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The Clinical Inquiry Process Resource Guide

The goal of this guide is to provide nurses a resource to understand and carryout the steps of performing an evidence-based practice (EBP) project.

Goals of a Good Poster


Always use the - VCU Medical Center Templates 

  • Be sure to always proofread your poster content and get a second opinion when it comes to content and design.

Goals of a Good Poster:

  1. Visually Appealing:  Must be visually appealing in order attract the attention of the audience and get viewers to stop for a longer look.  

  2. Must Communicate Clearly:  Must be concise and communicate the key findings and implications for practice 

    • Viewers should be able to get the message in 3-5 minutes and read every word in no more than 10 minutes.  

    • A good rule of thumb is the word count of text should be about 1,000 words. Try to utilize graphics and minimize text in order to communicate. 

    • Graphics should be clear and clearly support conclusions.  Do not use graphics just to use them, be sure they are adding value to your poster.

    • Text and graphics need to be evenly spaced and uncluttered.

Poster Sections

Poster Content:

  • Title: No more than 15 words is ideal, be specific, PICO question.

  • Author(s): Affiliations then credentials – degree, license then certification.

  • Acknowledgments: Names or funding sources.

  • Background: Why is this important, significance of topic?

  • Methods

    • Research Study:  Detail research design, analysis, and limitations.

    • Evidence-Based Practice Project: Briefly detail your search – search strategy, databases/ sources searched, years of search, level(s) of evidence.

      • Do not copy and paste an entire search strategy into the poster.  

A Sample of EBP Methods Description for Poster 


Searched Concepts Using Keywords & Subject Headings:

Limits:  When it comes to year be specific, do not put last five years.  Put 2013-2018 if you searched the last five years instead.

Filtered Results by Primary studies, Evidence Summaries, and Translational Literature.

Evaluated How many? articles for quality



Databases: PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL

Searched Concepts Using Keywords & Subject Headings: “Accidental Falls”, “Elderly”, “Inpatients”

Limits:  English, 2012-2017

Filtered Results by Types of Study Design and Evidence

Evaluated 12 articles for quality

* If you did not utilize subject headings, just don't use that part of the phrasing above. 

EBP Project -  Chart for Levels of Evidence Used

  • In this section, it is also useful to include a table such as the one below.  This table communicates the quality of evidence you found and how much.  This evidence is used to justify the recommendations that may be made for practice change.















  • Findings: Conclusions or recommendations from the literature.

    • Include citations for articles use to draw conclusions on the handout provided when presenting the poster.  Need to be in APA 6th edition citation style.

  • Implications for Practice:  Based on findings should practice be adopted, adapted or aborted?

Poster Design

Graphic Design

  • Font/Text Size:

    • Use Non-Serif or Arial for titles and Serif or Arial for smaller text as it is easier to read. 

    • Use one font throughout the poster. Create emphasis by using boldunderlining or limited color. Avoid italic text as it is harder to read.

  • Section Font Sizes:

    • Title:  48 point or larger.

      • The poster TITLE should be readable from 20 feet away.

    • Authors:  32 point

    • Section Headers:  48 point

      • Should be readable from several feet away.

      • Don’t add bullets or colons to section headers.

    • Section/Body Text:  24 point

      • Use bullets to differentiate points.

      • Avoid long blocks of text. Rule of thumb is 10 sentences maximum for a bullet. The less text used the better.

      • When using acronyms and numbers in body text, reduce the font size of only acronym and font text. This keeps them from overpowering the rest of the text.

  • Pictures/Charts/Graphics -  Should be visible from 6 feet away

    • Charts/Graphs: 

      • Include a brief caption for figures.

      • Must include a title and labels for each axis.

        • Make sure the font is easily readable.

        • It is best to create your charts and graphs in PowerPoint.  If one is scanned from another document the resolution is not the same and will not display well.  

      • Pictures:

        • Use .jpg format for best quality and clarity

        • Make sure the original image  is nice and large so that when it is resized it will continue to be clear.  Be sure to resize proportionally.

        • A good resolution for printed images is 300 dots per inch (DPI).

  • Color

    • Don’t overuse color. It can distract from the message of the poster.

    • Use a single color for headers and other content.  Never use more than three different colors on a poster.


Presenting the Poster

Presentation Day

  • Transporting & Displaying

    • Make sure to get a strong tube to protect your work as you transport it.

    • Be prepared to bring items to hang your poster (Velcro, stick pins, etc.)  to anchor your poster.  These are usually not provided at conferences.

    • Arrive early in order to have time to hang your poster and understand where it is to be displayed.

  • Presenting your Poster

    • Wear professional attire

    • Make eye-contact and actively greet those who visit your poster and engage them in a conversation.  Look at this as an opportunity to network.

    • Find a way to explain your poster in 4 -5 sentences.

      • Be sure to not talk to fast and speak clearly.

      • Make sure to cover:

        • What it’s all about.

        • Why it matters.

        • How you did what you did.

        • What are the results?

        • What is the final/takeaway message?

      • Be sure to provide print copies of the poster and on the back side of the handout have the references and more tables if needed.  Can also include your abstract if there is room.

      • Bring business cards and/or contact information to hand out to those who visit your poster. 


Browner, W., & Hiscock, Tim. (2006). Publishing and presenting clinical research. Baltimore, Md.: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Clendening, J. (2015). Creating a successful poster presentation [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved from

Ellerbee, S. (2006). Posters with an artistic flair. Nurse Educator31(4), 166-169.

Scientific Research Poster Printing. (2015). Retrieved October 4, 2015, from

Selig, P. (2014). Poster development tips. Unpublished manuscript.