I'm attending a summer school for graduate students, where I'm required to prepare a scientific poster about the research I'm conducting. However, the project is far from being finished, I only have some preliminary results.

How should I indicate on the poster that it's an ongoing work, and the presented results are not final yet?

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    In my field, it's basically assumed posters are ongoing work. May 9, 2019 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


How should I indicate on the poster that it's an ongoing work, and the presented results are not final yet?

As @buffy mentioned, this is certainly not an uncommon thing to do. I actually really enjoy presenting work in progress via poster, because, as opposed to already-published research, the poster viewers may be more inclined to give feedback on the methodology and/or research questions/hypotheses.

It's not necessarily vital that you specify the research is ongoing on the poster, but if it makes you feel better you can say this is a pilot result or preliminary result.

An aside, but important, I suggest first figuring out why you are presenting the poster--that is, what do you want to get out of this experience? For example, are you at all interested in method feedback? Do you hope to refine your research questions? Are you going for networking only?

Cater your poster and your discussion topics to your needs while designing a poster which helps you achieve your aims while effectively conveying your ideas to the audience.

Also an aside -- don't stress. Posters are pretty fun, especially if you know why you're there.

Another aside -- if you know the conference attendees and there is anyone you want to meet or get feedback from, email them. Tell them you would love if they could visit your poster on Day X at time Y.

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    Excellent answer. It's totally acceptable at a poster to explicitly ask your visitors for live feedback: "I have these data and have been trying to do ____ but running into problem ____ and I'm open to any suggestions for what to do next" is a perfectly reasonable part of presenting a poster. I've often visited posters where these sorts of questions turn into a whole discussion between the poster presenter and several other people who are professors and students from all around the field. Best part of a poster presentation in my opinion, and (smart) professors ask for feedback like this too.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 9, 2019 at 17:12

This is a pretty common situation. Focus on the questions you are trying to answer with your research and a bit about the methodology. In many ways that is likely to be more interesting to many of the poster "viewers" than the results since it emphasizes work in progress. Many student posters are like this.

Say something about why the questions are important and worth answering, for example.

You can mention the state of your research, of course, including what you have learned so far, but with preliminary results later work might even result in changed directions.

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