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Advice to Teachers -

Scientific posters

Scientific poster templates available on the Internet may be used provided that the mandated poster sections (title, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, conclusions, references and acknowledgments) are included. The use of a template can help minimise many common communication faults by keeping column alignments logical, including mandated sub-headings that provide clear cues as to how readers should travel through poster elements and maintaining sufficient ‘white space’ so that clutter is reduced.

There is no mandated VCAA style for the use of person or voice in writing a scientific poster, since the scientific community has not reached a consensus about which style it prefers. Increasingly, using first person (rather than third person) and active (rather than passive) voice is acceptable in scientific reports, because arguably this style of writing conveys information more clearly and concisely. However, this choice of person and voice brings two scientific values into conflict – objectivity versus clarity – which may account for the different viewpoints in the scientific community. Use of tense is dependent on the section of the report: when describing something that has already happened (for example, the investigation procedure), then past tense is used, as in ‘The aim of the experiment was to…’; when describing something that still exists (for example, the report, theory and permanent equipment), then the present tense is used, as in ‘The purpose of this report is to…’, ‘Newton’s third law of motion states that…’ and ‘A cathode ray oscilliscope can be used to…’.​

Detailed information about scientific poster sections is included in Scientific poster sections and suggestions for effective scientific poster communication are elaborated in Suggestions for effective scientific poster communication.