First Time For Everything: A Research Poster Experience

Earlier this summer I applied to attend Decipher: a Design Educators Research Conference at the University of Michigan that will be going on during the last weekend of September. Decipher will bring together design researchers, practitioners, and educators at all stages in their careers to explore the fusions of research and practice through the ways we accomplish, talk about, and teach design research.

In order to attend you must submit some sort of research that is your “contribution”. Contributions can range from discussions of in-progress to completed works (frameworks, methods, design outcomes, etc.), research articles, as well as reflections and positions within Decipher’s key theme and topic areas.

I submitted to the Graduate Student Forum where graduate students can submit posters that discuss any course, process, methods, project, or thesis work. I submitted a poster I had created as a part of a larger research project I worked on in the Fall of 2016. This infographic poster was the culmination of primary and secondary research I did on the horticultural field and community.

Click on this link for a higher res image: Horticulture


Although I was accepted in to the forum, I received feedback on my poster and written portion in order to improve the overall submission.

Here is some of the feedback I was asked to consider:

*Submission doesn’t fit the stated dimensions (36×48″)
* There’s a mention about a methodology. However, you could’ve provided more detail about it.
* We expect also more details about the outcomes and insights gained from this research project.
* The poster is visually appealing. However, it seems to work as a synthesis on the author’s primary and secondary research on the topic of horticulture and disregards the author’s methodology, outcomes of this project, and conclusions.
* The poster seems to be part of the research methodology. Could the author specify how the work of designing the poster relates to or is a form of research in this project? It’s a little bit confusing since the poster seems to be one element in the narrative, not the presentation of the project and research phases, outcomes, and derived insights.


I knew that my poster was not the correct dimensions when I submitted and that I would need to edit it anyways. But I realized that they basically wanted me to showcase the rest of the parts of the project. Which of course makes sense seeing as thats where the real research lies.

So, this is where my journey to creating my first research poster began. Being that I conducted this research and created this content almost two years ago, I have the desire to redo it all because I know I would be able to improve it greatly. But, I had to work with what I had. So, this is the result of me trying to include every part of the project on a 36×48″ poster.

I learned a lot through this process. First of all, procrastination is my best friend and my worst enemy. I have always prided myself on the ability to get things done no matter what, and I like to think that I work best under pressure. But, beginning grad school and simultaneously working on this poster made me realize that although I may work well under pressure, I should still work towards incremental progress, because something like this takes time to get right. But, again, there’s a first time for everything. It is my first but I don’t plan on it being my last research poster, or conference.

I am looking forward to everything I will learn in the conference in regards to design research, but especially in regard to other graduate student’s research posters.