Journal of Current Research in Scientific Medicine

: 2018  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 126--127

Making poster presentations more effective: Closing the gap between expectation and reality

V Dinesh Kumar 
 Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry

How to cite this article:
Kumar V D. Making poster presentations more effective: Closing the gap between expectation and reality.J Curr Res Sci Med 2018;4:126-127

How to cite this URL:
Kumar V D. Making poster presentations more effective: Closing the gap between expectation and reality. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Apr 20 ];4:126-127
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Dear Sir,

I read with great interest the paper by Mondal and Mondal[1] demonstrating the advantages and percipience of poster presentations being successfully used to hone the “research-teaching” nexus of medical professionals. Based on our personal experiences, we could easily opine that poster presentation is definitely a popular medium, particularly owing to the “portable” advantages and “transferable” authorship credits, it offers to the presenter. Rowe,[2] after the mapping the “gray literature” associated with a poster presentation, doubted the significance of posters informative practices, as a form of scientific communication or a source of potentially useful information. In addition, as Rothstein[3] noted, from the organizer's perspective, it is difficult to ascertain the validity and depth of content on seeing the unstructured abstract of the posters. In the Indian scenario, it is also difficult to make out the contribution of the presenter toward the scientific content displayed in the poster.

Second, in many large-scale conference settings, poster presentation sessions are often held during interludes from oral presentations and workshops. When tandem sessions are held, in a limited span of time, posters have to be displayed and removed. This shortens the time available for the “potential audience” to interact with the authors. On a practical level, a mass of information hinders interaction, in a way that even a committed person with an intrinsic motivation to exchange ideas, finds it difficult to devote “meaningful attention” to a poster and select items of interest.[4] At times, even the jury might suffer “poster visualization fatigue” and resort to judging based on a thin slice of observation.

Third, some researchers are cautious in displaying their findings, more so in long-duration studies, that they design the posters after “scooping out” the key findings, saving those for a paper publication[4] A study[5] showed that only 16% of the study participants could recall viewing stand-alone posters immediately after reaching the waiting rooms, thereby questioning the ability of posters in transferring knowledge. In another study,[6] expert delegates, who have been asked to scrutinize posters carefully, could recall little of their contents 2 weeks later. A possible reason could be that poster presentations mostly accommodate people with visual or reading learning styles, ignoring others. Adding to these reasons, information disseminated via posters are difficult to access outside of conference events, as many organizing bodies do not maintain an information management system to archive the posters.

I would like to suggest a few recommendations, to improve the value of posters to presenters and delegates alike. First, the organizing board should scrutinize the abstracts with rigorous standards and ensure wide exposure to the selected ones (even if few in number). Second, presenters should choose the poster medium only if, the scientific findings can be conveyed to the passing audience within few minutes using annotated images. On the other hand, posters which rely more on visually appealing styles that, dress up flawed science should be discouraged. Third, options such as distributing leaflets and other multi-modal reinforcement strategies may be considered by the organizers. Finally, organizers should try to maintain an image management system where copies of poster presentations could be saved for later referral. In doing so, the efficacy of poster presentations in disseminating knowledge in a peer community can be improved.

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3Rothstein JM. Caveat emptor and conference abstracts. Phys Ther 1990;70:277-8.
4Rowe N, Ilic D. Rethinking poster presentations at large-scale scientific meetings – is it time for the format to evolve? FEBS J 2015;282:3661-8.
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