How to make an academic poster

During this week, you will hear about a range of careers from people who studied either STEM or Arts & Humanities degrees. You might notice that some of these people are currently in a job which seems rather different to their degree subject. Luckily, studying a degree teaches you many skills that are valuable in a wide range of jobs: independent working; creative thinking; time-management and many more!

In fact, for most people their interests, what they study, and their career will probably change at some time during their life. This has prompted some people to ask, what exactly is it which makes us ‘us’? Alongside your daily challenges, this week we are setting you a bigger project, to investigate ‘personal identity’. You should start by reading the Oxplore page here.

Based on what you have read, create an academic poster to submit at the end of this week, via the guidelines below. Your poster title should be: “How [your topic] impact(s) our personal identity.”

Select your topic from the options provided below for your stream (select ONE option only). Include both a definition (with justification) of how your chosen topic perspective would define personal identify, and examples of how this topic would lead to different personal identities (or not!). Are there any weaknesses to this view of personal identity?

STEM topics

  • our DNA/genes
  • our brain
  • technology
  • evolution

Arts & Humanities topics

  • our choices/actions
  • our soul
  • growing older
  • social media/other people

Poster guidelines

Your poster should include/follow the guidelines listed below. Advice on all these points is found in the ‘Creating an academic poster’ section.

  • A title (selected from one of the options above)
  • Your first name, and the St John’s Inspire Programme logo (found here)
  • A2 size (portrait or landscape)
  • Digital or hand-drawn
  • Use good quality, peer-reviewed information
  • A reference list of academic sources
  • Use only copy-right free images (and include a statement to confirm this)
  • Be saved as a PDF file

Your poster should include your first name and the St John’s Inspire Programme credits ONLY.

DO NOT include any other identifying information, such as your school, other names or any contact details.

Creating an academic poster

You have probably made posters before, so what makes an academic poster different? Mostly, it is to do with the amount of information that is included on an academic poster. There must be enough to let people see how you have come to your conclusions and decide whether they agree with your approach.

Academic posters are used widely at conferences and research meetings, where many people come together to present their research. You may also have to prepare one during your degree studies. Therefore, making a good academic poster is a key skill.

Watch the video below on ‘Creating an academic poster’.

If you want to return to this video for reference, use these times to help you find the information you need: A2 poster size (01:20), Poster content (06:40), Poster sources (08:35), Referencing (13:50), Organising content (16:45), Finding images (18:55), Creating graphs and diagrams (23:30), Layout (26:10), Colour schemes (28:10), Fonts (31:00), Final touches (35:05), Exporting your poster (36:00)

Information on good content and image sources mentioned in the video is included in this booklet. The example poster produced during the video can be viewed here as a PDF.

If you would like guidance on how to use your time this week to create your poster, see the ‘Managing your time’ section below.

Managing your time

In order to research and create your academic poster, you have a few different tasks to complete. You should plan how you will complete these tasks, to ensure you are able to submit your poster at the end of the Summer School. A suggested task list for each day is provided here.

Monday 2nd August/Day 1

Tuesday 3rd August/Day 2

  • Research your poster title, using good academic sources
  • Make notes on the information you find, and begin to group this into main points
  • Remember to record your sources, to build your reference list

Wednesday 4th August/Day 3

  • Organise your information into 2-3 main points you want to make in your poster
  • Select images for your poster
  • Create any graphs, tables and diagrams

Thursday 5th August/Day 4

  • Write your introduction and conclusion for your poster
  • Arrange your content on your poster
  • Select colours, fonts and layout for your poster design

Friday 6th August/Day 5

  • Make final edits (such as including your first name and the St John’s Inspire logo)
  • Check your reference list is complete
  • Export your poster as a PDF, and submit it following the guidelines below before 5pm.

Example posters

If you would like some more inspiration, you can see the winning posters by Kate (Humanities) and Matyl (STEM) from last year’s St John’s Inspire summer school below.

How to enter

  1. Create your A2 academic poster and make sure it follows the guidelines listed.
  2. Submit your poster here! All pupils who submit a poster before August 31 2021 will have their poster judged by an Oxford expert. Winning entries will receive a £20 Amazon voucher, and their entries will be featured on Inspire Digital. (Please note, this is a separate competition from the Share with us! prize draw)