Abstract Writing and Poster Making Skills Seminar July 8, 2019 Content by Philip Clarke, Drs. Ben Kolber and Stephanie J. Wetzel.
Outline • Abstract writing • Consideration for oral presentation • Poster preparation • Presenting your poster
Abstract • Abstracts are expected to report the basic informational content of the poster • Abstracts are (typically) written in passive voice, past-tense • 150 word limit, not including title and authors • Ask your faculty mentors for example abstracts before you start writing
Abstract Content • The abstract must summarize the technical content of the poster and furnish sufficient information to allow the reader to judge whether he or she should consult the poster for all of the details • The abstract should be self-contained and understandable apart from and without reference to the poster
Abstract Content (con’t) • It can be assumed that the reader is knowledgeable in science, but special terminology, abbreviations, and jargon should be defined • The abstract can include a brief statement of why the work was done, but it should not include extensive background or other introductory material • The abstract should answer any questions posed by the title
The First Sentence • The first sentence is critical. • It is usually a brief information statement of the major results reported in the poster • It does not include a restatement of the title. It may contain specific data. For example, a general statement that an important measurement was made is insufficient; include the results • Facts contained in the first sentence are not repeated later
The Remaining Text • The text that follows the first sentence may consist of supporting statements, methodology, test results, activities of the users for chemical compounds studied, indications of the number and types of chemical compounds included, limits of accuracy and reliability, and additional results and conclusions
The Remaining Text (con’t) • This information is described concisely but informatively to the degree necessary for understanding. Only enough data are given to support the results and conclusions • Interpretation must be differentiated from fact. Predictions and plans for future work are usually omitted. Negative results and unsuccessful experiments are reported in a general, summarized form
Suggested Timeline • By the end of today, make sure you send a draft to your faculty mentor. • On Tuesday, July 9, make corrections and send final draft to all authors for approval. • Abstracts are due Wednesday, July 10, by 5 p.m. • Submit via https://www.duq.edu/academics/schools/natural-and-environmental-sciences/undergraduate-research-program/summer-research-symposium
Poster • A poster should be self-explanatory; the main points should be communicated without the presenter’s explanation • Prepare oral presentations – We suggest you prepare and practice a 2’ pitch, 5’ pitch and a 10’ pitch. Ask audience what they want • Allow people to peruse your poster for a minute before offering to lead them through it • Ask the audience their background and field. If they are an expert you can probably skip some of the background.
Poster Layout • Arrange the poster panels or printout for logical flow from top left to lower right • Text, figures and photographs should be readable from a distance of 3-5 feet • Use a font such as Arial or Helvetica in a minimum size of 24 pt. (1/4 inch high) • Posters are 36” (tall) x 42” (wide).
Suggested Poster Content • Title • Author and co-authors • Introduction and hypothesis • Methods • Results • Conclusions / Future Direction • References / Acknowledgments
Title • Should convey the main message of your poster • Banner in large type which contains a descriptive title, the authors, and their affiliations • Should be placed high on the poster
Author and Co-authors • You are the first author listed, on the abstract and the poster. • Faculty mentor is typically the last co-author listed. • Remaining co-authors are listed in order of contribution to your research. • Affiliations – This can include the department of your faculty mentor and your department/university
Introduction and Hypothesis • A succinct summary of purpose, methods and results • Use phrases rather than sentences in a simple bulleted outline format • Place in upper left section of posterboard • A concise statement of the objective and hypothesis of the work should be placed at the end
Methods • Description of apparatus, your scientific techniques, samples, materials, etc. • In some, but not overwhelming detail (you will be there to explain any other details)
Results • Graphs, Spectra, charts, pictures, etc. • Use a minimum of text to illustrate the nature of the results • Each result section should have a take-home message
Conclusions • Concise statement of the findings (positive, as well as negative) • Indicate future research directions
References / Acknowledgments • References and acknowledgments are located at the end of the poster • Acknowledgements include those who are not authors, but contributed to your work (be generous) • Include funding for your research (e.g. NSF REU, PURE/NURE, CIRCLE, etc) • Talk to your mentor about their preferred citation format
Title, authors, and affiliations across the top (be sure to put the department where you are conducting your research on the poster) Intro Results Conclusion other info in columns Methods Acknowledge Refs Font: sans serif; big enough to be read 5 feet away Text left to right across entire poster bad... Because its hard to read and you’re blocking other readers.
Options for preparing your poster • PowerPoint • The easiest way to make your poster • Can make either a multi-paneled poster or use one slide and print on poster printer
Other Software Options • Other options to build your poster include: • Adobe Illustrator • Adobe In-Design • Ask your faculty mentor their preferred software and if there is a lab template for posters
Abstract Submission Reminders!!! • Abstract submission deadline is Wednesday, July 10, at 5 p.m. • All abstract submissions will be done online. • I will not accept e-mailed abstracts. • Consideration to be chosen to speak at the Symposium is also Wednesday, July 10, at 5 p.m. • An “ad hoc” committee will be formed to choose the speakers. • Notification to all applicants will occur “hopefully” by Tuesday, July 16. • I am not taking requests for the 2 p.m. time slot for the poster session.
Poster Printing • The Duquesne Print Shop can print posters. • Cost is ~$50. This cost needs to be covered by your faculty mentor. However, there are some circumstances where other funding is available (ask your mentor). • Examples: NSF REU program, students in Biology Department, students in PURE/NURE program • When you are ready to print, save your document as a PDF. Open it in Adobe Reader and be sure to proofread it. Then proofread it again. • Take pdf on a thumb-drive to the print shop (basement of Fisher Hall). Have them open the file and double check it again (including size). • Last day to take poster to Print Shop is July 24 (they have a 100 posters to print!).
Symposium RSVP Reminders!!! • Symposium RSVP deadline is Friday, July 19, by noon. • I have to give Parkhurst a headcount for the breakfast and lunch on Friday, July 19. • Feel free to invite family members. • Please share the details of the Symposium w/ your guests. • Registration table will be open at 9 a.m. on the Mellon Hall Patio Friday, July 26. • Please pin your posters between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. • Breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. inside Bayer Learning Center. • Dr. Birder’s talk will begin at 10 a.m., at Wolfe Lecture Hall. • https://www.duq.edu/academics/schools/natural-and-environmental-sciences/undergraduate-research-program/summer-research-symposium