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  • Audiences for Poster Sessions
    into at least a portion of those attending a conference These usually provide biographical sketches paragraphs anywhere from 50 to 100 words long Typically most folks won t go to a conference unless they have a chance to do a presentation and as a general rule you won t find people there from off the streets Audiences for General Poster Sessions G eneral audiences are the hardest to write for because it s impossible to write to accommodate all the levels of background knowledge viewers will bring to your poster Several approaches might help Think About Where the Poster Session Will Be Held E ven if you know that typical viewers will include readers with almost no background knowledge about your topic you still need to decide what s most important to present on your poster and every bit of information about the audience will help you plan your poster If you re writing a poster for a career fair for instance knowing that it will be held at a high school or at a college will make a difference in your probable audience If you were describing actuarial science for a high school career fair you d need to explain just what actuaries do as well as the job prospects for qualified actuaries You d certainly want to include the basic requirements that students will need in their first years of college but you might decide not to detail the levels of testing that actuaries complete for full certification Ask the Organizers A sk the organizers what kinds of posters have been most successful in the past If they have samples look at those to determine the level of background knowledge that seems to work best If not ask the organizers where they ve advertised the poster forum If they expect to appeal to the entire community for a health fair for example you can assume little background knowledge If they expect to draw in only math students from the highest level courses offered in local high schools for a career fair then assume viewers will have much more background knowledge Draft Alternative Texts D raft several alternative texts for posters and ask a wide range of viewers to tell you which ones seem clearest You won t need to draft the entire poster for your samples Instead focus on one or two key sections perhaps the text that defines the topic or scope of your poster and the section that explains what viewers should do now that they ve read the information on your poster for example the text that describes how to stop spreading a common infection among school children Try out your alternative versions on a few readers with the same level of background knowledge you expect of viewers of your poster Ask specifically about which version makes the most sense or seems most interesting Prepare Supplemental Handouts W rite your poster for the readers who have very little background knowledge but prepare supplemental handouts If

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1522&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • Writing Strategies for Poster Sessions
    any detail so pick out what s central to your topic and concentrate on that narrow focus When Kate Kiefer and Mike Palmquist completed an in depth research study of four classrooms in 1993 1994 they knew that they couldn t present all their results on a poster Instead they drafted two preliminary research papers running 30 pages and 40 pages and then chose a focal point from all the data for one poster session The poster session text and graphics fill only three pages not yet formatted for the poster because these authors focused on one key result students had more contacts with teachers in computer classrooms than in traditional classrooms A complete discussion of their work eventually turned into a 300 page manuscript for a book Working From a Drafted Paper M any writers find it easier to draft a complete research paper and then to use that draft to help focus on key points for the poster than to begin with the poster format as a starting point for writing When you start with a draft you can see more easily the range of material you have to choose from and obvious focal points for the poster might jump out Moreover the organization of the draft may help you see clear headings for parts of the poster Once you have your research paper then you can cut parts from the draft to begin compiling text and graphics for the poster Be careful though not to stop at that point The compiled material will still be too dense if you don t revise carefully for the poster format Working From Notes S ome writers prefer to work from notes rather than from a draft of a paper because they see the full draft as too dense or detailed to revise for a poster Especially for a general information poster you may prefer to move from notes directly into drafting chunks for the poster If you draft from notes be sure to state the key pieces of information that need to be included on the poster Focus on those key points and work back and forth between key information and possible headings that cluster the information Question yourself about audience and focus over and over as you flesh out the chunks of your poster And then move into revising to be sure that you have included clear and appropriate information Clark Harris Gary Maricle and Bob Birkenholz offer this advice for drafting from notes A working title and list of facts or points to be communicated should be prepared A sequential ordering of the points and an outline of the presentation is also necessary By making a flow diagram grouping ideas and facts an orderly design may be sketched to organize the flow of information being presented In preparing text a good general guideline is keep it simple The audience will only carry a few ideas away with them no matter how grandiose the presentation The desired message should

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1523&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • The Transport Problem
    poster First find out whether the conference guidelines specify a particular size or display format If no guidelines are listed inquire about what facilities are available to you For instance must you bring your poster completely assembled Must the poster fit on a table or can you use a cork board or wall to display your poster Can you use multiple sheets of posterboard or wall space equivalent to two or three posterboard sheets Next consider how you will get your poster to the presentation If you have to fly will the poster fit overhead How about in the back seat of a car Considering these factors ahead of time means less frustration on the presentation day Pin up Posters W ith the pin up poster each sheet or board is separate These are typically the easiest posters to transport This display format does require attention to formatting details so that each sheet or board is uniform with the others You ll also need more set up time on site particularly if you re pinning sheets to corkboard or the wall Finally you will need to have the sheets in order so that you can pin them up quickly without worrying about layout at this point International conferences typically allow for pin up posters of some sort to alleviate the problems in transporting large posters via airplanes Tabletop Posters L ike the typical Science Fair poster this type stands on a table Typically these posters are approximately two by four feet in size They are held together with tape along the back side or they are bent to create wings that support the posterboard upright Because they fold together they are relatively easy to transport by car but can be awkward on airplanes If you need to travel by air

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1527&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • What to Include
    mislead by using a graphic stick to text instead Don t try to include the most complete explanations of complex ideas on a poster but do use text to convey key points and to announce that you have supplemental handouts Also make your text easy to read by chunking information in bullets lists or short paragraphs and use clear headings throughout Graphics G raphics are more pleasing to look at than paragraph after paragraph of text However if a graphic requires lengthy textual explanations you should reconsider how effective it really is In general a poster graphic should speak for itself A title or heading helps the audience understand its content but overall you should keep written explanations to a minimum Professional Presentation Posters O ften a poster captures several years worth of work The tricky part is determining what information is relevant for your particular presentation If you depict too much information it s likely no one will read your research completely If you depict too little information others may not realize your research s impact Keep in mind your audience as you choose which parts of your research to emphasize Then note these special concerns about text and graphics for the professional poster One of the most common mistakes made when creating professional posters is providing too much text based explanation After looking at numerous posters in a matter of a few hours the last thing your audience wants to do is read your entire paper As a general rule you should present two to three key points from each of your paper s sections Typically a poster always includes an abstract the research questions problems methodologies results summarized and conclusions Under these headings though be sure to include focused information If your results lead to multiple conclusions ask conference organizers to include your work in multiple sessions Also always have copies of your paper with you for those viewers who want more extensive details Only rarely is research so focused and narrow that a poster can include all the data results and conclusions of a professional research project As you choose the information to present on the poster don t rely solely on graphs and tables you ve already drafted for a formal paper on your research Instead look at key information in a new light and choose the best visual forms to present the subset of data and results you decide to highlight on this poster General Information Posters T he danger to avoid when preparing a general information poster is oversimplification Because viewers probably don t know much about the topic many posters oversimplify too much Then the information can be distorted or easily misunderstood As you work on your poster keep asking yourself these questions about content Have I presented the most important information for viewers to walk away with Is there any way that viewers could misunderstand the key points I present Because your poster will be competing with all the others at

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1528&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • Putting It All Together
    out but in general all caps take longer to read than mixed upper and lower case letters Finally always use a laser printer to produce professional looking sheets Handwritten posters appear sloppy and imply that you didn t put much effort into preparing your poster Colors and White Space Colors can help liven up your poster Some experts recommend you use only one color plus black while others suggest you choose several colors When using more than one color consider the overall impression your poster makes Since dark colored objects generally draw the eye to a specific area consider when and why you might need to do this You also might consider using warm colors such as red orange and yellow since these are typically more inviting As you plan your poster be sure to leave ample white space This makes your poster appear less cluttered and helps you distribute information proportionally Clark Harris Gary Maricle and Bob Birkenholz offer this advice for using color in posters When mounting text graphs figures or pictures care should be taken to use contrasting colors to show off the information White paper on white background will cause a white out effect and the text may be lost in the background A good rule of thumb is to always mount light items on darker contrasting colors and mount darker items on white or light colored paper Leave a border from  inch to 1 inch around any artwork or text Be sure to blend colors so they do not clash Harris C Maricle G L Birkenholz B 1990 Poster Presentation The Key to Communication of Ideas Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Agricultural Education American Vocational Association Cincinnati OH December 6 1990 ED333491 General Layout Guidelines Always check with the poster session organizers about layout and format Sometimes the sponsors will set a format to ensure consistency among all posters at the session If you don t have to conform to a set format then consider how you can best communicate your points with the clearest arrangement of poster chunks Moreover to make a good impression your poster must be attractive and informative To help you accomplish this consider the following Provide a title and your name in larger text This helps your audience determine whether or not they are interested in your research Remember that viewers will typically expect information to flow from left to right and from top to bottom If you want to use a different flow be sure to give explicit signals on your poster Use headings and subheadings to label your information Keep these short and to the point since they function as an index Use the same size margins on both graphics and text Don t use glossy paper because reflections will make your content more difficult to read Assembly Supplies B efore buying any supplies check the conference guidelines to know what specific materials to use If the guidelines don t specify

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1529&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • Revising
    advice you can t follow this maxim all the time Shorter sentences do work better than long ones on posters but as you cut sentences be sure not to lose track of how each sentence relates to the next Many writers create short sentences by cutting long sentences apart and taking out connecting words such as because then after therefore while When you take out the connecting words that show the logical relationships between sentences your text can become harder to understand So always revise sentence with overall clarity in mind If only a long sentence can show a complex but necessary relationship between ideas use the long sentence Clarity and Layout Because a poster will often separate chunks of texts or visuals that would appear together in a long paper the layout of a poster can enhance or destroy the clarity of the overall point After you ve drafted chunks of your poster try various arrangements of the chunks on a large tabletop or even the floor Do you need arrows to direct readers eyes from one chunk to the next in a logical sequence Do you need to number headings to show the flow of ideas Should you combine chunks to show clearly a close relationship of the ideas Work back and forth between revising for clarity and arrangement for clarity before you decide that your poster is ready to assemble Readability R eadability refers to the ease of comprehending your poster Typical readability indexes stress using short familiar words and short simple sentences But a poster may need to express complex or difficult material quickly and so short easy words and sentences may not work for your poster A good way to check readability is to read your poster aloud If you can hear your poster and

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1530&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • Example Poster Sessions
    less familiar with the organism to identify There are also nice micrographs of the organism and of a person with the disease Notice the presence of photos on the right side of the poster of the many animals that can serve as hosts for this disease All portions of the poster are nicely presented look professional and the author of each section is easily identified Comment This poster also has a very nice well labeled model Although there are many nice photos of the disease on this poster a micrograph of the organism does not appear to be presented a labeled micrograph of the causative microorganism is a must All portions of the poster are nicely presented look professional and the author of each section is easily identified Notice the labels on each photograph referencing from where the photos were taken this is essential Also notice that each of the maps also references from where they came and contains a legend that helps a viewer to read and understand the map One problem is that no chart explains the demographics of this disease If no chart could be found the author using data obtained from their research should have created a demographic chart Remember if you create a chart or map you must reference where the information was obtained to create your charts or maps Comment This is an unusually creative poster Remember you should make people want to read your poster this poster does that very well However as well as being creative your poster should be informative accurate and adequately referenced This poster has a very nice well labeled model and many interesting photographs each referencing from where the photos were taken Also notice that each of the maps also references from where they came and contains a

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1531&guideid=78 (2015-10-16)
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  • Writing for the Web
    This collection of resources is designed to support and help writers who want to design and code Web sites as well as understand how to write effective and interesting content for them Writing for the Web Category Giving Presentations Show Descriptions Writing Guides Creating and Using Overheads Working in Groups Tweet HELP SITE INDEX ABOUT THIS SITE CONTACT Writing CSU is an open access educational Web site supported by Colorado

    Original URL path: http://writing.colostate.edu/collections/collection.cfm?collectioncategory_active=52 (2015-10-16)
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