A single paragraph, typically 200-300 words in length, that appears at the very beginning of a poster. It is a summary of the research presented in the poster and consists of four parts: Introduction, Materials & Methods, Results and Discussion. Each part is typically 2-4 sentences long. An abstract is strictly text, it contains no figures and no tables.
The section of a poster that typically appears at the very end of a poster. The name of funding agencies who provided financial support for the research will be listed in this section. Authors also use this section to thank people who contributed to the research but did not provide substantial contribution to the work that they should appear as a co-author on the poster.
Scientist(s) who designed, planned and conducted the research and wrote the poster. The scientist who made the most significant contribution to the research is listed first in the author list, the scientist who contributed the second most work is listed second in the author list and so on.
Also know as the References section of a poster. The section of a poster where scholarly publications (i.e., sources of information), which are referred to in the poster are listed. By citing other peoples’ work, the author is (1) giving proper credit to the work of other scientists, (2) justifying why the research is being conducted, (3) providing context for the research, (4) demonstrating the significance of the work and (5) providing additional knowledge and understanding for the research. The Bibliography section typically include information that helps the reader find important information such as: author names, year published, title of article, name of journal, volume number and page numbers.
A formal reference to a published work or source of information. A citation is included at the end of a sentence to indicate the source of the information. Citations are listed by number or author name, year published.
Polar bear cubs were 25% larger when fed a high-protein diet compared to high-sugar diet.1
Polar bear cubs were 25% larger when fed a high-protein diet compared to high-sugar diet (Jones and Smith, 2018).
The “1” and “Jones and Smith, 2018” both refer to the same journal article: E.J. Jones and W. A. Smith, 2018, Nutrition of Polar Bear Cubs, Journal of Natural Science, Vol. 53, Issue 12, pages 36-45. Both types of in-text citations are acceptable for use in posters, with people typically choosing superscript numbers to save space.
- Corresponding Author
The person who takes primary responsibility for the research. Their responsibility is to write the poster and manage the poster as it goes through the peer review and publication process. Typically the principal investigator who obtained the grant and funding that was used to conduct the research.
Information, measurements, numbers, observations collected as part of an experiment. The experiment can be conducted in a laboratory setting or in the field. Specific instruments, methods and techniques are used to collect data. Data is typically presented to an audience in the form of a figure or table.
Type of figure that uses a schematic drawing to show how something functions, flows or is structured.
The section of a poster that is dedicated to interpreting the results of the research. The Results section and Discussion sections are often combined in a poster to save space and make it easier for the reader to understand the research. The Discussion section is used to (1) describe what the results mean, (2) compare results to other studies, (3) characterize the significance of the results, (4) report the limitations of the research and (5) suggest future research.
An image, chart, data plot, graph, map, diagram, schematic, photograph that is used to communicate information and data. Many readers will only look at poster figures rather than reading the main text. Therefore, it is very important that figures are engaging and easy to read and understand. A figure should be used in a poster to communicate the most significant results of the research. A descriptive caption that explains the data should also accompany each figure.
A type of figure that shows the relationship between two varying quantities. Graphs can be bar charts, line plots or scatter plots.
The section of a poster that appears directly after the Abstract and is used to introduce the reader to the topic. It provides all the necessary information needed to understand the research, topic or issue. It describes the importance of the research, especially in context to previous work that has been conducted in this area. It helps to set the stage for the research described in the poster and provides clear objectives for why the work was conducted.
A periodical publication containing many articles that describe original research conducted by scientists and engineers. Journals publish several issues throughout the year that contain the most recent research, data and information about a topic. Journals are used by scientists and engineers as the primary means to disseminate research findings. Science journals are typically published by professional societies that specialize in particular disciplines. There are thousands of different scientific journals.
Journals publish several issues throughout the year that contain the most recent research, data and information about a topic. High-impact journals typically accept a small fraction (e.g., 10-25%) of all articles for publication. The remaining articles (e.g., 75-90%) do not make it through the peer-review process and are rejected.
- Journal Article
A piece of writing that is published in a journal, describes original research and is authored by scientists and engineers who performed the work and conducted the experiments. Because of this, journal articles are referred to as primary sources of information, and published by professional journals. Journal articles have gone through a rigorous peer-review process prior to being published. Only those articles that successfully make it through the peer-review process are published. Rejected articles are not published and therefore not seen or read by the public.
A presentation software application developed by Apple to create presentations as well as slides, figures, graphs, diagrams, flow charts, images, maps, etc.
Type of figure that shows an area of land, water, cites, forests, physical characteristics, etc. A map typically contains scale bars and cardinal directions (i.e., north, south, east, west) to help orient the reader.
- Materials & Methods
The section of a poster that provides details about how the research was conducted. Authors use this section to describe methods, techniques, equipment and instrumentation that was used for the research. Materials, chemicals, compounds, organisms, molecules, minerals, and samples that were used in the work are also described here. If the research was conducted at a specific location (e.g., institution, field site) or time of year then these details are provided here as well. The information provided in the Materials and Methods sections allows other scientists to reproduce the work presented in the poster.
A publication that is printed daily or weekly and contains stories about current events, features, opinions and advertisements. Newspapers analyze and interpret the research that was presented in a primary source. Newspapers are considered secondary sources of information because they are published after a journal article has been published. Compared to journal articles, newspapers are typically easier for an audience to read and understand because much of the scientific jargon has been replaced or removed. Newspapers are reviewed by editors prior to publication. Newspaper articles do not go through a peer review process prior to publication.
Document of intellectual property granted by a government that describes a discovery, invention, process, machine, instrument, manufacture, matter or material. Patents are considered primary sources.
- Peer Review
A research article that has been published in a journal has passed through a rigorous review process where experts (i.e., peer scientists) evaluated the article and deemed the research worthy of publication. This process is referred to as scientific peer review. It is done to ensure that the research is original, that experiments are conducted in an appropriate manner, that data support results and conclusions, and that articles meets quality standards set forth by the publisher. Only those articles that successfully pass through the peer review process are published and read by the public. Articles that don’t make it through the peer review process are rejected, not published and therefore are never read by the public.
Many journals, such as high-impact journals, follow a rigorous peer review process that results in rejection rates greater than 75%. Those articles that successfully navigate the peer review process (e.g., the remaining 25%) are published by the journal, read by the public and are referred to as primary sources.
- Poster Printing
Posters are very large (e.g., 36-inches height x 48-inches width) and need to be printed at a printing shop using a specialized type of printer such as a plotter or wide-format conventional printer. Universities, libraries, FedEx, and UPS all have printing services that, for a price, can be used to print a large-format poster.
A presentation software application developed by Microsoft to create presentations. Many people use Microsoft PowerPoint to create and print large-format posters. PowerPoint can also be used to create figures, graphs, diagrams, flow charts, images, maps, etc.
- Primary Source
A journal article written by scientists and engineers and published in a journal. Journal articles are a full description of original experiments and research. Journal articles are written by the scientists and engineers who conducted the work. Journal articles contain an abstract, introduction, materials & methods, results, discussion and references. Journal articles are only published after they have successfully passed through a peer-review process. Rejected articles are not published and therefore the public never reads the article.
Patents and technical reports published by government agencies are also considered primary sources.
The section of a poster where scholarly publications (i.e., sources of information) that are referred to in the poster are listed. Also known as Bibliography. By citing other peoples’ work, the author is (1) giving proper credit to the work of other scientists, (2) justifying why the research is being conducted, (3) providing context for the research, (4) demonstrating the significance of the work and (5) providing additional knowledge and understanding for the research. The References section typically includes information that helps the reader find important information such as; author names, year published, title of article, name of journal, volume number and page numbers.
The part of the poster where data, findings and information that was discovered as part of the research is provided. Figures and tables are often used in the results section to communicate data, findings and information to the reader.
- Scientific Poster
Large format (e.g., 36-inches height x 48-inches width) visual representation of research that is organized into an easily readable format and dividend into several parts. These include: title, author list, author contact information, abstract, introduction, material & methods, results, discussion, references and acknowledgements.
- Secondary Source
Article or video written or produced by someone who did not participate in the research. Examples are books, documentaries, films, government websites, interviews, magazines, newspapers, news programs, podcasts and videos. Secondary sources report on and interpret results that have been presented in primary sources. Secondary sources generally have not been peer reviewed, however, they have been reviewed by editors, writers and producers prior to publication, because they want to maintain a high degree of integrity with their work and publication
A way to organize data into columns and rows to effectively present large amounts of data to an audience. Many readers will only look at poster tables rather than reading the main text. Therefore, a table should be clear, easy to read, contain legible font type and sizes (e.g., 20-point font size are larger), have sufficient space between rows and columns, contain units of measurement, and have a legend or caption that explains the data.
- Technical Report
Document that describes scientific findings, progress of projects and the results of scientific research. It is an official document that provides a summary of research conducted over an extended period of time. Technical reports are published by government agencies, universities and corporations.
Technical reports do not necessarily go through a peer review process prior to publication. If the report was written by the scientists who conducted the research, then it can be considered a primary source of information.
A brief headline (typically 8-15 words) that appears at the very top of a poster and functions to provide a descriptive overview of the poster. It is used to inform the reader what the poster is about. The title should summarize the most important results and findings.