The wrap team had the opportunity to present a poster at the recent (Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS) showcase event, alongside giving a short presentation to attendees. Like many of the undergraduate researchers who took part in the URSS this summer, this was our first poster presentation.
The hardest part came right at the start – figuring out which bit of the research we wanted to include. We have so much data and literature findings, it can be very difficult to select and focus whilst maintaining coherency and a sense of the overarching research aims for wrap.
As a team we devised a single key message for the poster, which was the first, and a very useful, step towards focusing the content selection. The key message became the poster sub title: “The power of undergraduate research and its potential to transform the undergraduate experience for all students”, and we thought it was particularly appropriate for the event we were attending. Posters are often used as one off or event-specific tools for public engagement, so we could be very targeted to the audience in attendance and the theme of the event.
I was given responsibility to come up with some ideas for the design and content of the poster on behalf of the team. I realised very quickly that design informs content, and content informs design. Earlier in the year, we had attended the RAISE conference at Sheffield University and took the opportunity to review the poster presentations there and identify elements we liked and found helpful about various posters. This gave us a starting template for the wrap poster.
Using the layout of 6 content areas, a space for diagrams, and a conclusion box (whilst allowing plenty of white space for the content to breathe) I was more easily able to draw content ideas from our pre existing papers and presentations. Each content area had a heading which further focused the content selection, and I wanted each content area to lead into the next so reading the poster would flow. We also decided as a team that bullet point text presentation would be the most helpful for the reader (we were in an exhibition with well over 100 other posters, so didn’t want reading ours to feel too onerous!)
Once the content was chosen, and put into the poster design (using a very handy Warwick Print powerpoint template) it was then time to edit, edit, edit! In the design layout it was much easier to see just how short each section needed to be. This made editing both easier and harder – I had about double to text so it was hard to decide what to cut or rewrite, but I had to persevere to make it fit, so it was useful having the space guide.
The diagrams we had already created for presentations were a helpful addition to break up the text and give a different way to show our data, as well as a colour scheme we could draw on. After about three rounds of edits and revisions, the poster began to take shape and we sent it to be printed via Warwick Print.
At the URSS Showcase event, we had about an hour or so where guests were wandering round looking at posters with the opportunity to ask further questions about the research, and this was a really useful chance to talk to people – students and staff alike. The poster gave a really good chance to explain what our research is, and what we want to achieve with it, as well as some of the interesting findings to date. Having the chance to talk in more depth with interested visitors has been really helpful to shape the next stages of our research activity too. Plus we now have a useful graphic that can be a quick way into explaining our research and we have been sharing the poster via email with stakeholders.