Scientific Posters & Presentations: More than what meets the eye - Kiana Gibson

Victoria Fritz from the University of Guelph Library Learning Services recently delivered an informative and engaging presentation about Scientific Posters. Admittedly, I underestimated the amount of time, attention to detail, and considerations involved in creating a Scientific Poster, so this session provided me with many useful strategies and resources.

First, Victoria offered some tips to ensure our posters are visually appealing. For example, she demonstrated how to create the appropriate dimensions on PowerPoint, and how to format text boxes so the alignment and spacing is equal. Although these details may seem minor, they are key to creating a visually clean, organized, and easy-to-read poster. And considering how much effort we’ve invested into our research, it’s crucial to ensure that students, staff and faculty can easily engage with our findings. She also suggested that we use visuals (such as graphs or images) to replace text when possible, as information presented with minimal words is often more easily processed, and therefore can serve as a useful tool to explain concepts or summarize results.

When it comes to presenting, Victoria insisted that we practice presenting our research in 1 minute. This forces us as authors to summarize the most important concepts, theories, hypotheses, results and conclusions from our project, so that the audience is provided with a basic, yet holistic understanding of the research. Since we’ll be presenting online this year, she insisted on the importance of looking directly at the Webcam when speaking instead of at our screen. It is already more difficult to capture the audience’s attention through a computer, so virtual “eye contact” is a key strategy to foster online engagement. 

Upon further inquiry, I have discovered a wealth of literature that explores the many facets of delivering scientific research effectively. This can be accessed on PubMed using search terms such as “Communicating Effectively”, “Visual Presentations”, and “Presenting Scientific Findings”.  Overall, this webinar provided a multitude of strategies, tips and tricks that I will implement both in CORE program and throughout the remainder of my academic career.