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Poster Design: Content

Use to guide to create an effective research, project, or other type of poster.

What goes on my poster?

This page covers content sections that may be included on your research poster. Content you include will depend upon your topic.

Required Content

  • Title
  • Authors and their affiliations

Content for a Research Study

  • Introduction
  • Methods and Materials
  • Results
  • Conclusion(s) / Discussion
  • References (if used)
  • Acknowledgements (optional)

Content for an Event or Other Project

  • Who (author, organization, or community)
  • What (what did you do? how did you do it?)
  • Where (where did you do it?)
  • When (when did it take place?)
  • Why (what are the outcomes, implications, or future possibilities?)
  • References (if used)
  • Acknowledgements (optional)

The order may not be exact, but many people start with a Title and Authors, and then divide the information into 3 columns to be read from the top to bottom and left to right. 

Other possible content options include:

  • Thematic: grouping sections of your poster according to sub-themes
  • Narrative: telling a story about your topic. This is useful for specific events, such as the Civil War. 
  • Questions and Answers: summarizing your main research questions and how you answered them.


  • Consistency is key - your title should be the same as the title of your submitted abstract. 
  • Use attention-grabbing words to summarize your project.


  • List everyone who contributed to the work, as well as their institutions. 
  • If you are a student working with a professor, then the student presenting the posted is listed first and then the faculty member directing the research is listed last. 


  • Provide background information on the area of research.
  • Include a brief mention (also known as a citation) of related work by others. 
  • State your hypothesis, objective, and/or purpose of the project. 

Methods & Materials

This section may differ depending upon if you are in the STEM, social sciences, or humanities fields.

This area should explain:

  • How did you do your project?
  • What did you use to create your project or perform your experiment?
  • What steps did you follow?
  • What materials did you use?

It can be helpful to include a picture or figure showing the setup or experimental design, as well as the materials used. 

Results, Discussion, Topic Summary

  • This should be the biggest section of the poster!
  • Write about what you learned from your research project. 
  • Include appropriate figures and/or tables such as graphs or photographs. 


  • Concisely list the conclusions drawn from the results.
  • Focus on what key things were learned, and why the results are important. 
  • Talk about future directions, such as what should follow from your work, and how the current research can be expanded upon. 


If you referenced or used someone else's work, you must cite them. See the guide below on proper citation formats. 


  • This section is optional!
  • List any funding sources. 
  • Acknowledge technical or other non-financial support by individuals (unless they are already listed in the author section).