Academic Posters

75-minute session
Individual and group work
45-minute review and critique session

As the culmination of training in methods, students work in groups to synthesise complex data from both quantitative and qualitative research to produce conference-quality posters. The project concludes with scoring and discussion by peers and facilitators.

Watch this video to prepare for the session:

Download the curriculum for this session.

By the end of this assignment, students can:

  • Synthesise qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Summarise and convey research findings in verbal and visual forms.
  • Use Microsoft PowerPoint to create a poster.
  • Critically evaluate poster designs.

As coordinator
Ensure that students in small, multidisciplinary groups (about four members in each) complete the background sessions before designing posters, including working with the chosen datasets.
Identify, brief, and engage experienced facilitator/s to lead the poster-design session and later the evaluation exercise.

Prepare a PowerPoint poster template and send it to all students.
Share “Trips and Tricks” handout.
Collect and display examples of good and flawed posters for discussion. You may want to put them up on the wall for viewing and discussion.
Prepare scoresheets and print copies for all students and facilitators multiplied by the number of groups. (Each individual needs a separate scoresheet for each poster)
Organise to print the groups’ completed posters.

Students in multidisciplinary groups
Bring the data sets they have already analysed.
Set aside time to work on their poster.

All students as well as facilitators assess the posters. The coordinator calculates the final scores. Each poster is assessed by peers and facilitators according to the criteria on the scoresheet.

Poster Scoresheet

Criterion Explanation Mark out of maximum
1. Title Title reflects the study focus and design 5
2. Background Background is clear and focused. Based on evidence. 10
3. Aim & objectives Study’s research question, aim and/or objectives clearly defined 10
4. Methodology Both quantitative and qualitative methods described with sufficient detail 10 (5/method)
5. Data management & analysis Both methods covered as well as mixed-methods considerations explained 15 (5/method)
6. Results Key results aligned presented, aligned with study aim 20
7. Use of tables & visuals At least one quantitative and qualitative visual incorporated into presentation; quality of the visuals 10
8. Conclusions 10
9. Overall presentation Poster demonstrates good use of colours, layout, font and visuals for an overall look 10
Total 100


Time Step Who
5 minutes 1. Introduce the communication of findings Facilitator
30 minutes 2. Identify features of good and bad posters Facilitator, all
10 minutes 3. Demonstrate a PowerPoint poster template Facilitator
30 minutes 4. Brainstorm and plan poster production Groups
Own time 5. Design a poster Each group
45 minutes 6. Critique the posters All, facilitator
Step 1: Introduce the communication of findings
20 minutes

Explain that, as researchers, one of our responsibilities is to communicate our research findings effectively to funders, study populations, other researchers, and the public. Scientific posters are one way to communicate findings.

Step 2. Identify features of good and bad posters
30 minutes

Viewing the examples you prepared, invite students to discuss what makes a good poster and what makes a bad poster.

Step 3. Demonstrate a PowerPoint poster template
10 minutes

Show the students how PowerPoint can be used to create a poster, or invite students with experience to demonstrate.

Step 4. Brainstorm and plan poster production
30 minutes

Form multidisciplinary groups of four students per group. Each group brainstorms on how to go about representing the data and designing the poster. They allocate tasks between themselves and a timeline to meet the deadline.

Step 5. Brainstorm and plan poster production
Own time

Between sessions, each group designs a poster. They submit the pdf to you by the deadline, so that you can have the posters printed before Step 6.

Step 6. Critique the posters
45 minutes

Display the printed posters. Allow enough space for people to view easily. Explain the process and distribute scoresheets to the students and all available faculty members. Once everyone has viewed and recorded their votes on the score sheets, an experienced guest facilitator leads the full group from one poster to the next, inviting constructive comments, and pointing out any features that others have not remarked on. At the same time, a coordinator or facilitator, tallies up the scores and announces the winning team at the end of the session.


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