1 Poster & Project Presentations The Robert Gordon University
School of Engineering Dr. Mohamed Amish

2 Posters vs. Papers Papers are designed to appeal to editors of scholarly journals. Posters are designed to appeal to peers and colleagues at conferences A paper presents all the information; a poster presents the most important information. A poster presentation allows for the exchange of ideas and information regarding your research. In many cases, posters and papers are interchangeable, but there are some good reasons for choosing to do a poster. If you think that you will be really nervous at the conference and that there is a significant chance of becoming catatonic at the podium, then presenting a poster might engender less trepidation. Also, if you feel uncomfortable with the official language of the conference (e.g., if most talks will be given in Spanish and your Spanish is limited), a poster can alleviate some of the stress of the language barrier. Many professional conferences are packed with oral papers and actively encourage authors to do posters instead. Thus, even if you are more comfortable giving a talk, you must be prepared for the possibility that you will be asked to do a poster. The best reason for offering a poster, however, has to do with the content of your presentation. Oral paper sessions generally allot just 15 minutes per speaker. Including time for questions - you’ll be lucky to speak for 12 minutes. If your methods or results are especially complicated, it may be a better idea to present them in a poster, where your colleagues will be able to take their time with the information and ask you questions at greater length.

3 Poster The ideal poster is designed to:
provide a brief overview of your research work; initiate discussion; attract attention; give something useful to point to as you discuss your work; stand alone when you are not available to provide an explanation; inform people of your particular expertise.

4 Developing the Content
The most effective poster presentations provide minimal text but still clearly define the central message by following a standard format. Title and Affiliations Introduction Methodology Results Discussion / Conclusion Developing the content of your presentation. The best presentations make just one point, loudly and clearly. You might have tested two or three closely related hypotheses, but they should all revolve around the same single point. If you find that your research sheds light on two different issues, then plan to give two separate presentations. I can’t help you in defining your central message, but I want you to spend some time thinking about it and putting it into words. This will be helpful not only in assembling your poster but also in talking to colleagues at the meetings. Do your best to develop a summary of your work that you can state in 25 words or less, preferably words that real people use. This exercise will demand that you cut through the jargon and fluff to the heart of your research - this is all the information that you will have the space to give in your poster.

5 Planning You have to stand back and think about the What's, the How's and the Why's of the work. Critically examine both the approach taken and the results. Planning is crucial if you do not want to be afflicted by the 'headless chicken' syndrome. There are several stages involved when planning a presentation. You have to stand back and think again about the What's, the How's and the Why's of the work that you have done. You have to examine critically, the approach that you have taken and the results that you have got. Be ruthless in your assessment: better to be a masochist than the victim of a sadist . Ideally, you should have done this throughout your project anyway. In doing so, you will have a clearer idea of the objectives and the contributions that you have, or have not, been able to make. This means that you will know better, the information you have at your disposal for presentation.

6 Planning Gathering the information
What is the objective of the investigation? How was the study conducted (method)? What assumptions were made? Are they justified? What results were obtained? Are the analyses sound? Gathering the information First, ask yourself the following questions. What is the objective of the investigation? Has someone done the work before? How have I gone about with the study? Why did I follow this particular route of investigation? What are the principles governing the technique that I am using? What assumptions did I make and what were my justifications? What problems did I encounter? What results did I obtain? Have I solved the problem? What have I found out? Are the analyses sound? Although the above list is by no means exhaustive, you should get the gist. …… and you have to get all of this in using as little text as possible! The most effective posters provide minimal text. Few of your colleagues will have the patience to read through a lot of text. Also many will be viewing at a distance from your poster, as they jockey for position to get a look at your work. So the rules on text are "less is more" and "bigger is better."

7 Poster Design and Layout
Determine what three or four key points you want to make. You want your poster to cover the key points of your work - not all the details. Design and lay out the poster ahead of time. The flow of the poster should be from top left to bottom right.

8 Poster Design Title, author, supervisors, institutional affiliation.
An "Introduction" to the project (rationale, background, clear statements about what you have set out to do, problem(s) you intend to solve, reasons why you chose to study this problem etc.). These should lead to declarations of the project objectives. "Methodology" or "Experimental" section to explain the basis of the techniques, procedures and data collection to be used including any assumptions made (to put your results into context). A "Results and Discussion" section (summary of the most important results) to explain what you have done so far and what it tells you (your interpretation). Implications of the findings. A "Conclusions & Further Work" section summarising your findings to date and thoughts about how the work will progress from this point. Did the study raise questions?

9 Elements of Your Poster
Title Abstract Introduction Methods Data / Results Conclusions …..having said that a certain amount of text will be necessary, especially in the Introduction and Discussion sections. There are various elements to your poster that are necessary: READ SLIDE Put each "section" (e.g., Intro, Methods, etc.) on a separate piece of paper with its title centred at the top. This will be easy for your readers to follow. Write out what needs to go in each section. Use clear and simple language. Cut out the jargon as much as possible. Whenever possible use "bullet statements" to make your points short and clear. Remember to indicate the order that your poster follows – perhaps using arrows or numbers.

10 Title Title Author(s) Institution
Simple, able to be seen from 3.5 meters away. Author(s) Always use first names. Institution Institution and department. The Title banner This part of the poster includes the title of the work, the authors names, the institutional affiliations, and the poster number. The most important part of the title banner, the title itself, should be readable from about 20 feet away. Your title will lure viewers closer to see your imaginative and exciting study. The rest of the title, and the body of the poster, should be readable from about 10 feet away. Think BIG! Use first names for authors to facilitate interactions. Middle initials and titles are seldom necessary, however. Give institutional affiliations. There are seldom rules regarding line justification of the title – you decide, but - space constraint. Refer to your conference guidelines for details specific to the meeting you will attend. Use a simple, easy to read font - a san serif style e.g., Helvetica or Arial is ideal. Use bold face and caps for the title itself. Boldface and a mixture of upper and lower case for the authors names. Plain text, no boldface and mixed upper/lower case for affiliations.

11 Abstract Identify what is being studied, how it is to be studied, what the variables are. Identify the hypothesis. State the findings. Be brief Optional Follow APA guidelines. Identify what is being studied, how you are studying it, and what your variables are. Identify your hypothesis. State your findings. Cut the jargon and be brief!

12 Introduction Less in-depth than an introduction for a paper.
Highlight and focus on: Questions raised and answered by previous research. The question you are asking and why you are asking it. Objectives Again, be brief What is the central message of your Introduction? This section should start with your general research objectives, then provide a few lines about the context of your work, and end with a clear statement of the hypotheses or predictions that you tested. Highlight and focus on: Questions raised and answered by previous research. The question you are asking and why you are asking it. Cut the jargon and be brief!

13 Methodology Identify: Type of tests used in your experiment
Test procedure What is the central message of your Methods? Unless your material relates directly to methodology (e.g., a new way of collecting urine samples from uncooperative subjects), you should strive to keep your methods section brief. Give the bare essentials about the subjects, study site, and protocol. Don’t be so brief that we can’t figure out what you did, but do give some thought to what is really relevant to this particular talk. If some facet of your project is peripheral, then leave it out. Your audience is not trying to replicate your study at this stage they just need enough to understand what you did. Therefore, Present only the basic design and Identify: The demographics of your subjects. Measurement (repeated Vs. independent). Design (between Vs. within). Psychometric tests used in your experiment.

14 Data / Results What is the central message of the results?
This section may involve little text and more graphics. Graphic / visual elements: Tables, Charts, Pictures, Graphs What is the central message of your Results? What did you find? Did your tests come out the way you expected? This section will probably involve little text and more graphics (much more on that shortly).

15 Discussion / Conclusion
Be concise and clear. Highlight: What was found, and its importance. Parallels and discrepancies with previous research and theory. The direction of future research. What is the central message of your Discussion and Conclusions? This is a big one because it is really your take-home message. Again, in few words, what is the dramatic finding that you want your audience to remember? And why should they care? This is very important, because your colleagues will want to learn not only about what you did but also about why it is significant. Be prepared to address this issue, briefly in your poster and in greater depth when talking with your colleagues. Be concise and clear and Highlight: What you found, and its importance. Parallels and discrepancies with previous research and theory. The direction of future research.

16 Acknowledgments Acknowledge those professionals and research assistants that contributed to your study. Acknowledge your funding body Be brief. Note: this section is not a requirement. Acknowledgements: This is an auxiliary section that often appears in the lower left corner of a poster. "Acknowledgements" is your opportunity to thank research assistants, funding agencies, those who were especially helpful in preparing your presentation, etc..

17 Project Title Introduction Methodology Discussion / results Objectives
Student Name: Company Supervisor: Academic Supervisor: School of Engineering Project Title Introduction Methodology Discussion / results Objectives Table/graph Conclusions & ideas for new research

18 Organisation and Layout
Fonts Use the same font style throughout the poster. The title should be readable from 3.5m away. The body of the writing should be readable 1m away. Fonts: Use the same font style throughout the poster. The title should be readable from 20 feet away. The body of the writing should be readable from 6-10 feet away Layout: Limited space doesn’t mean you can cram things together. Use a consistent spacing rule between each element of your poster. Try to align corners along vertical and horizontal lines.

19 Organisation and Layout
There is ALWAYS too much text in a poster. Look critically at the layout. 40% text, 40% graphics and 20% empty space is considered a good ratio. There ALWAYS is too much text in a poster. 1.Posters primarily are visual presentations; the text materials serve to support the graphic materials. 2.Look critically at the layout. If there is about 20% text, 40% graphics and 40% empty space, you are doing well. 3.When in doubt, rephrase that text or delete it. (Keep chanting this mantra: There always is too much text. Always too much text.) 5.Delete all redundant references and filler phrases and Remove all material extraneous to the focal point of the poster. The poster is not a publication so excessive detail about methods, or vast tables of data are not necessary. This material can be discussed with interested persons individually during or after the session, or presented in a handout.

20 Project Presentation: Slide Organisation
The presentation should flow logically from beginning to end, as in written work. The main concepts of the presentation are to plan, focus and practice. Plan the layout of the presentation. Strongly consider drawing up an outline before assembling the actual slides.  Focus on the main point(s) to be made. "What you have done", “Why” and “Your contribution” Practice the presentation with the company supervisor or colleagues at least once before presenting it to the audience.

21 Presentation Guidelines – example slide list:
Project title and your name (1 slide); Introduction (1 slide); Objectives (1 slide); Methodology (1 slide); Case study (1 slide); Analysis & results (7 slides approximately); Conclusions & recommendations (2 slides); A total of approximately slides will be sufficient for 20 minutes (maximum) presentation time. Remember, each slide should contain only a few words. Use bullet points to provide summary information. Following the presentation, there will be a short period (10 minutes) for you to answer questions from the audience and panel.

22 Good Luck

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