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Joseph Guerrera ENC 1102 2/26/14

The Research Poster Creating a scientific research poster is an effective way of communicating the main ideas, methods, data, and results from experiments as well as scientific papers. The scientific research poster serves as a helpful summary that allows the audience to easily understand the main components of the project and determine the overall goals and findings. In addition to being visually appealing, the research poster also has the added benefit of allowing the presenter to interact with individual viewers in a one on one setting often for lengthy amounts of time. This allows each viewer a more personalized experience and enables a greater level of understanding (Miller). A modern research poster must be visually attractive, in a large conference a poster needs to attract attention. Improving the quality of a poster can be done with the use of visually appealing images as well as limiting the amount of text on the poster (Wienders). The process involved in creating a research poster consists of several parts. Components such as font size, color scheme and content must be balanced and contribute to the overall look and feel of the poster. A well-organized and constructed poster will allow readers to understand the project with minimal effort (Lippman, Ponton). The main sections to consider when constructing a research poster are: title, abstract, introduction, methods, findings, and the conclusion. In addition to these, the poster should meet the


technical specifications required as well as be visually appealing. Depending on the conference of symposium the requirements of the posters may vary. Prior to modern technology, research posters were made in an arts and crafts style using printed or even hand written cutouts. Today however, programs such as PowerPoint or Adobe Illustrator are used much more often. The use of these programs allows posters to be made more efficiently with greater accuracy and more precision. PowerPoint is useful as the poster can be created on one large slide using graphics and textboxes and simply printed. Regardless of how the poster is made, either manually or electronically they standard layout is nearly identical. Below is a figure that depicts one possible layout of a scientific research poster.

Figure 1: How to make an effective poster (Shelledy).

Title, Abstract and Introduction


The title on a research poster is one of the most visually important areas. A large title, legible at a distance of around twenty feet is required to grab the viewer’s attention. Near the title is also where space should be allocated to credit any institutions or corporations that contributed to the research in some way (Shelledy). Having a large title on the research poster uses up valuable space, however a large, legible title will attract attention and ultimately bring attention to the other sections of the poster. When creating the title of the research poster the font size should be very large, no less than 96points. Depending on the length of the title, the size and font can vary although it needs to remain consistent and be clearly legible. This is the second chance to grab the reader’s attention. When writing the abstract, it is important to consider that it serves as a summary of the project overall. If they were intrigued at the title, the abstract gives a bit more explanation and should serve to lock the viewer into sticking with the poster. The abstract not only summarizes the intent of the project overall, but also the goal of the poster itself. After reading the abstract the reader should have some insight into what the other sections of the poster contain (Shelledy, Purrington). The poster introduction is an optional section to include. Depending on the abstract and nature of the project an introduction section may be redundant. If the introduction is needed however there are a few guidelines to follow. This section is used not only to keep the readers attention, but it also includes the hypothesis of the project. This is important because the hypothesis provides a direction to the remainder as well as an expected outcome. It gives the reader an idea or question to follow for the remainder of the poster.


The abstract, optional introduction as well as any other text that is not the title should be a significantly smaller font size, however it should still be clear and concise. Something in the range of a 36point font is generally acceptable and clear enough to be read from a reasonable distance, think the distance a reader would be standing from the poster at a conference or symposium, about four to six feet. Overall, the research poster should not contain excessive amounts of text. The poster should contain several images such as maps, graphs, and charts for the reader to engage in. Walls of text will bore a reader and are not as effective at displaying the desired information. The title, abstract and introduction remain fairly consistent when considering research posters across disciplines. Regardless of the topic of the poster, the title, abstract and introduction should all follow the same guidelines (Miller). These standard introductory sections allow almost anyone to gain a brief overview of the project before getting into the more complex areas of methods, results and conclusion. The overall tone of the introductory settings should be fairly informal and serve to ease the reader into the project. If bombarded by technical terms and specifications, a casual reader may become disinterested.

Methods A methods section is used primarily to discuss in detail how the research was carried out. Depending on the complexity of the project however, the methods section may be fairly expansive. Thus, a summary of the methods used to collect data should suffice in order to save precious space on the poster (Shelledy). An explanation of the methods used should be insightful enough that readers with little experience with the


methods presented will be able to understand the poster, but concise enough so that not everyone becomes an expert in the methods used. The methods section should be clear of terms that are too lengthy and technical. Using acronyms can help to save space as well as cut down on the excessive terminology (Miller). After viewing a research poster, readers should not be able to replicate the experiments talked about. The audience should also be taken into consideration when constructing the methods section. Appealing to a wide audience is desirable, however if the poster is written for the general public and then presented at a conference full of professors and experts in the field the poster will not be as impressive. Knowing the audience ahead of time is imperative to writing a relevant methods section. Being able to relate to the audience provides a better experience for both presenter and audience (Shelledy). The overarching goal of the poster is for it to be accessible to a wide audience. Having a clear and concise methods section helps to achieve this goal and allows the reader to understand how and why various parts of the project were carried out.

Results The results section is one of the most important sections of the research poster. In this section, collected data is typically represented in the form of charts and graphs. Not only the raw data is displayed, but also calculated and computed statistical analysis. Depending on the area of study, it may be typical to have a results column ranging from data tables to more complex charts and maps. The results section should be clear enough that readers gain a good understanding of the resulting trends in the data collected. Anything that is important and relevant to the formation of the conclusion should go into


the results section (Shelledy). Results can also be displayed in the form of future or predicted results. A typical future results section will contain information regarding planned future experiments that serve to back up the current results of the poster or paper. A future results section is also useful if the results of the poster are not yet in. In this case the results section will contain the predicted results of the experiment. This allows conclusions to be made about the project in the absence of experimental results.

Future / Conclusion The conclusion should be used to tie the poster together and give a more in depth meaning to the results section. This section serves to reiterate the hypothesis stated in the introduction and proves the hypothesis’s validity. Even if the hypothesis was wrong, it all needs to be stated in the conclusion. Any insight from the graphs or charts that the viewers may have not had the time to consider may also be included. After reading the conclusion, the reader should walk away with an overall idea of what the poster achieved, as well as knowledge of any planned future experiments (Shelledy).


Ocean Circulation in the Northern De Soto Canyon Joseph Guerrera, Nicolas Wienders Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science" Abstract!

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"Between May 2012 and May 2013, six moorings (4 shallow and 2 deep) collected data via instruments mounted at varying depths. Velocity data was collected with the use of two 75 kHz ADCP (Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers) mounted on the deep moorings as well as four 300 kHz ADCP on each of the shallow mooring locations. The ADCP recorded the velocity of the water every 20 min. The number of instruments per mooring ranged between six and nine. Other instruments, placed at approximately ~15 m intervals, measured variables such as salinity, temperature and pressure over the one year period. " "Once the data was collected, MATLAB was used to create plots of selected data. The plots are displayed as follows:" • Six plots of the average velocity at each mooring at depth." • A map consisting of the average variance for five mooring locations (mooring six excluded due to location)." • A plot of the relationship between depth and temperature at mooring six."

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"Deep-C (The Deep Sea to Coast Connectivity Mooring in the Eastern Gulf of 2 M o o r i n g s 1 (5 3 m ) a n d 3 (9 7 m ) Mexico) Consortium is tasked with determining the chemical, biological and (FSU) physical effects of the release of hydrocarbons and sediments in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, specifically inMarker the De Soto Canyon. " M1 "Signi ficaMnt3 data collection in De SotoBCanyon has taken place in the uoy 1 6 m 3 0 mthe Deep-Water Horizon oil spill. The main focus20 years following ofmthe project1 was the currents found along the bottom of the Northern 9 m to4 4analyze m 21 m C TD MicroCat T/S/P De Soto Canyon. This was achieved using the velocity data taken from six canyon. plots C T D different tarOdi TUsing MATLAB, 2 9 mmooring 5 9 m locations throughout the S 35 m were made to show the average tendencies of the currents over one year. how the oceanic circulation, as well as topography in 9 m illustrate 74m C T DThese 3plots StarOdi T 50 m and around the De Soto Canyon, are able to influence the movements of C T D sediments 4 4 m and 8 4 mhydrocarbons through the canyon."

!Based on the data collected it can be concluded that the topography of the canyon does influence the direction as well as the intensity of currents. The data also illustrate the influence of major storms in the Summer months on variables such as temperature and velocity." "Future research to be conducted includes model versus data ent Version of MATLAB comparisons that will serve to assess the accuracy Stud of computer models over the same time period measuring the same variables. This research has the potential to lead to improvements in computer modeling which will allow for greater accuracy when predicting the movements of sediments and hydrocarbons in the Northern De Soto Canyon." "

Figure 2: An example of a research poster using the sections mentioned made using PowerPoint (Wienders).

Student Version of MATLAB

Conclusion The research poster allows scientific data to be presented in an easy to comprehend format. It requires a fraction of the amount of reading of an article, yet still allows for a high level of understanding. The research poster genre allows for a large freedom of choice. This means that the same set of data can be conveyed in a number of different ways and the design of the poster is open to the interpretation of the researcher. Research posters are also more effective at spreading awareness about projects than scientific papers. A scientific paper is usually only found and studied after a specific


search for the topic. Posters however, and be seen at conferences and symposiums by a wide variety of people ranging from experts in the field to people who know very little about a topic. Posters also are able to garner more funding for the projects they represent by raising awareness about the type of research being done as well as the results the research teams have been seeing. If they are encouraging and making forward progress, the projects may see more funding come their way along with a increase in interest.

Works Cited Lippman, Doris T., Ponton, Karen S. “Designing a Research Poster with Impact.” West J Nurs Res, 1989. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://wjn.sagepub.com/content/11/4/477.short Ello, Linda M. “Soptlight on Research at Center Stage: Using Poster Sessions to Showcase Student Research.” Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 2006. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J067v26n03_10#.UwvdefRdVe8 Miller, Jane E. “Preparing and Presenting Effective Research Posters.” Health Serv Res., 2007. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1955747/


Oswald, Nick. “10 Tips on Writing a Research Poster.” Bitesize Bio, 2007. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://bitesizebio.com/13599/10-tips-on-writing-a-research-poster/ Purrington, Colin B. “Desinging Confrence Posters.” Word Press, 2014. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://colinpurrington.com/tips/academic/posterdesign Shelledy, David C. “How to Make an Effective Poster.” Respiratory Care, 2004. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://rc.rcjournal.com/content/49/10/1213.short Sciences, Ocean. “Information for Posters.” Ocean Sciences Meeting, 2014. Web. 23 Feb 2014. http://www.sgmeet.com/osm2014/poster-guidelines.asp Wienders, Nicolas. “Interview” March 2014


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