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Process Overview

How to prepare to present at URD.


Carefully review the FAQs to your right and the guidance regarding poster design below. 


Reflect on the key points related to your project that you want to communicate to the URD audience.


Draft and revise poster.


Solicit comments on poster; revise and polish based on any feedback received.


Think through how you'll summarize the project when speaking to URD attendees and consider questions that you might receive at the event.


Invite your faculty research advisor, other researchers, friends, and family to come to the event.


What does presenting at URD entail?

You will be part of a large “poster session.” Presenters stand by posters highlighting their work at poster sessions while attendees circulate the room, view the posters, and engage the presenters in dialogue.


You do not need to prepare a formal talk, but we recommend you think in advance about the types of questions you might receive from attendees about your project and potential responses to those questions.


Think through a brief (1-2 minute) summary of the project in advance, as it is common for attendees at poster sessions to begin a conversation with a presenter by requesting an overview of the presenter’s project.

What topics should be covered by my poster?

Your poster should do the following:

  • Identify the core question or problem that your project engages.

  • Make clear how the project relates to the broader literature in your field.

  • Describe the methods used.

  • Share key results from your project. 

  • Comment on the implications of your results for our understanding.

What design guidelines should I follow when putting together my poster?

Please see the section on poster design below.


When I prepare my poster and think about answering questions from attendees, what type of audience(s) should I have in mind?

Like your abstract for the event, your poster should be prepared with an audience of specialists in your academic field in mind. In other words, the poster should be designed for an audience that knows your discipline or area of study well but may not know much about your specific research question.


The goal is for you to have the experience of developing a poster that would be appropriate for presentation at an academic conference in your field. Attendees will come from a wide range of fields; as you prepare to discuss your work at the event, you should consider how to explain your project to people from a wide range of perspectives, ranging from an expert in your field to someone with little knowledge of it. 

Who should I ask for feedback on my poster before I finalize it?

We recommend asking your research advisor to comment on your poster. If you also worked with a graduate student or other senior researcher on your project, we strongly recommend that you ask them for feedback, too. Bear in mind that requests for feedback should be sent well in advance of the date that you plan to finalize your poster.


General Guidelines


The Basics

  • URD posters should be either:

    • 48" by 36" (Landscape) or

    • 36" by 48" (Banner)

  • The title of the project and the names of all student research group members participating in URD should be listed at the top of the poster. 

  • You can include your project advisor and other research collaborators not involved in URD.

  • Please see below if you want to start the design process with a simple poster template. 


Poster Organization

  • Research posters are divided into columns and titled sections

  • To learn more about how researchers in your discipline organize posters, speak to your faculty research advisor or review an online poster gallery from a conference in your field.

Importance of Visual Elements

  • Viewers at URD will likely only spend a few moments reviewing your poster before asking you questions. This means visual elements like graphs, charts, images, timelines, and maps will be critical to communicating with your audience about your project. 

  • Be sure all visual elements are high-resolution and do not raise copyright issues.

  • Avoid crowding of visual elements and text - ensure your poster has adequate blank space.

Use of Text

  • Less is more.  Your audience wants to quickly see and understand, not read.

  • Audience members may find sans serif fonts (e.g., Arial and Helvetica) more accessible to read.

  • Choose font and background colors carefully and pay attention to contrast.

  • We recommend the following font sizes for your poster:

    • Title: At least 72 pt. 

    • Section titles and authors’ names: At least 46 pt.

    • Body: At least 24 pt.


Use of Sources

  • Your poster should focus on your work, not on reviewing the work of other researchers.

  • When you do reference other research studies, include relevant citations.


Software Considerations


Sample Posters

As you consider how to design your poster, you will likely find it helpful to spend some time reviewing posters produced by other researchers.


You can find sample posters to consider:

  • in this guide (PDF) from Carnegie Mellon’s Student Academic Support Center.

  • on this website developed by George Hess of North Carolina State University with Kathryn Tonsey and Leon Liegel.

  • in this collection of undergraduate research posters maintained by the University of California-Davis’s Undergraduate Research Center. This collection contains posters representing a wide range of disciplines and approaches to design.


These sources also include commentaries on the strengths and/or weaknesses of the posters they highlight. You may not fully agree with these commentaries, but reading them can alert you to issues you wish to consider when designing your poster. 

Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint Templates

URD poster templates for Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint are provided below. Use of these templates is optional. If you do not use a template to build your poster, please be sure to adjust the size of your document to the correct dimensions at the beginning of the process.

Google Slides Templates

PowerPoint Templates (PPTX files)

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