Tuesday, June 25, 2019

URSP Student John Cliburn Investigates Academic Poster Design

At the start of the Spring 2019 semester I began a research project investigating how different design strategies for academic posters affects what people learn from them. The idea for the project came about after a graduate student in the Health Behaviors research lab shared her research poster at one of our lab meetings. The poster was strikingly colorful and instead of relying on large paragraphs she opted for several eye-catching infographics. It sparked a debate within the lab about whether traditionally designed posters would be as effective at communicating information. Since then, I’ve been working on an experiment designed to assess how people view and learn from academic posters.
In the months since the project began, I’ve learned how to write a research proposal for an Institutional Review Board. I also learned how to properly calibrate and use an eye-tracking headset as well as how to work with the data in R. Conducting my own experiment through OSCAR’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program has been an exciting opportunity that has given me the chance to learn about applied research. The skills that I’ve developed during the course of this project will help me further my goal of conducting psychological research professionally.
In my experience, every week since I started my research has been different. Early on there was a significant amount of planning and writing that went into developing a research proposal. Creating the materials and procedures for my experiment involved many afternoons spent working in a psychology department lab space. Over the course of the semester I’ve learned how rewarding it can be to conduct my own research especially when given the freedom to try new things and approach problems creatively.