I’ve been doing research through the Veterinary Summer Research Training Program which culminates in getting to present my findings at the 2019 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium. This has been an experience unlike any other and one of the things I’ve had to figure out how to do was create a research poster! A research poster puts together all of your information about your topic into one concise area for you to easily present from. So, what all does a research poster need to include?
- Abstract/Introduction. This is a short segment that explains why your research is relevant. Perhaps you are studying a debilitating disease and you want to include statistics on how many people or animals are affected. Or it can give background on previous findings which will explain why you’ve chosen to do this particular experiment.
- Materials & Methods. This is just what it sounds like. Write about how you performed your experiment. In a published paper, this section would be detailed enough that someone reading the paper would be able to perfectly duplicate the experiment. Since this M&M is just for a poster, you don’t have to be quite so in-depth as poster space is quite limited.
- Results. This should tell about what you’ve found from performing your experiment and analyzing data. For my poster, this is where I included charts, figures, and images to back up my claims. Most of what I actually talk about during my presentation comes from this section of the poster.
- Conclusion. Your conclusion is a brief summary of all of your findings. Additionally, you can include information about what you could have changed to make the experiment better, or potential areas of future research.
- Sources. Don’t forget to include references to any statistics or published data you used in the abstract or elsewhere in your poster. Since space on the poster is limited, it’s best to stick to only a couple sources if possible.
Other things to consider when writing a poster is the color scheme of your poster and font size and style. You want to pick nice contrasting colors that are easy to read and distinguish. It’s typically best to avoid dark backgrounds as they may come out differently on paper than how they appeared on your computer screen. For font, make sure it’s easy to read and large enough that it can be read from several feet away.
Doing summer research has been an exciting opportunity and one I will not soon forget. Conducting research, preparing my data, and presenting my findings has been an excellent learning experience for me. I’m so glad I’ve had this opportunity to explore a new facet of veterinary medicine!