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Summer Research Institute 2019: Making a Presentation Poster

Here are the specific requirements for the SRI 2019 posters.  These are designed to make creating your poster as painless as possible! We expect you to spend one to two days to prepare your poster, not more.

  • Use this poster template.  It will be introduced and explained at Poster Prep Workshop I, to be held on Wednesday, July 10th, 5:30-7:00pm, in 202 Altschul. Attendance at the workshop is strongly recommended, as it will save you time in the long run!
  • The poster is in PowerPoint, and is 28 in. wide by 42 in. high, in portrait mode.
  • Don't make the margins narrower than 0.5 in, because the edges won't print well if you do.  (You can remove the border on the template at the end, if you want - it's just there for your guidance.)
  • Use the text boxes that are shown on the template, as far as possible.  The text boxes shown are meant as helpful guidance, feel free to change their sizes but do preserve their logical order.
  • Keep your poster file size small. If you go over 10MB, you will increase your chances of running into jams, clogs and errors printing. Image size is what will make a poster file too large to print. Too large files often are related to images that were imported at much too high resolution (the template will automatically reduce the resolution of your images to 330dpi).
  • Don't use background color in your poster, as this makes it much more expensive for us to print. However, make use of color if it clarifies your figures. 
  • Save your poster using the naming convention SRI2019_department_LastnameF.pptx (so an Environmental Science poster created by Mary Smith would be called SRI2019_environmental_SmithM.pptx).
  • Save your poster both as a pptx file and as a pdf file, and submit both the pptx and the pdf files on Canvas (drafts by Tuesday, July 16th, at midnight and final versions by Thursday, July 25th, at midnight).
  • Poster Prep Workshop 2 will be held on Wednesday, July 17th, 5:30-7:00pm, in 202 Altschul.  Attendance at this workshop is also highly recommended.  You'll have the chance to present your poster draft to a small group of other students and receive feedback. 
  • You can use this SRI Poster checklist to make sure that you've included all the important elements before you submit your draft.  We will use this checklist in Poster Prep Workshop 2 to critique each other's posters.

Text boxes

  • TitleDescribe your project in the most concise way possible. It can be the question you are asking, or your main finding. The title will need to catch the interest of the audience so they stop and talk to you. Use plain English, no field-specific jargon.
  • Introduction: Use the minimum amount of background information to get viewers interested in your research, placing your issue in the context of previous work.
  • Goals/Hypotheses: State your research goals and hypotheses clearly and concisely.
  • Methods: Include photographs, labeled drawings, flowcharts, etc., to illustrate your experimental design, and mention statistical analyses that you used.
  • (Preliminary) Results and Discussion: Use clearly labeled charts, graphs and photos, with captions that are engaging and convey important findings, and refer to the figures in the text, making it clear why these data or images are important.
  • Conclusions/Next Steps: State whether your hypothesis was supported and why your results are interesting; say how your findings relate to other published work and to the real world; suggest what you think are the best next steps in this research.
  • References: Include only one or two references, and make sure you follow the style guide for your field.
  • Departmental Affiliation: Give the name of your department at the bottom of the poster (as well as putting your departmental affiliation and your mentor's departmental affiliation at the top). This will make it easier for us to sort the posters.  At the bottom, please put  your (intended) major’s  department:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Environmental Science
    • Neuroscience and Behavior
    • Physics and Astronomy
    • Psychology
    • ...
  • Date

Inserting images and charts

  • At least 50% of the space on the poster should be images or graphs. A good rule of thumb is about 50/50 text and images.
  • Each figure or image must have a caption that explains what is shown; charts and graphs must have a key or legend.  Refer to your figures by number in the text.
  • Graphs and tables should not have titles; they don't need them, as what is shown in the graph is already stated in the caption.
  • Save your images as file type JPG, JPEG, PNG or GIF.  JPGs handle gradients and color transitions extremely well but aren't so good for sharp contrasts and thin lines like those that might be present in a chart or a pen sketch.  PNGs handle fine lines and sharp contrasts better than JPGs.
  • When using photographs, try to make them 200-300DPI (dots per inch).  If they have small number of DPI, they will look fuzzy when enlarged and printed.  If the DPI is a lot higher and the file size is too big, you can use the Picture Tools - Compress menu to compress them. The template will automatically compress your graphics to 330 DPI.
  • Don't use tables that are more than 3 or 4 rows by 3 or 4 columns, as they are too hard to decipher quickly.
  • If you want to use images that you find on the Internet, make sure they aren't covered by copyright restrictions, and give an appropriate attribution. (For help, see the article on Fair Use from the Columbia University Copyright Advisory Office.) If citing an image from a scholarly paper, you can give a citation to the article in your references.