AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



#Eval2016 Week: Some of this year’s Poster Authors on Creating engaging posters at the intersection of Evaluation+Design

Hello there!  Liz Zadnik here – I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with a few of the authors at this year’s poster presentation and reception.  I asked some to share their experiences with poster creation, and will also add some of the innovative strategies I noticed folks using.  

What would you tell a colleague or conference attendee about creating a poster?

Heather Clark (Texas A&M School of Public Health – “Evaluating a Service Learning Project for Undergraduates: The BVYEAH! Project”) “I’ve created a lot of posters over the past 15 years and the key thing to remember is that with too many words on the poster, no one will ever be willing to stay and want to read…Keep things to the highlights.”  

Sarah Egan-Reeves (NASA Glenn Research Center, Office of Education & Paragon TEC, Inc. “Evaluation Playbooks: Creating a comprehensive evaluation strategy for your organization.”) “We started with the theme of football, since the subject was playbooks, to bring everything together.  I don’t think you have to be gimmicky – I just feel like [imagery] brings it all together and unifies the content without too many words.”

Lesson Learned: Creating a poster brings together a number of skills, namely loving your subject and being able to create something visually-appealing.  Balancing text with relevant images will help you tell the story of your data and program.

What did you enjoy most about creating your poster?

Corliss Outley (Texas A&M School of Public Health – “Evaluating a Service Learning Project for Undergraduates: The BVYEAH! Project”) “I really enjoyed highlighting different methods – both quantitative and qualitative, so that individuals can hear the voices of the students who participated in this project.”

Jamal Muktar (PACT MERL Officer, Kenya “Peace and Stability Index: A mixed-methods evaluation design for a peacebuilding and conflict resolution program in Somalia”) “I liked pulling out the truth of the evaluation and telling [its] story.  What is most important?  You also hope that people will see what’s most important and appreciate that.”

How did creating a poster enhance your understanding of this year’s theme, Evaluation+Design?

Sarah Egan-Reeves “It’s a form of professional development – being able to tell your story and thinking about how to tell that story, visually…We know there are many different types of learners so being able to tell that story visually helps us reach more people.”

Hot Tip: Break out of the box!  (Well, not literally, keep the poster size to specified dimensions!) I saw so many ingenious approaches to visually engaging visitors.  Marlon Mitchell, of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, not only had a great poster (and project) but added texture to the mix.  He printed his poster on cloth – for easy transportation and aesthetics!  

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.



  • Sarah Egan-Reeves · October 27, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Hi here is a link to our poster on Creating Evaluation Playbooks for your organization:

    -Sarah Egan-Reeves


    • Author comment by Liz Zadnik · October 27, 2016 at 9:24 am

      Thanks Sarah!


  • Kimberly Bowman · October 27, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Would be very nice if someone could post photos of the posters that are referenced!


    • Author comment by Liz Zadnik · October 27, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Good morning Kimberly! Yes, I’m a big fan of visuals, but didn’t get permission to include images of the posters (lesson learned for next year!). I know the AEA Twitter account (@aeaweb) and the conference hashtags (#eval16 and #Eval2016) have some up! Thanks so much for your interest and comment!


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