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Poster Creation and Presentation

Learn the basics for creating a research poster and preparing to present your research.

Before Your Presentation

Printing the Poster

  • Determine the maximum dimension of the printer available to you

  • Posters can be printed on vinyl and cloth for durability and ease of transport but these are generally more costly

  • Remember to leave adequate time to have the poster printed 

Transporting the Poster

  • A mailing tube is a great way to safely transport your poster to the venue

  • Wrapping the rolled poster in some cheap paper or Mylar can help in sliding the poster into the tube

  • Tying the rolled poster with string or rubber bands so it doesn't expand in the tube is helpful when the time comes to remove it from the tube

  • Yoga mat straps are helpful when carrying tubes long distances

Installing the Poster

  • Find out in advance what kind of surface will be used - a wall, bulletin board, easel, table only, etc.
    • If only a table then a tri-fold poster board display may be required or some other support system used
  • Determine if hook and loop fasteners or push pins will be provided


During the Poster Session

What to Bring

  • woman takes a photo with her phoneConsider making a handout of the main points from your poster

  • Bring a notepad and pen to collect contact information of interested visitors; bring business cards to share your information
    • Journal editors often browse poster sessions seeking future authors
  • Bring any bibliographies, related works and/or reprints related to your work to share
  • Put your handouts in an envelope attached to the bulletin board surface
  • Provide a short URL for visitors to view and share your work
  • Bring water -- you may spend a lot of time talking

 Interacting with Viewers

  • Stand to the side of your poster so viewers can see it easily
  • Make eye contact and be approachable
  • Give the viewer time to read your poster
  • If you are presenting somewhere other than Penn State, make sure you tell visitors where you are from
  • Memorize the general layout of your poster so you don’t need to turn your back to visitors or search to find specific information

Answering Questions

  • Anticipate the questions people may ask you about your research, “have you considered/looked at x, y, z?” “who else is doing similar research?” “what did you learn?”
  • Have some answers ready to go for basic questions
  • Don't lie if you don't know the answer to a question. Ask for their card and tell them you will respond
  • If a question is outside of your research scope, you can say “that’s not something we examined”

Information Literacy Award Questions
If you are participating in the Undergraduate Research Award process, judges will ask you questions about your research. Here's what to expect:

  • Research process and strategies
    • How did you go about finding the information you needed? 
    • How did you search for that information?
  • Source selection
    • What was your research question?
    • What was the information need of your project?
  • Source integration
    • Who are others in your field doing this type of research?
    • How does your work/project complement, complicate, or add to the conversation around this topic?
  • Citations
    • If you did not create them yourself, where did you find the images you used for your project, and how did you determine the creator's permission for use?
  • Social, ethical, or economic considerations in accessing information
    • How did you pay for the information that you accessed?
    • Which of the resources that you used will you still have access to once you graduate?
    • How would you have found this information if you were an independent scholar?

Image on flickr: European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, "_LMM7447" - licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

After the Presentation

Archive Your Work

  • Scholarsphere logo with globe and text You should consider publishing your poster in ScholarSphere, Penn State's institutional repository, so you can link to it on your resume
    • For posters created in PowerPoint, you can simply save as a PDF and upload that version
  • If you don't have an appropriate digital file, you can take a high-quality photograph and post that instead