Posters generally use sources for support of key information, so it’s inevitable that you’re going to need to find some space at the end of your poster to include a reference section. Of course, most people don’t come to your poster to read your reference section, so minimizing the space this section occupies is a good strategy for an engaging poster. In general, a poster is not intended to be a complete literature review, so you won’t be including as many references as you would in a manuscript.
Here are some additional suggestions for saving room while still including this important aspect:
- Numerical Citations: You can use superscripts in the text that refer to the numbered list in the reference section. Superscripts are those tiny numbers that rest just above a line of text. Using superscripts helps not to have to write (Jones, Applebottom, & Whocareswhatthisnameis, 2017) multiple times throughout your poster.
- Author-Date Citations. You can also use an abbreviated form of the reference in the main body of your text. For example instead of putting (Springer 2013) in the main text and the full reference at the end like this:
Springer, D. 2013. Gradient versus cluster analysis of fossil assemblages: a comparison from the Ordovician of southwestern Virginia. Journal of Physical Chemistry 18: 181-198.
You could write (Springer 2013, J Phys Chem 18: 181-198) in the main text and avoid including a full reference at the end. Your goal is to provide enough information for your viewers to locate the reference if they’d like to find it.
Acknowledgments are also positioned at the end of your poster. This is your opportunity to list any funding contributions and recognize other project contributors to the research. Often, students include their faculty advisor(s) or others who have given guidance, provided technical support, or helped with the research process. Don’t include those already on the author line though. Also, generally titles are not included in the acknowledgment (e.g., Dr. or Professor).
Financial support of the research needs to be acknowledged as well. Responsible, ethical scientists are transparent in acknowledging who is financially supporting their work.
Give the funding agency and grant or contract number. An example is as follows:
This poster is based upon research supported by the 2017 Center for Advanced Undergraduate Studies and Experiences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University.
Even though references and acknowledgments are an important to the conventions of scientific posters, they should not occupy a large portion of your overall poster. They play supporting roles–not the glamorous star part!