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Research Posters

Welcome to the Undergraduate Research Network study guide. Within this guide you will find all the necessary content and resources to help you construct your research poster.

Presenting data

Using images and graphs

Images and graphs are a great way to convey information to your audience and break up your text. Here are our top tips:

  • Don't have too many graphs! Although it can be tempting to fill your poster with all of your findings, it's better to only include the essentials. What graph(s) showcase your key finding? What key data could be presented in a table? Two graphs or figures on a poster will almost always be more effective than 3 or 4.
  • Keep your graphs and charts simple - 3D charts can be difficult to read and should be avoided.
  • Ensure that you label each graph/image on your poster with a clear title.
  • Try to think about how you might convey information through visualisations other than graphs - get creative! You could use infographics, colour coding or icons to capture your data effectively. 

Here's an example from our 2019 poster showcase that used colour in a creative way to communicate findings:

Use the magnifying glass icons to zoom in on different key features from the poster and read our notes on how they effectively communicate meaning to the reader:

Always remember to cite any images that you use (see the Library Guide on referencing and acknowledging images, illustrations, media and figures). Just like in an academic essay, all posters should include an APA-formatted reference list (usually in a much smaller font than the rest of the poster!)

Layout and structure

Layout - it's important to consider how your layout will influence the reading order of your poster. In English we generally read from left to right, and top to bottom. This means posters are often arranged into columns of text. However, there are still are number of designs questions/pointers for you to consider:

  • Will your poster be portrait or landscape?
  • How many columns?
  • How will you use images/graphs to break up the columns?
  • Do you want breaks to be symmetrical? Asymmetrical? How does this influence the way information is conveyed in your poster?
  • Use titles and subheadings to guide your reader. Likewise don't be afraid to use numbers or arrows to help signpost reading order - remember your poster should be easy to read and accessible!
  • Remember to leave some space on your poster. Filling up every part of your poster with text and graphics will deter your potential audience because it's too hard to read.

Landscape layouts (2 columns, 3 columns, ‘spider diagram’)



Portrait layouts (2 columns, 3 columns, ‘alternative’ layout)



Concept - once you've decided on the content of your poster it's time to think about how you're going to arrange it. Grab a pen and paper and sketch out a rough design for your poster. This is your opportunity to play around with different designs and consider how you might organise your poster to help convey essential information and grab the audiences' attention. You might want to use the theme or topic of the poster to inform its design - for example, if you were designing a poster about eating habits, you might arrange your poster into triangular segments to mimic pizza slices or portion sizes.

Size – The standard size for a research poster is A1 (594mm x 841mm) – this is the equivalent of 8 sheets of A4 in a 2x4 grid. You can use either portrait or landscape orientation. A good starting point for designing your poster is to block out the different sections on a blank page to get a n overview of which sections to include, their relative sizes, and to establish a reading order (see our tutorial video for more on blocking your layout).