Screens are not the best place to start because they are one of the difficult to understand :)
Basically, there are 3 levels for screens - For a project, for an issuetype, for an issue operation!
See https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA050/Defining+a+Screen where it is best explained.
You do have three different ways to do this - where you can, you should try to use the same method as much as possible - keep the complexity in one place!
Field configurations - will let you show/hide the field on a project by project basis
Field contexts - much the same, except more global - this affects simple searching as well, and lets you have different options for the same fields in differen projects
Screens - probably the most complex way to do it, but also the most flexible
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