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Behavioral Neuroscience: Research Posters

A guide for BNS students

What is a Research Poster?

"A research poster is an organized, visual display of your research project. Typically, you present your poster in a poster session at a conference or seminar. Conference or seminar attendees will walk by your poster, study its contents, and ask you questions. You should be prepared to answer questions and to explain your project one-on-one frequently throughout the poster session.

An effective poster:

  • Presents your research in an organized and visually pleasing way. Posters typically contain both text and graphics (charts, tables, lists, etc.).
  • Is self-explanatory. In the case that you aren’t standing by your poster, or if you are otherwise engaged in conversation, anyone walking by should be able to view your poster and understand your project.
  • Is easy to read. Be sure your text and graphics are large enough that multiple people standing a few feet away can read your poster simultaneously.
  • Is concise. Your poster should summarize your project quickly and efficiently. Avoid long paragraphs. Bullet points are often very effective. Figure out how you might present parts of your project through graphics. You should be able to explain your poster from start to finish in ten to fifteen minutes."

From UCLA undergraduate research

Essential Elements

Required elements

  • Title
  • Author(s) with affiliations and emails

Highly recommended elements

If your poster is a representation of a research study, you will want to include the following sections

  • Introduction or objective
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions and/or discussion
  • Acknowledgements

If your poster is a representation of an event or other kind of project, you may want to forego formal abstract sections in favor of the 5 Ws

  • Who (introduce the 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?)
  • Acknowledgements

Suggested elements

  • Your affiliation's logo (such as Centre College's logo available on the Media Resources page)
  • Relevant graphs and charts
  • Relevant pictures

Suggested size and format

  • 36" x 48"
  • At least 300 dpi
  • .PDF (for print or digital)
  • JPEG (for use in PowerPoints)

Other Resources

Poster Templates

While we encourage you to develop your own poster template (and, of course, to strictly follow the conference/class guidelines), below you will find some sample poster templates in a PowerPoint format.  Feel free to download these templates and populate them with your own information, charts, and pictures.

Font choices

Appropriate font examples

  • Arial
  • Tahoma
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman


  • Avoid using more than 2 or 3 different fonts in one poster.
  • Avoid elaborate, difficult-to-read, or cartoon-like fonts.

Font Size

  • The body of your poster should have a minimum 36 point font. 
  • Viewers should be able to read your smallest text from a few feet away.
  • The title of your poster should have a 50+ font size, depending on the size of your poster and the length of the title.
  • Do not use all uppercase letters for the title or body of the poster.