Discussing research – day 1: how to structure a poster presentation

Discussing research – day 1: how to structure a poster presentation

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Planning a poster

Writing a poster in English as a second language is a second language is much easier if you have a clear idea of what you are aiming to do. The English will come more naturally. So be clear and spend some time planning before you write anything in English.

  • Writing a poster in English is a great way to start your English scientific writing
  • A poster presentation is also a great way to start presenting your research at a conference and to get you used to speaking in English to others about your research

The main aim of a poster is to get people to stop to talk to you about your research so it needs to be clear:

  • Needs to be easy to read and see the key messages from a distance
  • Use colours, but not too many and must be complimentary
  • You want people to stop and talk to you, so think about who the main audience will be at the conference you are attending – what message will they be interested in?
  • Minimise the amount of text to make only the key messages
  • As with any scientific writing use a clear structure
The poster structure
  • Your poster needs a clear and succinct title that will interest your audience
  • Introduction or background
  • Objectives and / or your question
  • Results
  • Discussion or conclusion
  • Include one to three key figures, but not too many in one poster
  • You could include a summary section with figures
  • Use of bullets and headlines make it easy to read
  • Include your name, affiliation and any acknowledgements
Poster presentation
Example poster layout

Practice speaking at a conference and discussing your research or other research in your field is important. You can do this with colleagues before attending the conference. This will help you to work out what sort of questions you are likely to get and prepare answers. Doing a poster presentation will help you to prepare for bigger presentations later.

You may be able to find discussions about your area of research online to listen to, such as this one in respiratory medicine on the management of acute pulmonary embolism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo3URHk0O9U&t=36s

Can you find something similar in your field?

Try the short multiple-choice quiz below.

Lesson tags: discussing research, English for scientists, structuring a poster
Back to: English for Scientists