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Teaching poster design to enhance research presentation quality at academic conferences: a guide for educators
  1. Eleanor Belilos1,
  2. Stanley Kamande1,
  3. Mike Morrison2,
  4. Laura Malmut3
  1. 1Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA
  2. 2Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  3. 3MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laura Malmut, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC 20010, USA; laura.j.malmut{at}


Poster sessions are one of the most common platforms for presenting research at academic conferences, yet posters are often inefficient at transferring knowledge to their readers due to suboptimal design and content selection. Physician trainees may not receive education on constructing posters as a traditional part of their residency curriculum. The purpose of this work is to propose a curriculum that will provide residents foundational knowledge and skills needed for designing high-quality research posters. The curriculum uses the flipped classroom model, a pedagogical approach that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content outside of the classroom and moves activities into the classroom. Preparatory work includes watching an educational video on ‘how to create a better research poster in less time’ and preparing a poster to be presented at an upcoming conference. An 1-hour workshop is conducted during protected resident didactic time. It incorporates a 10-min slide show presentation on poster design and 50 min of active learning. During the active learning component, learners are asked to ‘think–pair–share’ to construct a research poster rubric using the information they just learnt. The learners work as a group to evaluate sample research posters. The class is then broken down into small groups of 2–3 learners to spend time working on their own posters and provide peer feedback. Following the workshop, residents continue to develop their research posters for conference presentation. This curriculum has the potential to enhance the quality of resident research posters presented at academic conferences, advance research education and ultimately improve dissemination of research within academic communities. The lesson plan outlined in this work can be used as a guide for teaching poster design to physician trainees in a number of specialties and may encourage programmes to consider integrating poster design as a formal part of the residency curriculum.


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  • Contributors LM was the principal investigator of the work and created the educational curriculum, evaluation methodology and contributed to writing the manuscript. EB was a co-investigator and contributed to data collection and analysis and also contributed to writing the manuscript. SK was a co-investigator and contributed to data collection and analysis and also contributed to writing the manuscript. MM was a co-investigator and also contributed to the educational curriculum and writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.