Forum Guidelines | Undergraduate Creative and Research Activities Forum | SIU

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Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Forum

Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activites

Forum Guidelines | Undergraduate Creative and Research Activities Forum | SIU

Forum Guidelines Main Content


The 2017 Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Forum will be held on Monday, April 3, 2017, in the Student Center Ballrooms. SIU Carbondale Undergraduates who have conducted an original research, scholarly, or creative project under the guidance of a faculty mentor displayed an informational poster at the forum's poster session. Prizes are awarded for the top posters. Last years winners can be viewed here.

Requirements Prior to Forum

In order to participate in the forum, an abstract must be submitted. Deadlines and instructions for preparing thie documents follow.

Abstract - Deadline: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The abstract must describe the objectives and results of your project. It should be a Word document between 200 and 300 words (300 word maximum), single-spaced, in Times 11 point font, and in APA format. Put the title of the poster, the author(s), and the department(s) at the top of the abstract. Please indicate in your email in which judging session you will be available (see below). Submit your Abstract as an attachment to your email to with "Forum Abstract" in the subject line. (For sample abstracts, see the links on the main forum page.)

Here is a template for a proper abstract:

Student’s Name and Mentor’s Name
Student’s Department
Abstract (300 word maximum)

For examples of previous abstracts, click here

Poster Guidelines

The show walls for posters are approximately 47"w x 72"h. CURCA recommends a poster size no larger than 44" x 48". However, the common size for posters is 42" x 36". Check with your faculty mentor for more advice as your discipline may have specific requirements. If you would like Printing/Duplicating, Student Center Marketing and Graphics, Quigley Hall (Architecture Computer Lab Room 107), or Pulliam Hall (Operations Support Center) to print your poster, we recommend contacting them at least 10 business days before the forum. All posters are asked to be saved in pdf form.

Please visit Make Signs for a template. Try to select a lighter background to save on printing costs.  Allow for approximately 4-5 hours of your time to prepare/create your poster.  

Poster tips: 

1. POSTER SIZE: After you have downloaded the design that you like, you will need to setup the proper poster dimensions.  Click on DESIGN [located at the upper left side of the screen]. Next, click PAGE SETUP or SLIDE SIZE (Customize Slide Size) [enter for the 40” width and 48” height]. You will notice immediately that the poster page will look proportional.

2. FONT SIZE:Suggested: Title 72 font size; Text--28-32 size font. Make sure it is readable from a distance.

3. LOGOS: If you have received funding through CURCA or a program under CURCA, you will need to include the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities logo that will be attached via email once we have received your abstract. Preferably, place logo in one of the corners of your poster.

4. AUTHOR(S): Check with your mentor to determine the appropriate list of additional individuals involved with your project to be included, if any. Sometimes there is an additional researcher who should also be given credit for the project. You must include your mentor's name and affiliation as an author, along with your name at the top of your poster. Also, if you receive any funding administered through CURCA (such as Undergraduate Assistantship, Creative and Scholarly Saluki Rookies, McNair Scholars, REACH, ILSAMP, etc.), the following text should be at the bottom of your poster: Funded partially by the SIUC CURCA Program. 

Your faculty mentor will also be very useful for this process. It is important that you discuss your poster with your faculty mentor as there may be a different poster program they would recommend you to use.

What sections to include and what to put in them:

Please note that all of these sections are not required, nor is this an all-inclusive list; we are merely giving suggestions as to what others have included. Different disciplines have different standard methods of presenting information. In general, however, previous forum participants have included the following sections in their posters.

Divide your information into main sections and decide what goes in each section. For example:


A title that describes your conclusion or question in non-technical terms
will attract more viewers to your poster

Introduction or Abstract


Format: APA Style

A statement that gives a quick overview of your poster. Include relevant background to provide a context for understanding the central question or theme of your poster. Define acronyms if you use them, and avoid lab jargon. You are to include your mentor’s name, department name and your name. Be sure to consult with your mentor on other names that may need to be displayed. APA style formatting.

Objectives, Aims, Goals, or Problem

A concise statement of the goal, question, or problem. Include a hypothesis, if appropriate.


A brief description, diagram, or flow chart representing each key process or procedure used to test the hypothesis.


Describe the data collected and the methods used to analyze the data. Photographs, tables, or graphs should be as large as possible, easily interpreted, and labeled with a caption or figure legend.


Provide a summary, discuss significance of results, and key conclusions. Do the results support or not support the hypothesis?


Cite key publications in the text of your poster and list the references here. Include sources of any images or other materials used in the poster.


Thank the individuals, programs, and funding sources that contributed to the research.

Students in the arts have modified, added to, or left out sections as appropriate and have included examples of their work where relevant.

Now that you've identified the points you wish to cover, you need to collect the relevant information for your poster. Think about the best way to communicate that information to your reader. Different types of graphics communicate different types of information. A photograph, for example, may offer a good resemblance to the original but is limited to showing the external or surface view of an object. The message you wish to convey can be lost in the detail whereas a diagram could present a clearly labeled cross-section.

Meet with your project mentor early in the design process. Share your content map and discuss how you plan to communicate the ideas. Your mentor and other project colleagues may have valuable poster design experience and may even have images they are willing to share!


Poster Resources


Event Itinerary for UCARF April 3rd, 2017

Poster Setup 

The ballroom opens at 7:30 am on April 3rd. You will need to put your poster up between 7:30 am and 8:30 am.


There will be judging sessions for posters from 8:30 am to 10:30 am and from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. When you submit your abstract, please state in your email which of these two sessions you can be available for the judges to interview you. Each student will be asked to give a five-minute presentation outlining his or her project, followed by questions. The judges will be at each of the posters for approximately 15 minutes. 

Public Viewing 

The public is invited to browse the posters from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Please plan to be present for as much of this time as possible to answer people's questions and discuss your research.

Award Announcements 

The prize-winning posters will be announced at 3:00 pm, along with winners of 2017-2018 Undergraduate Research/Creative Activity (REACH) Awards.

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