Graduate Student Poster Session

The poster session is currently plannned for Saturday after lunch. We will provide poster board and an easel upon which to display your poster. More information will be distributed to poster presenters as the conference approaches.


(inspired by various Society for Political Methodology poster sessions.)

. Some of you are veterans of poster sessions, but other may not be. All of you will be interested to hear more about your responsibilities for the meeting. We are going to have a "poster session" for you to present your research. Now for the details.

What is a "poster"?
Oddly enough, poster sessions are a normal component of natural science conferences, and they are actually the vehicle through which an overwhelming proportion of information is passed during those meetings. So, don't be surprised if this is a presentation format you are not accustomed to.

What should you present?
For students far along on their dissertation, this is an opportunity to get members of the methods section to review your thesis work. For others this is a chance to get an enormous amount of feedback on future conference, working, or late-stage papers, research and grant proposals, as well as new ideas that might potentially become part of a dissertation or research project. Given that the topic has already been submitted as part of your application and approved by the program committee, the question is really what part of this research will prove to be the most useful as a poster in this setting. In general, the audience will be interested in your general research topic. No matter what is presented, don't be afraid to highlight areas that are not totally worked out, since this is exactly where you might get the most benefit from feedback.

In all cases, your poster should have a title, an abstract, and whatever additional information is useful to get across to us what your research involves. That can be short pieces of text, brief discussion of the theoretical background or lists of hypotheses you are testing, and tables or graphs. Keep it simple, but make sure your poster gets your research across in a brief and effective manner. You might prepare a short (five to ten minute) verbal presentation which you can give to people who want to be "talked" through your research. The amount of feedback you will generate will be directly proportionate to how effectively you present your work in your poster.

How is the session structured?
You should bring your poster to the session at least 15 minutes before the start of your session and set it up by pinning it to posterboard and placing it on an easel.The session traditionally takes the form of an informal reception. Participants will circulate and look at the posters. The session is informal; however, you should be available near your poster so participants can have the opportunity to stop by and talk with you about your work. After the session ends, you may take your poster down.

Again, this is not meant to be a high-stress affair. The participants at SPPC have long expressed a great deal of interest in getting to know the other participants better, both personally and intellectually. The poster session helps us all meet that goal.

The design of the poster. A good poster is seldom constructed from filling the posterboard with standard 8.5 by 11 inch printouts. We strongly suggest designing and producing the poster as a poster. The following provide helpful advice  about structuring and organizing a good poster.

There are a variety of software packages that can be used to design posters including Microsoft Power Point, LaTeX, and Abode Illustrator. Below are some links to get you started.

  • Microsoft Power Point: --1-- --2-- --3--.
  • LaTeX: --1-- --2-- --3--.
  • Adobe Illustrator --1--.

Printing and shipping posters.
There are two print shops conveniently located in downtown Iowa City.

For more information.
If you have any other questions about the poster session, do not hesitate to contact Fred Boehmke.

Application Information

Graduate students who wish to attend are strongly encouraged to submit a poster proposal. Proposals will require a title and an abstract. More details on submissions are available through the application page.