Poster Guidelines

Poster Guidelines and FAQs

Poster sessions will be held Thursday through Saturday (most undergraduate poster sessions will be held Friday and Saturday) in the Exhibit Hall. As a method of organization, each poster presenter is assigned to a numbered display panel on the perimeter of the Exhibit Hall on the 4th floor of the Palmer House. Poster numbers will appear in the printed conference program that matches the numbered display panel in the exhibit hall.  

Authors will be present to answer questions and distribute copies of their paper for the duration of their scheduled session. Unless informed otherwise by the section head, authors are expected to be present for their entire session.

Well-conceived poster presentations provide easily comprehensible findings. The materials should exploit the visual aspect of the poster format. For example, the use of color can highlight key aspects of an analysis, an effective way to help the viewer focus on elements the author believes are most important. Graphs or tables may be better presented on larger pages. Simply attaching the pages of a paper to the display panel does not constitute a poster presentation.

Each presenter is assigned a space for a 2' wide by 3' high poster on a numbered display panel. Each display panel (8’x4’) will accommodate several 2’ 3’ posters. Your poster must be printed within the 2' x 3' poster size specifications in order for all posters to be displayed in the exhibition area.

All presentation materials should be prepared for quick assembly. Poster materials are to be attached to the designated display panel by presenters approximately 15 minutes before their session begins. Push pins will be supplied at each display panel to attach poster materials to the panels. Presenters must remove their materials from the display panels at the end of their session for the next presenter.

Would you like to see a poster session in progress? Watch this short video on Giving an Effective Poster Presentation for examples and tips.

Poster Format and Suggestions

Title, Authors, and Institutional Affiliation: Provide this information on a strip of paper at the top of the display panel. Lettering height should be no less than three inches. The text of the paper should be visible from five feet.

Abstract: Display a one-page abstract in the upper-left corner of the display panel, directly under the title. The text should be visible from five feet.

Hypotheses, Graphs, and Tables: If clearly stated and simply displayed, these allow the reader to understand the research without extensive written explanation. Briefly identify the research design and relevant literature as well.

Clear Sequence: The layout of findings should follow the sequence of the paper clearly. Numbering figures or using arrows greatly aids the reader's quick absorption of material.

Avoid Clutter: Do not clutter the presentation with too many figures and avoid too much written material. The benefit of the poster presentations is the reliance on graphics to spark interest in reading the entire paper. More open space is easier on the eye, and its simplicity supports the clarity of presentation.

Plan Ahead: Preview the presentation prior to the conference to make sure information is legible from a distance of five feet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Revised 2/22/19

What date/time is my poster session? - You can find your schedule online by searching the preliminary conference schedule (HERE). The online program is searchable by participant name, session format, section and date/time. 

If I am presenting a poster, do I also have to submit a research paper? - Yes. Your poster presentation provides a visual representation of the information in your research paper. Please upload your poster presentation and research paper files to the archive prior to the deadline.

Do I need to upload my paper and poster to the MPSA Conference Paper Archive? - Yes. Uploading your research to the online conference paper archive allows fellow attendees and your discussant to review your research in advance of your presentation. Instructions for uploading your research will be sent to all participants in mid-March.

How big should my poster be? What should it look like? - Each poster presenter will be provided with an 8 ft. wide by 4 ft. high display panel. Push pins will be supplied at each display panel to attach poster materials to the panels. Note: Printing will not be provided onsite, so presenters should bring their pre-printed posters to the conference with them or be prepared to arrange for printing in Chicago.

If I don't want to travel with my poster, is there anywhere nearby to have one printed? - The FedEx Office Print & Ship Center and the UPS Store located adjacent to the Palmer House both provide poster printing services. You can learn more and see their rates on their respective websites.

What materials should I bring to the conference for my poster presentation? - Please bring a copy of all presentation materials you plan to attach to the display board, as well as a copy of your research paper, and copies of any handouts you would like to share with your audience.

Where should I set up my poster? - Poster presentations will take place in the Exhibit Hall on the 4th floor of the Palmer House Hilton during regular exhibit hours. Poster presentation display panels will be placed in numerical order around the perimeter of the room. To locate specific poster sessions, search the conference program by section number (Example: Post. 14 Political Science Presentation indicates that this session is poster number 14.) 

When should I set up and take down my poster? - All poster materials should be prepared for quick assembly 15 minutes prior to the allotted presentation time. Poster materials should be removed promptly at the end of the presentation to enable the next presenter to set up.

Where can I store my poster when I’m not presenting? - A coat check is available on the 4th floor of the Palmer House Hilton. They may be able to store your poster for a small fee. Otherwise, please plan to carry your presentation with you, as MPSA is not able to store poster materials.

How early can I set up my poster? - Be sure to arrive in plenty of time to pick up your registration materials, as certain times in the registration hall may be busier than others. You must have your name badge in order to enter the Exhibit Hall where the poster presentations take place. You may start setting up as soon as the previous presenter is finished (usually 15 minutes before your scheduled time).