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Regional Student Conference Participant Guidelines

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These guidelines are for all APPAM conference participants (presenters, chairs, and discussants) to establish expectations. In order to encourage interdisciplinary discussion among conference participants and audience members, we want to encourage:

  • Interaction among session participants beforehand in order to maximize audience participation on the day of the session.
  • Distillation of the research, by the charis/discussants, to identify its unique contribution to policy.
  • Identification of relationships among the research presented, either by the presenters themselves or by the discussants.
  • Give and take among participants—especially between researchers and practitioners.
  • Creation of an environment to enhance understanding of issues and the attendant research informing them.

As you prepare for your session at the conference, please note the below:

  • Please allow a full 20 minutes for audience questions and commentary. This 20-minute period is separate from the time normally accorded to panelists responding to the chair/discussant's comments.
  • Presentations should last no longer than 20 minutes in panels with three presenters or 15 minutes if there are four presenters. 
  • If they are to provide useful insight to authors and serve as stimulants for audience follow-on, chairs/discussants must receive papers/projects no later than two weeks prior to the conference. This will allow for adequate time for participants to be able to read the session papers. 
     
  • An excellent panel session is one in which the presenters focus on the more important issues in their research, and collectively, with the aid of the chair/discussant, highlight connections among the presented papers. The conference should be an opportunity for professional development in which presenters and session audiences interact to enhance understanding of the issues. Your cooperation with the guidelines in this memorandum will help create an environment for this to occur.

 

Important Dates to Remember

March 6 - Registration Deadline for Student Speakers
To confirm participation in the conference, all student speakers must register by March 6.  If you are a student presenter and have not registered for the conferece by March 6, your paper/project/poster will be removed from the pogram.  

March 17 - Hotel Room Block Deadline

March 24 - Papers/projects Due to Chairs/Discussants

March 31 - Registration Deadline for Non-Speakers

April 7 - 8 - DC Regional Student Conference, George Mason University Schar School of Policy & Government, Arlington, VA  

April 9 - 10 - California Regional Student Conference, UC Riverside, Riverside, CA 

 

Example Session Formats

Below are example session formats for 3 and 4 person panels.  

3 Person Panel 4 Person Panel
  • 10:15 - 10:25 - Chair/discussant introduces the participants and the session topic
     
  • 10:25 - 10:45 -  First presenter presents 
     
  • 10:45 - 11:05 - Second presenter presents 
     
  • 11:05 - 11:25 - Third presenter presents 
     
  • 11:25 - 11:45 - Discussant and Q&A
     

 

 

  • 10:15 - 10:25 - Chair/Moderator introduces the participants and the session topic
     
  • 10:25 - 10:40 -  First presenter presents
     
  • 10:40 - 10:55 - Second presenter presents
     
  • 10:55 - 11:10 - Third presenter presents
     
  • 11:10 - 11:25 - Fourth presenter presents
     
  • 11:25 - 11:45 - Discussant and Q&A

 

Below are specific guidelines for presenters, chairs, and discussants.

Presenters
Chairs
Discussants

GUIDELINES FOR PRESENTERS

You received an email with contact information for all the people taking part in your session (other presenters, chair/discussant). Please reach out to your chair/discussant and let them know the status of your paper/project and when you plan on sending it to APPAM. 

Here's a helpful Best Practices Guide to presenting at APPAM!

Organization

Begin with a one-minute overview summary of the paper that includes the central question addressed and the major conclusions. To the extent possible, these conclusions should include policy implications. 

Explanation

Follow with the reasons listeners ought to accept the paper's conclusions: the underlying theory, description of the evidence, methodological defense of the evidence, and connection to (and improvement upon) the existing literature. This manner of exposition differs from that of a journal article but it is more appropriate to a conference format. Speaking is a more effective way to get an explanation across than reading. 

Presentation Technology

It is highly encouraged to utilize PowerPoint to prepare and display presentations. APPAM will provide projectors, screens, and computers in all meeting rooms for use during conference sessions.  However please bring a copy of your presentation with you on a USB flash drive.   With a strict 90 minutes for panel sessions, even a minor delay can greatly hamper the success of a panel. Remember that there will be less than 15 minutes available for setting up computer equipment prior to the start of most sessions. 

Contents and Format of Presentation Slides

Try to economize on the number of slides in a presentation. Slides should be readable from at least 30 feet (some of the presentation rooms are quite large, some are small), and should be displayed long enough for viewers actually to comprehend the message they are supposed to convey. A good rule of thumb is one substantive slide (a key exhibit, not an outline page) for every two minutes of presentation (or no more than 6 or 7 total slides per presentation). Slides should serve as an aid but should not be read from directly.

GUIDELINES FOR CHAIRS/DISCUSSANTS

General Guidelines
 
The chair/discussant can be critical to the success of a session. One principal challenge for a chair/discussant is to enforce time allotments. A presenter that runs over his or her allotted time is using time that belongs to another presenter or to the audience. APPAM asks chairs/discussants to do the following: 
 
Convene the panel, either by email or conference call, in advance to make introductions and develop some rapport. 
 
Start the session on time and introduce all participants at the beginning of the session. 
 
Monitor the clock. Presenters who appear to be off-track for completion on time should be cautioned mid-presentation. APPAM will supply chairs/discussants with four signs that read, "5 minutes" "2 minutes", "1 minute", and "Stop" to help alert presenters to their timing. 
 
Chairs/discussants should sit in the front row of the audience, facing the presenters, rather than at the head table, while the presentations are in progress. 
 
Be prepared to initiate the question & answer period if the audience is not engaged and ensure that questions and statements from the audience are short and to the point.
 
Guidelines for Discussion and Q&A Portion of Session
 
Chairs/discussants also play a critical role in determining the quality of audience participation in the session. Please allow yourself at least two weeks to read the papers for the sessions and formulate comments and feedback on the individual papers as well as tying the papers together before the conference.
 
If you have not received all papers/projects from your panel's speakers by March 25, please contact Meghan Grenda.
 
Chairs/discussants should keep the following in mind during their panel’s presentations:
 
  • Chairs/discussants are encouraged to help shape the audience participation in the session by identifying key points worthy of further analysis and discussion. 
  • Chairs/discussants should contribute to the policy focus of the session. To further this endeavor, here are some questions to consider and use for audience discussion:
  • Does the research inform policy in the most timely and useful way? If not, what could be to done to improve the contribution of research to policy?
     
  • Are methods used in the research and analysis properly aligned to the nature of current policy problems?
     
  • Are there emerging policy problems for which we are not producing useful research, but for which we could direct new research?
     
  • Are there limitations of information, data and research designs that prevent their research from being used by policymakers?
     
  • What common challenges have researchers encountered when studying the issue?
     
  • How can we address these challenges in future research?
  • As many student presenters will be presenting their research for the first time, please feel free to give each author constructive feedback on their individual paper. 

GUIDELINES FOR POSTER PRESENTERS

DC Regional Student Conference Poster Sessions

  • Friday, April 7, 5:30 - 6:30pm during the Networking Reception
  • Saturday, April 8, 1:15 - 2:15pm during the Poster Luncheon Session

California Regional Student Conference Poster Session

  • Sunday, April 9, 4:30 - 5:30pm during the Networking Reception

Poster Setup 

All poster presenters will have 30 minutes before their assigned session to put up their poster and 30 minutes after their assigned session to remove their poster.  

All poster boards will be numbered, indicating assigned poster spaces for each session. You will receive your specific poster session and poster assignment location in late March. Only put your poster up in your assigned space. A staff person will be on hand to help you find your space in the exhibit hall.

Thumbtacks/binderclips will be provided for putting up your poster. Please do not use tape, staples or any other type of adhesive to hang your poster.

Presenters are asked to be available at their posters during the entirety of their poster session to discuss their posters with interested viewers.

Poster Size

Posters boards are 8’x4’ in size. Your poster should be no more than 8’ wide x 4’ tall in size. Posters should be prepared as a single poster rather than multiple posters pieced together. When putting up your poster, please do not cover the board numbers. This helps other poster presenters, as well as viewers, quickly identify space assignments.

Posters printed on foam core will be much harder to hang up, please consider this when choosing the materials and format for your poster.

Tables, easels, or other support devices will not be provided and may not be supplied by presenters. Business cards or small leaflet literature for distribution may be inserted in an envelope and affixed to the board.

Poster Appearance 

  1. Keep text brief. Report only key aspects of each section (methods, results, discussion, and policy or management implications). It is not advisable to display the entire text from a manuscript. Too much detail detracts from the primary message of the text.
  2. Keep figures simple. Convey only one idea per figure, table, or photograph. Figures from publications, theses, or dissertations normally do not make good visuals.
  3. Text and figures should be readable to someone standing at a distance of six feet.
  4. Charts and graphs should clearly show what you want the audience to see.
  5. Use appropriate blank space between words, sections, and figures.
  6. Use appropriate and compatible colors for fonts, backgrounds, graphics, and matting. White backgrounds generally are best for text.
  7. Simple typefaces are preferable to fancy fonts. Bold type may be effective on headings.
 
 
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