Why present a poster?
You may be required to develop a poster as a requirement for a research course. But there are other reasons to take on the challenge. The process can help focus your thoughts for producing a manuscript for publication. Presenting a poster at a meeting helps with networking and “developing a name” for yourself. It can lead to collaboration opportunities. And, not least, it can justify institutional funding to attend a meeting.
Where and What?
To identify potential meetings, watch listervs or professional journals for “Call for Participation” notices. Read and review the proposal guidelines and selection criteria carefully.
Your topic should fit with the meeting’s audience and theme. It should be something that you are excited about and that will stimulate interest and discussion. A review of past poster session topics and the relevant literature will suggest whether or not the topic has been covered to saturation or whether your colleagues and peers are still interested.
The conference/meeting sponsor will issue guidelines, typically available at the meeting website, for the appearance of the poster, what should be included, time frames for setting it up / taking it down and when the presenter must be available, how to submit proposals, etc.
Writing the Abstract
Presenting a poster or paper at a scientific conference is almost always proceeded by the submission of an abstract on the work to be presented, and the abstracts usually go through a peer review process. These concise descriptions will vary according to the Abstract Guidelines of the particular meeting (Read them!) but most will use the same essentials: Background (Why the work is significant), Objectives (What did you try to do?), Methods (How did you go about doing it?), Results (What did you find?), Conclusion (What does this mean?).
Here are some resources to help you write effective abstracts: