Fall Research Conference



#2023APPAM Conference Participant Guidelines



Important Dates

Session Types Speaker Center Speaker Guidelines Presenter Guidelines
Moderator Guidelines Chair Guidelines Discussant Guidelines Poster Guidelines

Workshop Guidelines

Communities Guidelines


Conference Participant Guidelines

Below you can find important information on how to make the most out of your experience this November. All events will take place in US Eastern Time. Please view the participant guidelines below for more information on your role at #2023APPAM.

Important Participant Dates

September 13          Participation Confirmation Deadline
September 27 Participant Registration Deadline
October 27  Paper Upload & Session Edit/Changes Deadline  


Session Types

  • Communities: These one-hour gatherings are informal meet-ups for specific shared interest topics. These sessions are discussion-based and they should not include a formal presentation.

  • Late-Breaking Roundtables: These sessions were selected during a separate submission process in September 2023 in order to include timely policy-related research topics that have arisen since submissions closed in April 2023. These sessions will follow APPAM's usual Roundtable format.

  • Panel: Panels include a session organizer, chair, one to two discussants, and three to four papers. Panels with four papers are encouraged to have two discussants. Presenting authors may not serve as the chair or discussant on the same panel. 

  • Poster: Poster sessions are single paper presentations that are presented in a poster format. Presenters will be asked to discuss their work and answer questions during one of two poster sessions.

  • Roundtable: Roundtables do not include papers, but rather feature speakers who will discuss a topic from varying perspectives and draw the audience into a discussion on the topic. Roundtable presentations include up to four speakers plus a moderator. 
  • Workshops: Workshops are extended sessions and should be interdisciplinary, hands-on and interactive, or focused on a special interest or skill training topic. Workshop proposals include one moderator/facilitator and up to four speakers.

Speaker Center

Accepted conference participants received a personalized Speaker Center link with confirmed roles in late July 2023. Speaker Center contains all pertinent session information, the required role confirmation step, and it’s the place to edit current Online Program information. If you haven’t received your Speaker Center link, please email conferencesupport@appam.org as soon as possible.

Please see below on important Speaker Center features and notes on how to edit your information once you’ve logged into your APPAM Confex Speaker Center account. The below items reference the left toolbar on the Speaker Center home page:

Information Tab - This is where you'll find important information about the conference & how to use Speaker Center.

Update Personal Information Tab - This is where you can update your name, affiliation, email address or confidential demographic information. After updating desired fields, please be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page & hit the blue "Save" button.

Email History Tab - NEW in 2023! You can now find your Confex email history in one place on this tab. Emails are labeled by date & time sent and subject line, from newest to oldest. 

Confirm Participation Tab - This is where you must confirm participation in all roles by September 13. The top of the page provides instructions on how to complete the required step and the bottom of the page lists acceptance information: session name(s), session role(s), scheduled date(s) & time(s), session ID #(s), program type(s), and Online Program link(s). When ready, or by the September 13 deadline, select the appropriate Accept/Decline radio button on the far right of every listed role.

Note: Only active session roles (Presenting Author, Session Chair, Discussants, Speaker, Moderator) will be listed here and must confirm participation. Inactive roles (Submitter, Organizer, Author) will not be listed here since attendance is optional.

Accepted Roles Tab - This is where you can edit individual and session role(s), and  paper and session details.  Please note that in order to make any of the edits noted below, you must be listed as a session participant or a paper author. Based on your role within the session or paper, you have the ability to make the following edits from this tab:

  1. Contact Session People – You will see a list of role, name, and email for all participants in your session so you can prepare for your session in advance. 
  2. Add Session Chairs, Discussants, Speakers or Moderators: Session organizers, chairs, discussants, moderators, and speakers can add new or edit existing session roles here.
    • To add one of these roles, simply click on "Accepted Roles", then select the submission for which you would like to add a person to and navigate down to "Edit Participants".
    • To add a new person to a role that is not currently listed as a session participant, select "Add Participant"
  3. Remove Session Chairs, Discussants, Speakers or Moderators: Session organizers, chairs, discussants, moderators, and speakers can add remove some existing session roles here.
    • To remove a person from a role, click on the trashcan icon next to their name
  4. Add a New Presenting Author or Co-authors: Presenting Authors and co-authors can add additional co-authors or change the presenting author here
    • To add a new presenting author, simply click on "Accepted Roles", then select the submission for which you would like to add a presenting author to and navigate down to "Edit Participants".
      1. To make an already listed co-author the new presenting author, please select the presenting author option listed next to their name
      2. To make a new person the presenting author that is not listed as a co-author, please select "Add participant"
  5. Remove a New Presenting Author or Co-authors: Presenting Authors and Co-authors can remove other paper authors from here
    • To remove a co-author from the paper, click on the trashcan icon next to their name
  6. Edit Title:
    • Session organizers, chairs, discussants, moderators, and speakers can edit the session title here.
    • Presenting authors and speakers can edit their paper title here.
      1. To edit the title of your paper or session, simply click on "Accepted Roles", then select the submission for which you would like to edit the title and navigate down to "Edit Title"
  7. Edit Session Description:
    • Session organizers, chairs, discussants, and moderators can edit the session abstract (100 - 500 word description) here.
      1. To edit the session description, simply click on "Accepted Roles", then select the submission for which you would like to edit the description and navigate down to "Edit Session Description"
  8. Edit Paper Abstract: Presenting authors can edit their paper abstract (100 - 500 word description) by clicking the "Upload Abstract" blue button.
    • To edit the abstract text, simply click on "Accepted Roles", then select the submission for which you would like to edit the text and navigate down to "Edit Abstract Text"
  9. Upload Paper: This is where Panel presenting authors (required) & poster presenters (optional) can upload their full paper. All panel presenters must upload their papers or share them with their discussants by October 27, 2023. If you do not wish to make your paper public, you must email your paper to your session discussant. Poster presenters are not required to upload their papers but are encouraged to do so. 
    • To upload your paper, simply click on "Accepted Roles", then select the submission for which you would like to upload the paper and navigate down to "Upload Paper" and click on the blue "upload paper" button

Presenter Letter Tab - If you need a presenter invitation letter for travel or work, you can download the letter here.

Certificate of Participation Tab - This tab will be accessible post-conference for participants who need proof of participation. 

Upload Headshot Tab - Uploaded headshots will be visible in the Online Program and mobile app. If you wish to have yours displayed, please upload here. Need a new headshot? Stop by the Headshot Lounge in the APPAM Exhibit Hall to receive a complimentary digital picture.

Important Speaker Center Note: Please email conferencesupport@appam.org if you have more than one Speaker's Center page. You may have multiple profiles in the system and they must be merged.

Coming Soon in 2023! Speaker Center tutorial video.

Speaker Guidelines

General Guidelines

These guidelines are for all APPAM conference participants for presenterschairsdiscussants and posters. Below you can find detailed information on each session role and you can find helpful speaker best practices here. 

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 discussant(s), 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 keep the following points in mind:

  • APPAM members like to talk and react. Members include many experts; session participants consistently praise APPAM conferences for the exceptional amount of professional interaction that occurs. Much of this interaction happens within or is stimulated by the session discussions. With this in mind, 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 discussant's comments.
  • Please see be below session format grid for recommended presentation time limits and confirm timing with fellow speakers. Session contact information can be found in Confex Speaker Center. The discussant should be granted roughly as much time as a presenter. Multiple discussants should divide this allotted time among themselves.
  • If they are to provide useful insight to authors and serve as stimulants for audience follow-on, discussants must receive papers no later than two weeks prior to the conference. This will allow for adequate time for discussants to read the session papers. Presenters will receive instructions on how to upload papers in Confex Speaker Center and are urged to do so by the deadline provided so discussants have enough time to read the papers and prepare comments before the conference.
  • 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 discussant(s), 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.

Dates to Remember

  • September 13: All active session roles must be confirmed.
  • September 27: All presenters must be registered for the conference. Any presenter not registered by this date is subject to removal from the program.
  • October 27 - All changes to submissions, including authors, titles, and abstracts, must be complete. 
  • October 27 - All papers must be uploaded to submission system through the Speaker Center received via email.  Please contact conferencesupport@appam.org if you have not received this link.
  • November 9 – 11 - APPAM Fall Research Conference in Atlanta, GA

Session Formats

Below are guidelines for well- timed sessions; these sample sessions run from 10:15 – 11:45 am.

Three to Four Paper Panel

Three Speaker Roundtable

10:15 - 10:20 - Chair introduces the participants & topic

10:20 - 10:35 - First paper

10:35 - 10:50 - Second paper

10:50 - 11:05 - Third paper

11:05 - 11:25 - Discussant(s) presents their comment

11:25 - 11:45 - Audience Discussion

Sessions with four papers should allow each 12 minutes for each paper presentation.

10:15 - 10:20 - Moderator introduces speakers & topic

10:20 - 10:35 - First speaker

10:35 - 10:50 - Second speaker

10:50 - 11:05 - Third speaker

11:05 - 11:25 - Moderator presents their comments

11:25 - 11:45 - Audience Discussion

Sessions with four speakers should allow each 12 minutes for each speaker.


If you have any questions, please contact conferencesupport@appam.org.


Presenter Guidelines

You can find contact information for all session participants in your Confex Speaker Center. Please reach out to your chair and let them know the status of your paper and when you plan on uploading it for the discussant. If your paper is not ready to be posted publicly, you can share it with the discussant privately but you must share it with them by the submission deadline to give them adequate time to prepare comments.

The following format is suggested as it has been found to work well within the 12-15 minute time frame you are allotted for your presentation.

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. 

Slides: It is highly recommended to use 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.

Additionally, please review the speaker best practices

Technology: Sessions must bring one presenter laptop and one flash drive with pre-loaded slides for all presenters. Do not rely on cloud storage or streaming options as conference internet connections may cause presentation delays. Meeting rooms will be equipped with an HDMI cable to connect the laptop to projection in the meeting room so an HDMI port laptop is strongly recommended. If an HDMI port laptop is unavailable, you can request a different cable from the onsite tech support. There will be tech support contact information sheet located in each meeting room if you need assistance.

There will be 15 minutes or less available for setting up presentations prior to the start of most sessions. With strict 90 minute timeslots, even a minor delay can greatly hamper the success of a session.

Moderator Guidelines

The moderator is critical to the success of a session. The moderator makes sure that the session runs smoothly and makes a quick introduction of each speaker in the session and facilitates the conversation. APPAM asks moderators to do the following: 

  • Convene the panel, either by email or conference call, in advance to make to discuss presentation format, talking points and questions.
  • Start the session on time and state the ground rules at the beginning of the discussion, including timing and commitment to discussion. Note that observing stated time limits shows respect for other presenters and for the audience. 
  • Introduce all participants at the beginning of the session. 
  • Monitor the clock. Speakers who appear to be off-track for completion on time should be cautioned mid-presentation. APPAM will supply moderators with four signs that read, "5 minutes" "2 minutes", "1 minute", and "Stop" to help alert presenters to their timing. 
  • Moderators 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 period if the audience is not engaged and ensure that questions and statements from the audience are short and to the point.

Chair Guidelines

The chair can be critical to the success of a session. The principal challenge for a chair 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 to do the following: 

  • Monitor paper progress before the meetings and encourage timely distribution of session papers to all discussant(s). 
  • Ensure that presenters upload papers to Confex Speaker Center for discussants to read in advance of the conference. If they have not by October 27, 2023, please bring this to the attention of conferencesupport@appam.org.
  • Convene the panel in advance to make introductions and develop some rapport. 
  • You are encouraged to consider an alternative format if the panelists agree; for example, having a discussant summarize all the papers at the beginning of the session. These alternative formats can help facilitate audience participation and discussion.
  • Start the session on time and state the ground rules at the beginning of the discussion, including timing and commitment to discussion. Note that observing stated time limits shows respect for other presenters and for the audience. 
  • 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 with four signs that read, "5 minutes" "2 minutes", "1 minute", and "Stop" to help alert presenters to their timing. 
  • Chairs should sit in the front row of the audience, facing the presenters, rather than at the head table, while the presentations are in progress. 
  • Do not ask the panelists to respond to the discussant(s) comments. Instead, move quickly to an open discussion that involves the audience. 
  • Be prepared to initiate the question period if the audience is not engaged and ensure that questions and statements from the audience are short and to the point.

Discussant Guidelines

Discussants play a critical role in determining the quality of audience participation in the session. Discussants should be aware of the above time limits. Please allow yourself at least two weeks to read the papers for the sessions and formulate comments tying the papers together before the conference. If the presenter(s) have not uploaded their paper(s) or sent them to you privately by October 27, 2023, please let the APPAM office know at conferencesupport@appam.org.

The bulk of the time in the session should be spent encouraging audience participation. Discussants should also keep the following in mind:

  • Discussants are asked to make integrative comments rather than paper-by-paper critiques. In many cases, very specific or detailed critics can be shared with paper authors outside of the session. See above grid for suggested discussant comment time limits.
  • If there are two discussants for a session, please contact the other discussant and determine how you will split the responsibility of reading/providing commentary for the papers in your session. Contact information can be found in Confex Speaker Center.
  • Discussant remarks about each paper should deal with the major issues that enhance or undermine the paper's contributions, reserving minor issues for direct communication with the authors.
  • Discussants are encouraged to help shape the audience participation in the session by identifying key points worthy of further analysis and discussion. 
  • 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?
    • Do we need to rethink the roots of the policy problems we are researching? Are we missing research opportunities because we have become too comfortable with our research designs and communities?
    • How can we use the expertise of those in public management, and those who study the political process, to inform our research?
    • 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?

Poster Guidelines

Size: Poster should be horizontal (landscape) format with a maximum size of eight feet wide by four feet tall. Below is what the poster board will look like, for reference (ignore the Velcro comment – we use pushpins):



Printing: You need to bring the printed poster with you. We recommend using your trusted printer at home & bringing it as a carry-on item on the plane in poster tube. If that’s not possible, you can find a local printer near the property but please keep in mind the turnaround times and expenses.

Poster Session: Posters should be posted up no later than 30 minutes before your session and should be taken down within an hour following the session. All posters left after this time will be discarded. 

All poster boards will be numbered by APPAM, indicating assigned poster spaces for each session. You will receive your specific assignment location in late October or early November. Thumbtacks will be provided for putting up your poster. Please do not use tape, staples or any other type of adhesive to hang your poster.

Workshop Guidelines 

New in 2023! There will be two daily 180-minute workshops at the #2023APPAM conference that will run concurrently with regular sessions. These workshops should be very hands-on and interactive with ample time for audience discussion and participation.

Timing: Below is an example of a well-timed workshop for the 8:30 – 11:45 am timeslot and includes three topics; however, workshop agendas will vary greatly.

  • Workshops should respect the mid-session 15 minute break and should provide at least 15 minutes of audience discussion between topics. 
  • Workshops may see participants come & go during the session break and that should be factored into the plan accordingly.

Workshop - 180 Minutes

8:30 - 8:45 - Introductions, agenda, and goals for the day (15 minutes)

8:45 - 9:15 - Topic/breakout one (30 minutes)

9:15 - 9:30 - Regroup for Q&A/audience discussion (15 minutes)

9:30 - 10:00 - Topic/breakout two (30 minutes)

10:00 - 10:15 - Required break (15 minutes)

10:15 - 10:30 - Welcome new attendees & recap (15 minutes)

10:30 - 10:45 - Regroup for Q&A/audience discussion (15 minutes)

10:45 - 11:15 - Final topic/breakout three (30 minutes)

11:15 - 11:30 - Regroup for Q&A/audience discussion (15 minutes)

11:30 - 11:45 - Wrap up, next steps, etc. (15 minutes)


Room Set:

  • Workshop rooms will have projection, a podium with a mic, and a head table for four with two shared tabletop mics at the front of the room.
  • The audience will be set in rounds of eight with one shared floor mic.
  • We are unable to accommodate special room set requests and facilitators must return furniture to the existing room set at the conclusion of each workshop.


  • APPAM provided:
    • Standard conference wireless internet will be available in the meeting room, but it's not suitable for streaming so please have all materials downloaded before arriving.
    • Four flip charts and markers will be provided to help facilitate hands-on learning and breakout group opportunities. 
    • 5 minute, 2 minute, stop signs will be provided by APPAM for the moderator to utilize.
    • No food, drink, or additional supplies will be provided by APPAM. 
  • Facilitator provided:
    • Laptop computer with materials downloaded & readily accessible (HDMI preferred but alternative cables available, as requested)
    • Slide advancer (optional)
    • Other materials as needed, i.e. print outs, pens, paper, forms, etc.

Pre- & Post-Workshop Communication:

  • Workshops do not have registration/RSVPs so facilitators cannot communicate via email.
  • Facilitators may upload hand-outs and provide detailed agendas by updating the Workshop submission in Speaker Center (see above).
  • Facilitators are welcome to collect names & emails on a voluntary basis during their workshops for post-event communications, but APPAM is unable to assist with the collection or distribution of materials.


  • Plan out talking points, speaking order, & allotted speaker time then host a dry run.
  • The moderator should keep track of time and give prompts throughout the workshop to keep speakers on time. The moderator may use the provided 5/2/stop signs.
  • Plan for attendees to come and go throughout the 180-minute session, especially during the required mid-session break. Include a second welcome & recap after the break. Keep the rotating audience in mind if assigning breakout groups.
  • From Community Toolbox, workshops should be:
    • Participatory - Participants are active, both in that they influence the direction of the workshop and have a chance to practice what's being discussed.
    • Informal - There's a good deal of discussion in addition to participation, rather than just presenting material.
    • Self-Contained - Although a workshop may end with handouts and suggestions for further reading, the presentation should to stand on its own and require minimal homework.
  • Vary your presentation methods and activities – This will help keep people focused, will speak to different participants' learning styles, and will make the workshop more interesting and fun. Consider:
    • Hands-on activities that are appropriate for the designated room set (see above).
    • Include both group and individual activities.
    • Activities should be entertaining and interactive. Avoid being a "talking head" as much as possible.
    • Include various kinds of audio-visual material, such as highly visual but limited slides, video, motion graphics, and audio recordings.
    • Include practice of a particular technique or method that's being presented, even if only for a short time, to give participants the chance to see what it feels like.

Communities Guidelines 

The Community Lounge is intended to be a casual networking space. These one-hour informal meet-ups are discussed-based for shared interest topics and should not include formal presentation, slides, or speakers.

Organizer Tips: 

  • Do not prepare slides or speakers.
  • Prepare for guided and organic discussions alike.
  • Discussions can take place in a large group format or breakout groups, with or without prepared talking points.
  • Prepare to help spark conversation and keep it going as needed. Some quieter gatherings need a conversation boost from the organizer(s).
  • Ensure all attendees are welcomed and engaged in the conversation throughout the 60-minute event.
  • At the conclusion of the event, please return the furniture to its original position so the room is ready for the next gathering. If you provided hand-outs, please collect & take with you, but leave the lounge sponsor (RAND) materials behind. 

Room Set:

  • Podium with one mic at the front of the room
  • Large lounge area in the center of the room for large group discussions
  • Tables & chairs along the perimeter of the room for breakout group discussions or overflow for large group discussions
  • The Communities Lounge does not include projection or TV for slides, catering, or a head table/chairs for speakers.

In addition to the individual gatherings, there will be a Community Happy Hour for the yearlong groups on Friday, November 10 at 5:30 PM. Michelle Avaroma will be in touch with yearlong Community chairs for more information.


If you have any questions about the above information, please contact conferencesupport@appam.org