OWL at Purdue Logo

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

Contributors:Dan Kenzie, Mary McCall.

The following resource comes from the Purdue Writing Lab's SURF workshop on designing scientific research posters. The SURF program (Summer Undergraduate Research Foundation) is a program targeting Purdue University undergraduate students with opportunities to conduct, write up, and present research during the summer semesters.

SURF Workshop Resources: Designing Scientific Research Posters

Scientific Posters: A Brief Introduction 

A scientific poster presents a research project in a format that is more concise and more visually appealing than a full report. It is often prepared as a poster presentation at a conference, where a presenter stands beside the poster and discusses his or her research with attendees in a room with many other posters and presenters. However, a poster is sometimes displayed for attendees to look at without the researcher present.

The abstract can be a helpful template for planning a poster’s content: an introduction to the study and its purpose, methods, results, and conclusions. Also like an abstract, a poster should not contain excessive detail or substantial passages from a manuscript. Its purpose is to communicate the key points of a study in a way that is accessible and interesting to a range of attendees who may not be experts on the topic. A crucial difference between a poster and an abstract, then, is that a poster incorporates data visualization and visual design elements to generate interest and communicate information effectively.

The PowerPoint connected to this resource serves as a very brief introduction to designing effective scientific posters.  Users of this resource may also be interested in the OWL’s pages on report abstracts and visual rhetoric.

Writing Report Abstracts

Visual Rhetoric