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Library Services for Undergraduate Research

This research guide is a portal to library services for students participating in projects sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research and other undergraduate research.


This site is developed to help students who are creating research posters for presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. At this site you will find information about:

  • What to include in a research poster
  • How to design and organize a research poster
  • What software programs to use to create a research poster

Research poster sessions, historically have been widely used by the scientific community in presenting original research. However there has been an increase in the use of poster sessions for undergraduate research in the social sciences and humanities.

Good Luck!


View Sample Posters

Poster Sessions - flick

A group on flickr for sharing posters and getting feedback

Poster Sessions - flickr

A group on flickr where people share photos of their posters

Online Design Resources

Considering Content

When developing an outline of a research poster, you want to consider including some of the following sections:

  • Introduction or Background
  • Literature Review
  • Methods or Results
  • Purpose or Objectives
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledges
  • Works Cited

Content should be:

  • clear and concise
  • relevant and significant
  • organized

Considering Design, Organization & Layout

The "Rule of Thirds" is a design tool used by photographers and graphic artists. The rule states that visual images (the poster) can be divided into nine equal segments (three sections high and three sestions wide. The audience's eye should travel from the top to the bottom in a Z pattern. The most important parts of the poster should be located on this "Z" shape.

Layout and design should consider:

  • alignment
  • balance and spacing
  • consistency
  • color
  • headings and fonts

Graphics should be:

  • clearly relevant to project
  • easily seen from a few feet away
  • simply, easy to understand
  • aesthetically pleasing, eye catching, but not garish
  • clearly labeled

Sample layouts - at a glance


Books from the Catalog

Journal Articles on Poster Design

Title: Visual Design Tips to Develop an Inviting Poster for Poster Presentations.

Authors: Tomita, Kei1,

Source: TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning; Jul2017, Vol. 61 Issue 4, p313-315, 3p

Abstract: The article offers suggestions for making a poster presentation at an academic conference as it is different from other presentation formats. Topics discussed include integrating the results, discussion, and conclusion sections or introduction and literature review sections in order to reduce the amount of text; name and affiliation bigger than the main text but smaller than the tittle and addition of figures and tables for creating visual variety and making poster more inviting.


Title: Effective visual design and communication practices for research posters: Exemplars based on the theory and practice of multimedia learning and rhetoric.

Authors: Pedwell, Rhianna K.; Hardy, James A.; Rowland, Susan L.

Source: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Education; May2017, Vol. 45 Issue 3, p249-261, 13p

Abstract: Evidence shows that science graduates often do not have the communication skills they need to meet workplace standards and expectations. One common mode of science communication is the poster. In a review of the literature we show that poster design is historically problematic, and that the guidance provided to students as they create posters for assessment is frequently inconsistent. To address this inconsistency we provide some guiding design principles for posters that are grounded in communication theory and the fundamentals of rhetoric. We also present three nondiscipline-specific example posters with accompanying notes that explain why the posters are examples of poor, average, and excellent poster design. The subject matter for the posters is a fabricated set of experiments on a topic that could not actually be the subject of research. Instructors may use these resources with their students, secure in the knowledge that they do not and will never represent an answer set to an extant assessment item. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 45(3):249-261, 2017. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Title: The Research Poster and How it Consolidates and Communicates Key Concepts of a Research Inquiry.

Authors: McAuley, Mike ; Hodgkinson, Gray

Source: Design Principles & Practices: An International Journal: Annual Review; 2017, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p1-14, 14p, 2 Color Photographs, 3 Diagrams, 2 Charts


Title: A practical guide to designing a poster for presentation.

Authors: Briggs, David J.

Source: Nursing Standard. 4/29/2009, Vol. 23 Issue 34, p35-39. 5p. 2 Diagrams, 1 Chart.

Abstract: Poster presentations are frequently used to disseminate research findings and clinical initiatives at conferences, and present module material for educational courses. However, many nurses lack confidence when it comes to designing posters. This article considers the skills required to design a poster. Aspects of good poster design are also discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Title: Poster design—six points to ponder.

Authors: Brown, Bernard S.

Source: Biochemical Education; July 1997, Vol. 25, p136-137, 2p

Abstract: Students should ponder six points when designing and producing posters. They should prepare by thinking about how their findings might be presented as a poster even while they are carrying out the research, looking for possible illustrations and layouts, and taking note of how professional advertisers stick with one main message that is written in a few words and accompanied by eye-catching visuals. They should organize information on the poster so that there is balance between the three elements of text, illustrations, and space. Students' posters should have a clear pathway that follows the normal reading direction for the language used in the poster. To enhance legibility, they should use upper- and lowercase letters and ensure that type size and column width look right. A short but catchy title, bold headings, not too much text, and simple pictures will help explain their work. Students should also ensure that posters are readable at two meters in two minutes to catch potential readers' attention.