Honors Poster

The Honors Poster is a summary of the results and conclusions in the honors thesis. The poster should include the following: Title (w/student's name and research supervisor's name); Introduction/Background; Materials & Methods; Results; Conclusions (list of concluding statements).

Many students use Powerpoint to create their posters, but you may choose whatever program you're most comfortable with, such as Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.

Poster Specifics

Design and Format: Know your audience. Keep in mind that people will be seeing your poster that don’t have a background in your field. Know the primary message you’re trying to get through to your audience.

Include the following parts:

  1. Author/Title/Affiliation: TITLE, YOUR NAME, MENTOR(S) names, DEPARTMENT
  2. Background/Introduction
  3. Methods and Materials
  4. Results
  5. Conclusions
  6. Acknowledgements

A good poster should have enough information to stand on its own and present your research when you’re not standing by it to go into greater detail. It should provide a brief overview and background for your research, as well as show data and explain the results and implications of your findings. During your poster session you’ll often be asked to take someone through your project. At those times you’ll need to not only discuss your work, but use your poster to highlight the most important findings and points you want to emphasize to your audience. One thing a poster is NOT is a research paper thrown on a large sheet of paper. Too much text is distracting, and is rarely read. Figure out what your main points are and emphasize those.

Design Suggestions

Experiment by sketching out your poster on a sheet of paper. There are examples of scientific posters around the Biological Sciences Building, many of the Medical Center buildings, and there are many examples on the web, etc. - looking at these may help you decide what you want your poster to look like (or not look like). It's also likely that folks in your lab have made similar posters and can offer suggestions.

A good poster will guide the reader through the project. Think about this in terms of design and laying out the parts of your poster (people tend to look “up to down” and “left to right” when reading a poster). The size of all graphic elements should be determined by their relative importance and environment. Balance space that is devoted to text, artwork, and white space.

An individual should be able to read a poster from 6 feet away. Use the following ballpark font sizes for the different parts of your poster:

TITLE: 72-120 point
SUBTITLES: 48-80 point
SECTION HEADERS: 36-72 point
GENERAL TEXT: 24-48 point

Be consistent with your style. Keep in mind that colors may look different once printed than they do on your monitor.

Other Tips and Ideas:

  • Boxes around sections can be helpful if it fits with the overall style you’ve chosen.
  • Use clear headings.
  • A simple flow chart describing your Methods is nice.
  • Avoid using a lot of text. Just give highlights on the poster. Avoid using strings of all capital letters in titles and text blocks.
  • Don’t use “title” case for figure and slide legends.
  • Be careful using abbreviations. Make sure you define them when first used.
  • Use italics instead of underlining.

Duke's Undergraduate Research Support Office has some poster-making advice and resources.

Poster Printing Information 

The display boards are 48x36 but posters can be smaller (ex. 42 by 36) so long as they'll fit okay on the board. Print fees are typically covered by either the student's PI/lab or paid for by the student; however, if this is an issue, please reach out to our DUS, Dr. Kelly Hogan.

Some options for printing include (*local company):