Communicating your research with peer students and researchers can take many forms. It can be a research article you write for publication but can also be an oral presentation or a poster you present at the end of your class or at a professional conference. You may also choose to communicate through social media if you have a good crowd of targeted audience there. Preparing a research poster is a good start point for you to explore your own style of communicating science.
6.1 Components of a Research Poster and How to Plan for Making One
Microsoft Powerpoint is a good tool for the task and you may also use more advanced tool such as Adobe Illustrator if you have access to it. No matter what kind of tools you use, the most important idea is to tell your research story with a clear and easy to follow visual guide. The suggested components of a research poster include:
● Authors and affiliations
● Conference/program details (optional)
● Abstract (optional)
● Materials (if any) and Methods
● Future Research Directions (optional)
● Reference (optional)
● Acknowledgement (optional)
Before you start, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is my audience? How much do they know about my topic?
- What is my research question?
- What is the take-home message I want to deliver?
- What materials do I have or will I have for each section of my poster?
- How can I use visual ways to show my work?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the content and design of your poster.
6.2 Poster Design Tips
This figure below shows a popular way to design your research poster.
Here are a few tips on preparing a good poster.
●Start with figures, visual communication
●Images should be fairly simple, no ambiguous or meaningless features
●Use of color and form to guide the eye
●Consistent overall formatting but clearly distinguish and set off different components
●Flow of information important, clear path, from top left to bottom right
●Clearly identify what is the main point, front and center
●Use heavy lines and oversized labels for chemical structures, bring the area of interest to the front view
●Use flow chart to show your methodology instead of long paragraphs
●Use text wisely and concisely with a font size allowing people to see from at least 3 feet away
●Always cite references used during your research in a consistent style
●Prepare a 1-minute story and a 5-minute story to talk about your poster before presenting it for audience having different levels of interests
You can learn more about making posters and other means of communicating chemistry from Marin Robinson11. For examples of good poster presentations, see:
Compound Interest (http://www.compoundchem.com/)