Biology Research Posters

General Instructions

A) Purpose

The poster presentations provide a forum for you to present your experiences in either research projects or internship. This serves a two-fold purpose in communication: it allows you the opportunity to present your project/internship and it allows the content of your experience to be shared with other students and faculty. In order to fulfill this purpose, the poster should be legible from a distance (~ 5 feet) to permit viewing by more than one person at a time. The guidelines below will give you some of the criteria which will increase the clarity and effectiveness of your poster. There are trifold poster boards available for display. These boards are 48" x 36". (See picture below.)

B) General Format

Use large type -- at least 72 point font for the title, 20 point for major headings and 16 point for the text. In this document "Poster Format" is in 18 point bold font, the major headings are in 16 point bold font, the A,B,C headings are in 14 point bold font, and the text is in 12 point font. Imagine reading these from a distance of 5 feet. (I am using the Times font -- remember different fonts vary in size.)

Choose a clear font (not too fancy) and use a single font type throughout the poster.

Prepare a title banner for the poster, including the TITLE OF PRESENTATION with the names of the authors and any affiliations listed below. (For the affiliations -- indicate if you worked at Wittenberg, another university, the forestry service, etc.)

The poster should flow either down columns or along rows -- natural patterns for Westerners.

Keep the poster simple. The challenge is to maintain a balance between providing information and not confusing the viewer.

Figures and tables should cover roughly 50% of the viewing area. Each should be clearly labeled and have adequate description so that the reader knows what s/he is looking at!

Text portions of the poster should be concise while providing the necessary information. (Balance, again!) Feel free to use bulleted lists and outlines for clarity. The sections to be included for each type of poster are given below.

The tri-fold cardboard display units are 48" x 36" (w x h).

C) Tips for preparation

Plan ahead! Make a rough sketch of the poster first. What are the main points you wish to convey? What is the best format for figures? Should you use photographs? Graphs? Charts? Tables? What can best be said in prose? Does color help?

What are the appropriate major headings and topics for each section? Make a mock up of the figures and text you plan to include and experiment with layout. Get some feedback from peers and professors. Sleep on it. (No, not literally!) Does the poster convey the message you intend?

Formalize the figures and the text. Don't forget to check spelling and grammar! Lay out the poster. Stand back and look. Are all the figures clear. Can a reasonably intelligent individual navigate the poster without your assistance?

Add finishing touches, altering figures and text to enhance clarity and flow.


Note: These are general guidelines, not rules. If you have prepared a presentation of your work for a meeting within your discipline, that format is fine as long as it lends itself to a gallery-style presentations

Research Projects

For research projects, your major task is to clearly define your project for a general audience. This should include the purpose or intent of the project, project design, and any results or conclusions. A clear description of the question addressed and the methods for trying to answer that question is important. Remember that your audience is the Wittenberg community. In general, the following sections should be included.


The abstract provides a brief overview of the project and any conclusions.  These abstracts will be compiled into a booklet for the poster session.


In the introduction include necessary background information and the rationale for the experiment. What is the question being asked, why is it being asked, and how does this fit into the larger scientific framework?

Figures and tables with brief text explanations

Figures and tables might include a flow chart of the steps of the project, diagrams of the methods of research, photos of relevant sites, support for your conclusions.  Where relevant, this should include any data and/or data interpretation.  Aim for clarity in all cases.


Briefly summarize the project, including any conclusions which can be drawn from your project.


The posters describing internships should convey the essence of the internship to the observer. You may choose to highlight areas of the internship you found particularly intriguing. Include your duties in the internship:  what were your responsibilities? What did you learn from the internship?


The abstract provides a brief, general description of the internship. What was the focus of the internship? What areas were explored? These abstracts will be compiled into a booklet for the poster session.


Describe the internship in a bit more detail than in the abstract. What were your responsibilities? Who were you working with? Did you work in the context of a large organization? If so, how did your internship relate to the overall mission of that organization? What were the goals of the internship?

Figures, tables, and photographs with brief text explanations

Provide graphic (but G-rated) depictions of the components of your internship. What were the high points? Would photographs help to convey your experience more clearly? You may need to rely more heavily on text than some of the experimental projects or than some of the internships. There is wide variety on what will be included in this section depending on the nature of the internship.


Briefly summarize the internship. The challenge here is to provide synthesis without repetition. Were the goals of the internship achieved? What more might you hope to have learned?

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