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Media and Communications

What Makes a Good Research Poster

What Makes a Good Research Poster


One fine day Megatron and Mercy went looking
for research posters to evaluate. Introducing our beautiful host: Meghan a.k.a.
Megatron. “Megatron!” Our next host is really excited to be here…
(obviously): this is Mercy. “Hi Guys” We all know that making an effective research
poster requires a lot of hard work as well as a crap ton of time. As your hosts, Mercy
& Megatron (MerMeg), we are going to explain what makes an effective poster, how to look
cool like this girl in the picture, and provide examples of good & bad posters. So don’t get all crazy like the cutie in
the picture… Just be cool and pay attention because research
posters are s-u-u-u-per interesting and really colorful. This poster has a fantastic organization.
Each of the boxes designates a new concept or step in the experiment. It has a very logical
order and  the results (the most important part) is very large and in the middle. The
poster starts with the abstract, introductions, and other really cool things. This is a great
example of a well-organized poster. It is simple, easy to follow and does not distract
from the main content. This is an example of a poster that needs
an organization make-over. This poster has so many graphics and details that the readers
do not know where to start. The poster looks very crowded and super busy. There does not
seem to be a logical order to the process. This poster uses lots of bright colors to
draw attention to each section. Unfortunately, the colors are more distracting than eye catching.
There is not a uniform method to their highlighted features. It is unorganized and confusing.
The text is also in several different colors and sizes. As a general note, you should use
colors that relate to the poster’s purpose and you should only use bright colors when
emphasizing a specific point. The color of this poster is very settling
and does not distract the reader.  The graphics are a nice size and easy to see from a far
distance, however the white backgrounds jump out at you and doesn’t tie into the rest of
the poster. As you can see, the organization is constructed well with conclusions on the
right and the methods on the left. The problem is that it is too wordy. The large chunks
of text look like they were directly taken from the research paper. This poster is clear and easy to read because
the sections are each divided in their own box. The images are appealing to the eye and
easily readable from a distance. The poster could have looked more professional had the
margins been aligned and the spaces between the boxes had been equal. This poster looks very professional. They
used a vertical column structure with information going top to bottom and left to right. The
spacing between the boxes and the margins are equal and the headings are lined up on
the same line making it easy to read and eye appealing. The title is prominent and easy
to read from a distance. There is very minimal text and tables and images are used to explain
methods and results. All of the graphics are well-labeled, which is important for maintaining
clarity. This poster has a good sense of balance and
whitespace, however the background color is too bold and the text looks like it was pasted
directly from the paper. The results are also not labeled which makes it harder to follow.
Bulleted lists, images, or paraphrasing the abstract, introduction, and conclusion would
have helped this poster look less wordy. This poster uses color well. The color scheme
is soothing and not distracting and the different colors work well together. The graphics and
bulleted lists make the poster easy to read and appealing to the eye. The spacing between
the boxes is not equal. This hinders the credibility, but overall the poster is very effective.
This poster also includes an acknowledgment section and references at the end which is
very important. This was the most effective poster we found.
This poster has a dynamic color scheme of red and black which relates to the heart theme.
It also has a watermark background image of a heart that is eye catching and does not
distract from the text. The poster follows the IMRAD format and each section is broken
up into manageable points. There are several different graphics that are incorporated well
into the poster. They are strategically placed to not draw too much attention and still provide
the required information. The amount of white space is used effectively, especially with
the white border. This poster also includes acknowledgments, references, and provides
a way to contact the researcher for future information. This poster appeals to professional
standards and is the best poster we found. Well that was a look at how cool research
posters can be! Thanks and Gig’em Ags!

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