Guidelines for Political Science Conference Poster and Paper by wuxiangyu


									                         What to Expect When You’re Presenting
        Guidelines for Political Science Conference Poster and Paper Presentations

               Prepared by Kerry Crawford, Lisel Hintz, and Michelle Jurkovich

The following tips and guidelines are intended to assist GW Political Science graduate students
with presenting research at professional conferences. Each person’s style is different, so this
document is simply meant to provide friendly advice for conference presenters.

The life of the conference paper proceeds in four stages: applying; preparing the presentation;
giving the presentation; and following up. Preparing and giving the presentation will be different
for panels and posters, so these steps are divided accordingly.

       1. Applying to the conference (Advice for panels and posters)
             Keep track of deadlines, not just for major ones like MPSA, APSA, ISA but
                also topic- and region-specific ones like Democracy and Governance,
                Nationalities, Central and Eastern European ISA.
             Try not to get caught having to write an abstract the night before the deadline
                - but we've all done it and you won't be penalized for submitting. So if a
                brilliant idea comes to you at the last minute, try to write it up as coherently as
                you can. Think: would I want to read this paper?
             Also, think about the theme of the conference and how you can shape a class
                research paper to fit the theme. While it is often true that putting together a
                panel might make for easier acceptance (you're doing the work for the chair),
                sometimes panels have been rejected because of one paper the review
                committee didn't like. If you think you can put together a solid panel that is
                theme-relevant go for it. If not, don't be afraid to submit your paper on its
                own. Students in the department have had success both ways.
             For the abstract, some students write lengthy paragraphs that utilize the full
                amount of allotted words/characters, but others have found that five or six
                strong and clear sentences can get the job done. Don't feel like you have to fill
                the space.
             Good luck!

       2. Preparing for the conference (Advice for panels)
              Congratulations on your acceptance!
              If you find your topic changes a little bit from when you originally submitted
                the abstract, no worries. There can be a little bit of wiggle room here,
                especially since you probably submitted the abstract 9 months in advance and
                long before you wrote the paper. Just be sure to contact the panel chair with
                your revised topic.
              Check out what kind of technology will be available to you for use during
                your presentation. Generally, the conference website FAQ will indicate this. If
                you have access to a projector and can hook up your laptop or someone else's,
                prepare a PowerPoint with pictures, maps, your research question, your thesis,
                and any other eye-catching bits that will connect you with your audience. You
           don't have to have a ton of information (and you shouldn't) presented visually,
           but having simply bullet points and images seems to make good presentations
          If you use PowerPoint, the "print slides with notes" feature is helpful. For
           people who get nervous when presenting, print reminders or quasi-scripts for
           the slides that are less familiar or more complicated. It's better to have notes
           and not use them than to need them and not have them.
          Practice your presentation a few times. It may seem silly to you while you're
           doing it, but it helps. If possible, practice in front of a friend, spouse,
           significant other, family member, or attentive pet because this is profoundly
           more awkward than presenting to a room full of strangers and you'll be much
           more confident for the actual presentation.
          Dress for success. Looking professional will make you feel more confident.

   Preparing for the conference (Advice for posters)
       Congratulations on your acceptance!
       If you lack swanky software, consider designing your poster as a Power Point
         slide and saving it as a .jpeg. Then you can upload the file online to your
         local poster printer (FedEx Kinkos printed mine).
       Budget around $60 for poster printing. This should get you a 3X4 poster.
         Splurge and get one of those cardboard tubes to carry it in, so it will be in
         good shape on conference day.
       At APSA they will provide a 8X4 feet board on which to pin your poster and a
         covered table in front of the poster to set your papers on. Consider what else
         you might draw out of your paper to put in the remaining space on the board
         (as your printed poster likely won't take the whole space). Enlarging your
         research question and allowing it to stand alone (and attract attention) is one
         option. Providing graphs or tables is another.
       Bring copies of your paper (plan on 20-30) with your business card stapled to
         the front. Have these available in front of your poster so that interested people
         can grab a copy of your paper and have your contact info.
       Have an "elevator pitch" planned. When people stop by, how will you market
         your project to them? What is puzzling about your project?
       Have a colorful poster (don't have a white background). Most posters will be
         white and bland. If yours isn't, it's more likely people will actually pay
         attention to it. :)
          Nobody will read it and you'll have missed out on a great opportunity.
       Dress for success. Looking professional will make you feel more confident.

3. Giving the presentation (Advice for panels)
       Sip water before you present to calm yourself down and keep your throat in
         top speaking shape!
       Have your first four sentences memorized in case you freeze up at the very
         beginning. This helps you ease into the presentation.
       Have fun! You’re giving a conference presentation, you smarty!
          Take notes when your chair/discussant is speaking about your paper. The
           discussant usually has awesome suggestions but it's hard to remember
           everything after the fact, so unless s/he says "I've printed this out for you and
           will give it to you later", scribble some notes.
          Take notes on audience questions if it helps you remember them and answer
           them more completely.
           If you don't know the answer to an audience question, don't fudge it, just
           admit that you haven't looked at that yet but you think it's a great
           addition/question and will research it. There may be regional specialists,
           experts on small matters you mention but that you don't focus on. You can
           thank them for their insight and follow up later.
          Listen to the other panelists and try to formulate questions or comments for
           them in case no one in the audience asks them anything. This makes you a
           good panel citizen.
          Use the ample opportunities to find and talk with scholars who are studying
           things you're interested in. Ask them questions about your research, their
           research, etc. Invite them to your panel if you feel bold.
          Get business cards if you don't already have them. People will ask you for
           your information and you do not want to hand them a scrap of notebook

   Giving the presentation (Advice for posters)
       Wear comfortable shoes. You will be standing for 45 minutes talking to
       Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled presentation time to set up your
         poster and get to know your poster neighbors. They are likely doing work that
         is similar to yours (the conference will attempt to group like posters together).
          When there is a lull in observers, take advantage of the opportunity to get to
         know your neighbors and ask questions about their research.
       Have fun and good luck!

4. Following up on your contacts and revising the paper (Advice for panels and posters)
       The paper can travel from MPSA to APSA or ISA - it's ok to present multiple
         versions of a paper at different conferences.
       Contemplate getting the paper ready for publication. You can use your first
         conference as a "think piece" and solicit feedback/suggestions/alternative
         perspectives and sources to consider.
       Also, take advantage of the opportunity to attend other panels; learn from
         others' presentations, both stylistically and substantively.

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