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About the Society Criteria for Judging Colbert Posters


  • The Poster Prize Icon must be included on the poster, such that its printed size is 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Download the prize icon here: [PSD format] [JPEG format]
  • If multi-authored, the poster must contain a section explaining author contributions. The student is expected to have carried out the majority of the research in addition to being responsible for preparing the poster itself. Examples of acceptable co-author contributions include organization of fieldwork; provision of lab space, equipment, or specimens. You are welcome to send a draft of this section to the Colbert Panel Chair prior to the meeting for feedback.
  • The title (matching that of the accepted abstract) must be included and should be situated high up on the poster so that it can be read 15-20 feet away.
  • Author(s) and affiliation(s) must be included, ideally below the title.
  • Consistent with JVP guidelines, posters must be in English.
  • The poster may not exceed the dimensions given in the meeting guidelines (usually: 231.14 cm wide and 114.3 cm high) and a landscape orientation is preferred.
  • The poster must be set up by 9:30 am on the day of the competition.



  • The content of the poster should include the following sections: Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusion and References.
  • It is unnecessary, and a waste of valuable space, to repeat the abstract from the meeting's abstract book.
  • The Introduction must provide the basis of investigation and the direction/approach to answer the question(s) being considered. Ideally a numbered list of aims or questions should be provided.
  • The Methods of the investigation must be presented clearly.
  • The Results must be presented in a manner that is understandable and must support the Conclusions drawn. Are there possible alternatives in interpretation?
  • Conclusions should follow from the original intent as outlined in the Introduction. 
  • It is advisable to include a list of aims or questions in the Introduction, and a complementary list of conclusions at the end.
  • References should include any references cited in the body text or figure captions.
  • The poster should be self-explanatory, so that the main points (questions, methods, results) are communicated without the presenter being there.
  • Overall, the investigation should display some degree of creativity and originality.
  • You will also be judged on quality of science and scientific impact of investigation.


Style and format

  • The flow of information through the poster should be explicit (e.g., use of arrows or numbers) and should be organized in columns that are not excessively wide.
  • Text should be visible from about an arm's length facilitated by appropriate choice of font, font size and line spacing.
  • The poster should be proofread for correct spelling and grammar.
  • Each illustration should have a headline title providing a take-home message with a more detailed caption below.
  • Images should be of suitably high resolution.
  • Use of color is encouraged but particularly for data points on graphs due consideration should be given to color vision deficiency (e.g. Wong B. 2011. Color blindness. Nature Methods 8: 441).
  • Complex or distracting background photographs (no matter how pretty) are discouraged.
  • There should be creativity in the presentation.


Oral evaluation (finalists only)

  • Familiar and comfortable with the layout and presented information.
  • Enthusiastic about the topic.
  • Knows more about the topic than is presented in the poster.
  • Knowledgeable about similar or closely-related studies (if there are any), or the history of research on the topic.
  • Communicates effectively and handles questions well.
  • Has an idea about where to take the research next.