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Biological Sciences: 03-346: Experimental Neuroscience: Content

This guide provides links, tutorials and tips to finding and accessing scholarly research in biology and neuroscience.

The Basic Format of a Poster

Posters have the same basic components as a manuscript (i.e. introduction, methods, results, conclusions, references, acknowledgements). They don't need to have an abstract because the whole poster can be though of as a visual abstract.  It's a summary of your project that uses a combination of text and graphics. Not including an abstract will free up space that can be used for other content.  

There is not one correct way to organize a poster but typically the sections are chunked and the poster is organized in columns. Below is a common format. The results will be the major component and there are typically 1 to 5 results sections depending on the project.


The benefit of this format is that it has logical flow. Posters are often read in the following direction.

Example Posters

Content: the Title

  • 1-2 lines that describes the problem being studied
  • Mention the organism/model system being studied in the title
  • Mention the technique if its important to the study
  • Commonly only first word is capitalized

Content: the Introduction or Background

  • One or two short paragraphs or bulleted points
  • States the research question and why it is important
  • The objectives of your research or the hypotheses being tested
  • Mentions model system being used
  • Cites related studies (2-3 references that would be listed in the References section)

Content: the Methods and Materials

  • Briefly describe the experimental methods and materials used
  • Only write about methods that were used to get the results
  • Use schematics when possible to go along with brief amounts of text

Content: the Results

  • This is the heart of the poster and usually gets the most space
  • Choose your key results and organize each as a separate box or piece of paper
  • Give each box a descriptive title of the main finding, not just “Results”, so that the reader is immediately primed for the information you are trying to convey
  • Make sure all graphs, tables, charts etc. are well-labeled
  • Use graphics as much as possible with just enough text that a person can understand it – make every word count!

Content: the conclusions

  • Just a few bullet points describing major conclusions and future directions
  • If the conclusions can be well represented by a schematic, you can include one along with your bullet points