I am a first year PhD student in Psychology and I messed up. I submitted an abstract for a poster presentation before I had results in my hand thinking I will have it all done in time for the actual presentation. My advisor was very encouraging. I started analyzing the data a week ago and I feel very lost. I have made some minor progress, but I don't have a real "story" to say about my research, and I am worried its a dead end. I'm not sure what to do. How intense do poster presentations get? What does a bad poster presentation look like? Should I back out of the poster presentation? Or should I go ahead with it in the hopes that I find some minor interesting thing to say?
Don't worry. Poster presentations often showcase early work that needs further development. Think of it as a beta test to get some feedback, in order to develop a complete product. Negative results are also results, and they help deciding future directions of work.
You could mention what you attempted to do/prove, and why that would be important. List out what approach/analysis worked and didn't work,. You could spend time understanding why those things worked/didn't work, and put those on your poster. Based on these learnings, you could chalk out some directions for future work.