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Social Work

Research Posters 101

Learning to design and present research posters is an important skill to develop in this program. Posters allow you to succinctly share research results and other information in a personal way with your audience. There are two main aspects to research posters:
  1. the content
  2. the presentation
This page provides you with a process and resources to help you in both of these steps! Find more resources on the sub-page to the left.

Synthesizing your Research into a Visual Format

Infographics and research posters can be a quick and efficient way of getting your research across to a variety of audiences. Whether you are taking what you have already written in a research paper or creating all new content, the steps are the same.

Research: Compile your research and examine the data, as you would for a traditional paper.

Purpose: What is the story you want your visual to tell? How will this be conveyed to your audience? What is your main argument or take away message?

Audience: Consider your audience. What is the right tone to take? What is an appropriate level of detail for your audience

Visualize: How do you want your purpose to be visualized? Start to consider various data visualization options (i.e. charts, graphs, timelines, icons, map, etc). Consider your colors, fonts, and images. How do they all play a role in the story you are telling?

  • Remember to keep this simple!


Poster 101: Quick Tips

Once you have decided on your goal and main points, it's time to create the poster itself

  • Set your poster size
    • Typically 48x36 inches in landscape orientation
  • Determine your layout
    • Title is placed at the top
    • Author names under the title
    • Many posters utilize three columns for content and are read from top left to bottom right
    • Important information should be readable from 10 feet away
      • Font size recommendations can be found in the SOWK Poster Tips document on the resources page
  • Add your content
    • Your title should be snappy to draw your audience
    • Use accessible and readable fonts and font sizes
      • Find more on accessibility on the Resources page
    • Word count between 300 & 800 words
    • Bullets are often better than paragraphs
    • Include in text citations!
  • Add images or graphics
    • Use tables or graphs to graphically display data
    • Use infographics or images to enhance your content
    • Make sure the images are high resolution so they print at a large scale
    • Find license-free images and give credit!
      • Find license-free images on the Resources page
  • Print and Present
    • JMU Print Services will print posters for a small fee
    • Prepare talking points and consider having notecards to refer to
    • Do not simply read from the poster, expand on the main points that you have listed