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Presentations: Poster Content

Poster Presentation Content

Posters are a visual representation of your research, scholarly, or creative work. Posters should be able to stand alone giving a clear concise representation of your work, without any explanation from you. Below you will find information on what content to include in your poster.  

Keep in mind - You do not have to put everything on your poster, just key points that are essential to the explanation of your project.  Handouts are good way to supply attendees with additional information that you could not include in your poster presentation. 

Tips and Tricks

Throughout a poster you act as a historian, reporter, and lawyer.

Introduction 15% - You are a Historian

Methods/Results 60% - You are a Reporter

Discussion 25% - You are a Lawyer

Title/ Heading

One of the key features of a research poster is a prominent title.  The title may be the only thing a viewer sees before they reach your poster.  Bearing that in mind, it is important that your title is short and compelling in order to capture the attention of the viewer.   



Even though this section appears first, it is often the last to be written. This section should provide viewers with a brief synopsis of the entire poster. 

Usually consists of a summarized combination of the introduction, results, and discussion sections. 

Introduction/ Background

During this section you should act as a historian, providing viewers needed information about your research topic. This section should make up about 15% of your poster and is comprised of three main parts. 

Part 1: Existing facts

In order to give viewers the "full picture", you first need to provide them with information about past research.  What facts already exist? What is already known about your research area?

Part 2: Shortcomings

Once you have highlighted past research and existing facts. You now need to address what is left to be known, or what shortcomings exist within the current information.  This should set the groundwork for your experiment.  Keep in mind, how does your research fill these gaps or help address these questions? 

Part 3: Purpose or Hypothesis

After you have addressed past/current research and have identified shortcomings/gaps, it is now time to address your research.  During this portion of the introduction you need to tell viewers why you are conducting your research experiement/study, and what you hope to accomplish by doing so. 

Materials/ Methods

In the methods and results sections of your poster you should act as a reporter.  These sections report facts about what you did and the information you gathered. 

The methods section is comprised of four parts: 

Part 1: Participants

Who or what was in the study? 

Part 2: Materials/measures:

What did you measure?

Part 3:  Procedures

How did you conduct the study?

Part 4: Data-analysis

What analysis were conducted?


This section contains FACTS - with no opinion, commentary, or interpretation. This section can be portrayed with figures and tables to cut down text from your poster.

Keep in mind when making figures: 

  • Strive for simplicity - Graphics should be simple and clean in order to communicate information quickly.
  • Strong titles are essential. Titles should tell a viewer what is important about the graph or what the graph shows. Keep in mind, viewers only see what you tell them to see, therefore make titles clear and concise
  • Make sure axis and data sets are clearly labeled.
  • Be sure to include captions for your graphics. Captions help explain how to read the figure and provides the viewer with additional information.

Example Graphs

Both graphs depict the same information. However, the graph on the bottom presents a more clear and concise message. 


You will notice the title of the bottom graph tells the viewer exactly what they should notice, "More than 1 in 4 Boulder Bay Public Library computer users are Hispanic or Latino".  The graph on the bottom also uses a darker color to represent Hispanic or Latino populations which draws the viewers eye to that part of the figure. 

Conclusion/ Discussion

Interpretation and commentary takes place in this section. During the conclusion/discussion section you should act as a lawyer, reminding people of why your research experiment/study is important and what significance it has to the field.  This section should make up 25% of your poster. 

In this section you should:

  • Reiterate the research question/problem
  • Highlight the novel or important findings. Explain the meaning of the findings and why they are significant. 
  • Discuss how/if your research question was answered. Explain any new understanding or insight you have gained after you have taken the findings into consideration. 
  • Address the positive and negative aspects your your research.
    • Highlight the importance of your research and how it may be able to contribute to and/or help fill gaps in existing research. 
    • Address study limitations. 
  • Make suggestions for further research


Just like when you are writing a paper a poster should include citations to any material you consulted and obtained information from while conducting your experiment/study. 

Citations are important because:

  • It allows viewers to locate the material that you used, and can help viewers expand their knowledge of your research topic.  
  • Indicates that you have conducted a thorough review of the literature and conducted your research from an informed perspective.
  •  Guards you against intellectual theft.  Ideas are considered intellectual property failure to cite someone's ideas can have serious consequences. 


In this section you should:

  • list your funding sources (if, you have them).
  • Acknowledge those who assisted you or contributed to your research. 


Best Practices for Handouts

  • Your handout should be double-sided
  • the first side of the paper should include a picture of your poster (this can be in black and white or color)
  • The second side of the handout should include further information about your topic and your contact information.  You could include your literature review and cited references on this side.