Qualitative Data & Research Posters

Well. The 2015 APA convention (in Toronto this year, yay!) is over. It was an exhausting, fun few days and I learned a lot. Over the next few days I’ll have a few posts reflecting on some of the programs that I attended. What I wanted to share with you today was some of the feedback that I had about my poster.

I presented some of the qualitative data from an exploratory study that I did on people’s experiences with non-consensual use of sexual images and presented on the themes I found. The poster generated quite a bit of interest and many questions, which was great. A number of people commented that they liked how I displayed my qualitative data, so I decided to showcase it here for others to use as inspiration. My contribution to the ‘make research posters less ugly’ movement. (See below)


Several people lamented that they didn’t like using bullets, bold text or shading, as they felt it wasn’t eye-catching and was hard to read. What I did for this poster was use speech bubbles (I was playing around in ppt) and match the background colour to the colour of the corresponding text boxes. The format worked well for the quotes I selected but could be limiting if you are using longer quotes.

Here are some things I do when designing a poster that may be helpful:

  • Play around with the program you use and experiment with different shapes, colours and layouts
  • Throw out the templates and start from scratch
  • Think about your key points – what do you want people to know? what’s your “take home” message?
  • Look online for inspiration more generally (not only at research posters!! seriously, when you google ‘research poster’ it’s a very mixed bag)
  • Consult with other people
  • Look at blogs or articles about poster design
  • Have fun with it!!!

And most importantly, remember that this is a research poster – it’s designed to give the general idea or the most important points, so don’t feel pressured to provide every single detail of your study. If you can anticipate questions or think people will want additional info, print it out and bring it!!


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