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Poster Presentations @ Pitt: Getting Started

This guide is designed to help those preparing a poster presentation for a course assignment or a research display


This guide is intended primarily to assist Pitt students and researchers in the sciences with preparing for a poster presentation. It will point you to resources that can help you design and prepare your poster and presentation and also to understand what to expect during the poster session.

Before You Start

Before starting your poster, be sure to get all the necessary instructions and requirements for your final product. Check with your instructor if it's for a class. Organizations hosting poster sessions will normally have the information on their web site.

Some things you will need to know:

  • size and materials for the poster
  • any information required to be included on the poster
  • any formatting requirements
  • will the whole poster need to be printed, or is posting separate pages on a background acceptable?
  • any instructions for printing the poster
  • due date for the poster
  • if a formal oral presentation is required

What is a Poster Session?

Posters are ways of communicating your work visually and concisely to interested viewers.  As viewers walk through the poster display area, they may skim your poster, stop to read, or ask questions.   A poster session is a good opportunity, not only to explain and promote your research or project, but to get feedback on it, make connections with researchers working in related areas, and possibly even meet a future employer.

Often held in conjunction with scientific conferences, poster sessions are an important part of the scientific communication process. They allow you to  reach a large audience more informally than a prepared research talk and to interact directly with interested viewers.

Why Do a Poster Session?

You might be preparing for a poster session for a number of reasons:

  • a class assignment
  • an undergraduate or graduate research display
  • a promotional event highlighting work done at the University
  • a scientific conference or professional meeting

Regardless of the purpose, the same basic principles of poster design and presentation apply. Some details may vary depending on the requirements of the session organizer and whether you are presenting for a class assignment or for a conference.


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