Purdue Writing Showcase

2019 ICaP Showcase = 2019 Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference

Photo credit: Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference

Beginning in Spring 2019, ICaP’s yearly showcase of student work will merge with the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference. Students will present their work in ICaP-specific categories to an interested public—and the top projects in each category will be awarded prizes. The URC is a great opportunity to show off hard work and practice valuable presentation skills.

In 2019, the Undergraduate Research Conference will take place in the PMU Ballrooms Tuesday, April 9 from 9-11:30 AM and 1-3:30 PM. Students should submit applications by March 1, 2019.  Students who wish to be considered for the oral presentation competition must apply by February 4, 2019.

What is the Undergraduate Research Conference?

Traditionally in the  spring semester, the Introductory Composition and Professional Writing programs at Purdue University host a Writing Showcase. The Writing Showcase is a day-long symposium that displays posters representing the year’s most innovative print and digital projects produced by English 106 and 108 students, professional writing students, and instructors. This year, however, we are merging with the Undergraduate Research Conference to offer students a bigger, broader experience.

How’s this different from our old showcase?

There are four  changes both students and instructors should be aware of with the shift to the URC:

  • Instructors can no longer nominate students. Students must apply to URC directly.
    • The participation form for the URC must be completed by the student.
    • Instructors  can and should encourage students to participate!
  • Students must write an abstract.
    • Unlike our old participation forms, which asked only for title, category, and project information, students must write a brief abstract to apply for the URC. However, these abstracts are all included in a book for each competition, which is a wonderful bonus, and students get excellent practice writing abstracts.
    • We’ve included helpful resources below and encourage instructors to assist students with these abstracts—and for instructors teaching research posters, maybe consider incorporating that into the unit!
  • All posters must be formal printed research posters.
    • Gone are the old science fair-style trifold boards; for the URC, students will need to design and print professional research posters.
    • A number of facilities on campus allow students to print research posters; see the resources below for more.
  • Students get much more exposure and the opportunity for greater recognition.
    • Perhaps the best benefit to merging our showcase with the URC is that we’re offering our students a chance to show off their hard work to a much larger audience for greater possible return. Students, faculty, and administrators from across campus attend the URC, and student participants are also exposed to many types of research projects prepared by their peers.

Information for ICaP Students

Why should students participate?

The ICaP Showcase at the URC  gives you the opportunity to:

  • Professionalize and share your work
  • Demonstrate your research and creativity
  • Network with other undergraduate leaders
  • Compete for prizes

Many members of the Purdue community, including deans, department heads, professors, graduate and undergraduate students, and even President Daniels, attend the URC. Sharing your work in this forum provides you the opportunity to network with these individuals and to professionally share your research and writing, skills that will be important to you both in your future courses at Purdue and in your future careers.

How can I participate (as a student)?

Register to participate in the URC by filling out the online registration form. All are welcome, so long as you’re prepared to make (or print, if you’ve already made) a research poster! If you’re not sure how to get started, talk with your instructor or check out the resources below.

In which categories can I submit my poster?

You do not have to choose a category when you enter, and projects can be considered for multiple categories. We’ll give you stickers to add to the edges of your poster to indicate that yours is an ICaP project and which categories you’ve entered.

This year’s categories are:

  • Best ICaP Poster Design
  • Best Visualization of ICaP Research
  • Most Creative ICaP Project
  • Best Overall ICaP Project

How do I write an abstract for submission?

Abstracts for the URC can range from very short (2-3 sentences) to half a page, depending on the project, and they are meant to summarize the most important parts of your project.

If you need help, the Purdue OWL offers resources (and you can make an appointment in the lab to work with a tutor), and the Office of Undergraduate Research offers workshops to help students complete abstracts for the URC. The Purdue Writing Lab is also planning to offer ICaP-specific workshops to help students turn classroom projects into abstracts, posters, and presentations (details forthcoming).

For more on abstracts:

What should I include on my poster?

All you need is a formal, printed poster; exactly what you include on your poster is up to you. However, think carefully about the public audience who will be viewing your work. The idea is to give URC  guests a visually-oriented overview of the project, allowing them to “get” the project quickly and easily. Students might create a poster highlighting key research questions or findings, or they might represent the research in a visual way, either through collage, selected quotes, or other visual aids.

Here are a few things to consider when designing your poster:

  • What details do your readers need to know about your project?
  • How can you organize these details into sections on your poster that are easy to understand?
  • What should you include on your poster that will distinguish it from the others in your prize category?
  • What makes your project unique?
  • How can you represent your original work in a visually appealing and professional way?

Traditional research posters usually start with a title across the top, along with a subtitle and the name of the author (or authors). Beneath this, posters are usually divided into three columns, much like a trifold board. The far left section is usually dedicated to a presentation of the problem or situation; this section is meant to situation the reader. The middle may be dedicated to important findings or highlights from the research process. The right column may include a conclusion, a reflective element, or some other important information for the reader to take with them.

Here are a few quick tips on research posters. Remember, your text should be readable from a few feet away!  

Your poster will be set up on its display board, and you can expect viewers to ask questions or seek a short explanation of your work.

We have prepared some guidelines and tips for poster creation, which you can find in our poster design resources. You may have already created a poster as part of a project for class. If so, great! You may still find our guides helpful in revision. Just like papers, posters can benefit from a second or third draft. Your English instructor, or a tutor at the Writing Lab, can also be valuable resources in helping design your poster.

Perhaps example abstracts  from previous URC submissions would help? Your research project may not look like many of these previous submissions, but that’s okay—your work is unique and deserves to be showcased.