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PSCI 2306: American Government (for PSCI majors)

Library research guide for PSCI 2306

Introduction to Academic Posters

Gone are the days of cut-outs glued to poster board or tri-fold boards. Academic posters are professionally printed tools that help convey original research to colleagues and experts.

Image of academic research poster on the use of social bookmarking by health and social care students

, 2010, "First draft of research poster for eHealth 2010: The use of Social Bookmarking by health and social care students," CC BY 2.0,

Why do academic posters matter?

Academics take research posters to conferences to discuss their research and projects with groups of people to determine how the research will be accepted by a larger research community as well as see what needs to be improved in the project for professional talks or presentation and article publications. The poster serves as a conversation starter between the researcher and readers/attendees during Q&A poster exhibits sessions while being passively on display for other to learn about the research after Q/A sessions with other attendees is over. 

Presenting posters at poster sessions at conferences are a great way for students to begin networking with professionals and enter conference networks. This assignment is going to introduce you to the "conference experience" by having you create, print, and present an academic-/conference-style poster

How do Academics Design Posters?

Academics design their research posters digitally, often using free PowerPoint templates to organize their content into 2-4 columns. There is usually a section that introduces the topic, a simplified literature summary, methods, data results, and discussion. However, some professionals use free Web 2.0 Tools like PiktoChart and Canva to create posters with more graphic design elements and/or that may ignore the column layout. Dynamic, non-columned research posters are great for research that doesn't fit into the neat sections of the column style standard. Such print or digital research presentations are often referred to as infographics.

Both styles have advantages, as long as you avoid the cardboard, scissors, and glue. Discuss with your professor on what style they want you to use for this assignment. 

This guide provides are a list of resources for you use to help your poster creation process. If you need help navigating these resources or have questions about poster creation, discussion them your professor, TA, or Political Science Librarian, Brea Henson!

Getting Started

Answer these three questions:

  1. What is the most important/interesting/astounding finding from my research project?

  2. How can I visually share my research with "conference" attendees? Should I use charts, graphs, photos, images?

  3. What kind of information can I convey during my talk that will complement my poster?

What Makes a Poster Good?

  •  Words need to readable from long distances, up to 10 feet way

  • Use a short title that will capture your audience from a distance and encourage them to come read your poster in more detail

  • Word count of about 350 to 850 words

  • Text is clear and to the point

  • Use bullets, numbering, and headlines make it easy to read

    • Headings can include introduction, literature review, method, data analysis, results, discussion or conclusion, and references

  • Effective use of graphics, color, and fonts

    • Graphics should illustrate qualitative or quantitative data and/or provide visual aid to the research story represented in the text

    • Consider accessibility standards when selecting colors (high contrast and color-blind accessible) and fonts (san serif for body text and san serif/serif for headings)

  • Consistent and clean layout

    • Use free templates available online that you can edit in PowerPoint, Canva, ect. 

    • See examples of undergraduate posters from 2021 and 2020 for UNT Scholars Day

    • See example of graduate student posters

  • Includes references, acknowledgments, your name and institutional affiliation

Printing Posters on Campus

Standard posters are around 36"X48" printed on matboard or foamboard. If traveling on a plane with your poster, consider a roll laminate, vinyl, or fabric (if available). 

You don't need to go to Office Max, Staples, or FedEx Kincos to print your posters.

UNT provides printing services for students at a very low cost at Design Works in the Union. Design Works processes requests as quickly as possible. "A three day turn around on print or shop jobs can be expected during our busier times. We cannot print copy-written images." See their website for details. 


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