Students entering into the Senior Science category have the option of displaying their work on an A1 sized scientific poster. Creating posters can be fun but needs to be planned thoroughly.
Your poster headings may include some or all of the sections listed below. (Note: these are the same headings suggested for a traditional science display board)
How to Start – The Content
- Use an attention grabbing title – Include author names and affiliations in smaller print below the title. (The authors are the people who carried out the research and contributed to the poster. The affiliations might be include your school or club (if club is relevant to your scientific work)).
- Introduction: This provides a background to your work – Why is it important (why should the audience be interested)? What is the research question? Remember, this is an introduction, not an essay, so keep it focused.
- Clearly state the aim(s) of your investigation.
- Method: Keep this section short and informative. Explain how you carried out yourresearch. It is often helpful to include a flow diagram/figure.
- Results: Present only the most important/interesting results and use tables/figures. Include results that relate to the aims. You probably won’t have space to include all your results.
- Discussion: Interpret your results and answer your research question. Relate your findings to similar work performed by others. Are there differences? Why might this be? Did you find anything particularly interesting or surprising? Mention future work.
- Conclusion: State the take home message.
- References: These should be included. Use a smaller font size. As a rough guide include no more than five references.
- Acknowledgements: Acknowledge source of funding and anyone who assisted with the research and who is not an author e.g. a person who donated some of the items you used in your experiments, or someone who advised you with regards to experimental design.
- Consider the language you will use
- Who is your target audience?
- Will they have knowledge of your research area?
- Will they understand jargon? If not, avoid it.
- Ensure that the font is sufficiently large to be read by the average person from one metre
- Avoid fancy fonts (no matter how much you like them) that may be difficult to read.
A poster is a visual means of communication, and it allows you to be creative. You need to consider what will attract people to your poster, and you need to consider how you will make your results and take home message clear.
- Layout – it needs to be obvious i.e. you don’t want your audience to be confused as to which section to read next. Subheadings e.g. Introduction/Background, Aims, Methods etc. and or numbering can make it easier to navigate a poster.
- Use figures and or tables – if a poster is filled with text, the audience might not walk up to your poster.
- Theme – if you are going to use a theme, it needs to be consistent with your research topic. Don’t use too many colours unless this suits the theme of your poster. E.g. If you investigated the effect of rainfall, wind and daytime temperature on Pohutukawa floral biology, you might decide to use the colours red and green. On the other hand, if you were investigating something to do with the honey bee, you might choose to use the colours gold and dark brown.
- Colours – do they clash, do they draw attention, do they complement each other, are they consistent with the content? The Kuler colour wheel can assist with the selection of complementary colours etc. Can the audience read the text (colour, size)? You can create a colour scheme here; https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel/