Skills and competencies
poster design, critical thinking, analysis, knowledge translation, giving feedback, multidisciplinarity, technical depth, science communication

Duration and scheduling
Background sessions:

  • Qualitative data coding in NVivo or similar (7.5 hours)
  • Presenting mixed methods data journal club
  • Qualitative data visualisation

Designing posters

  • 90-minute session
  • Individual and group work
  • 45-minute review and critique session

Mode of delivery
Blended learning (some content online, other sessions in-person)


As the culmination of a series of sessions, students synthesise complex data from both quantitative and qualitative research to produce a conference-quality poster.


  • To engage with science communication
  • To learn to create a conference-quality poster
  • To give and receive feedback

Coordinator/ facilitator
Ensure that students in small, multidisciplinary groups (about four members in each) complete the background sessions before designing posters, including working with the chosen datasets
In earlier sessions, each group analyses quantitative and qualitative data and learns about reporting of mixed methods
Identify, brief and engage experienced facilitator/s to lead the poster-design session and support students

Prepare PowerPoint poster template and send it to all students
Share “Tips and Tricks” electronic handout
Collect and display examples of good and bad posters
Prepare score sheets and print enough copies for all students and facilitators, multiplied by the number of groups (so that each person has a score sheet for each poster)
Organise to print group’s completed posters

Students in multidisciplinary groups
Bring the data sets they have already analysed
Set aside time to work on their poster


1. Introduction (20 minutes)
Discuss the general concept of communicating research findings and then scientific posters in particular. For example:

  • As researchers, one of our responsibilities is to communicate our research findings effectively to funders, study populations, other researchers and the public. Scientific posters are one way to communicate our findings. During this session, we will explore how to construct a scientific poster, what goes into a good poster and how to create an effective poster using PowerPoint.

2. What makes a good (or bad) poster (30 minutes)
Using prepared examples, invite students to discuss what makes a good poster and what makes a bad poster.

3. PowerPoint poster template (10 minutes)
Show the students how PowerPoint can be used to create a poster.

4. Group brainstorming (30 minutes)
In groups, students brainstorm how they to go about constructing their poster. They allocate tasks between themselves and a timeline to meet the deadline.

5. Poster design
Between sessions, each group designs a poster. They submit the pdf to the coordinator / facilitator before the allocated deadline.

6. Poster critique (45 minutes)
The next day or as scheduled, display the printed posters. Allow enough space for people to view easily. Explain the process and distribute score sheets to the students and all available faculty members. Once everyone has viewed and recorded their votes on the score sheets, the lead facilitator leads the full group from one poster to the next, inviting constructive comments and pointing out any features that others have not remarked on. At the same time, a coordinator or facilitator tallies up the scores and announces the winning team at the end of the session.

By the end of this assignment, students should be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate poster designs
  2. Use Microsoft PowerPoint to create a poster

All students as well as facilitators assess the posters. The coordinator calculates the final scores. The poster will be assessed by peers as well as facilitators on the following criteria:

Criterion Explanation Maximum mark
1. Title Title reflects the study focus and design 5
2. Background Background is clear and focused. Based on evidence. 10
3. Aim & objectives Study’s research question, aim and/or objectives clearly defined 10
4. Methodology Both quantitative and qualitative methods described with sufficient detail 10 (5/method)
5. Data management & analysis Both methods covered as well as mixed-methods considerations explained 15 (5/method)
6. Results Key results aligned presented, aligned with study aim 20
7. Use of tables & visuals At least one quantitative and qualitative visual incorporated into presentation; quality of the visuals 10
8. Conclusions 10
9. Overall presentation Poster demonstrates good use of colours, layout, font and visuals for an overall look 10
Total 100
You can download these guidance notes

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