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EIU Department of Psychology

Poster Content

You are not bound to APA style, but you must be clear about whose work came before yours. Be honest about the positive and negative sides of what you have done. You do not need to follow a rigid format – you should use numbered lists or bulleted points instead of paragraphs. [Note: Your instructor may have different directions for you on the content of your poster]


  • It is a good idea to use numbered lists or bulleted points instead of paragraphs.
  • You can use tables or circles and arrows to illustrate your theories or research design.
  • It is a visual presentation, not a written one; therefore, the visual layout and components of your poster are very important.
    • However, remember that you are showing off more of your scientist side, as opposed to your artistic side, at this event.
    • Don’t be tempted to spend more time on form than substance.
    • If your poster looks as though it could belong in a kindergarten classroom – you need to scale back on colors and graphics!


  • Use the same abstract that you prepared for your written research report. This is the only section that can remain unchanged. The abstract may also be printed in smaller font.
  • Your abstract will be printed in the Program Book; so, spend some time on it.


  • The introduction or rationale will probably need to be scaled back from the one you prepared for the written report. Aim for the gist of your rationale; but don’t forget to include the purpose and significance of your study and hypotheses. You will also need some research literature.
  • Here are some ways to highlight applicable literature:
    • Discuss the first study to address your topic in its current form. Then describe a very relevant recent one, especially if you are replicating and extending it. There may be more than one very similar to yours; mention the most similar.
    • Discuss the competing theoretical positions surrounding your work. Then describe the study that most resembles your method.
    • Provide a general explanation without referencing how this problem has been addressed traditionally in research. Then explain, with references if appropriate, how you will diverge from this tradition and why.
  • Keep the introduction as short as possible; try to stay within the textbox size on the templates provided. If there is pertinent information that you want your audience to read, make it visually distinct from the rest. You can accomplish this by using bullets, frames, bold italics, or color.


  • Instead of using a single Methods section, you can divide it into various sections such as Participants, Materials, Procedure, and Design.
  • If you choose to have a materials section, you may want to post the materials themselves (or portions of them). For example, if you showed pictures to the participants, you may post them; or if they read something, you may put up a sample. However, do not use miscellaneous cutouts or random objects, as this will make your poster seem unprofessional.
  • In a brief narrative of the procedure, you may include information such as the number of participants, the design, and a brief description of the task, the grouping variables, and the nature of the control condition.
  • Bullets or numbered lists are a great way to present information in the methods section. 


  • The results section should be integrated with the rest of the presentation by showing mostly tables and figures. In other words, don’t just type a “Results” section such as you would find in a final written report. Visually display your results; use captions underneath the figures or tables to explain significant findings and the analysis required. You could type an analyses section if important and/or have a summary of your results.


  • Instead of a discussion, posters usually have conclusions. The difference is that conclusions are less speculative and more directly tied to the hypothesis and results. There is no room for implications or suggestions for future research. Conclusions can be a few numbered points that you make about the relationship between the results and the hypothesis.
  • Use bullet points to separate ideas such as the relationship between what you hypothesized and the results.
  • Include a “take home message,” which is the one point about your study readers should take away with them.


  • If you referred to other people’s work, you will have to develop a reference section. This section can be prepared in smaller sized font, and placed at the very end of the poster (bottom, right).

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