About Professional Conferences - From Attending to Presenting at Conferences - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

About Professional Conferences
From Attending to Presenting at Conferences
Conference Proposals and Article Types

The professional conference has certain characteristics that distinguish it from other types of gatherings. It provides a forum for deliberating and discussing topics of interest to a group of professionals with specialized expertise. Those topics typically include such things as recent trends, issues, and controversies; advances in practice, research, and technology; and matters pertinent to the sponsoring organization, such as policies affecting the group and the status of the profession. Usually, the sponsors of professional conferences are learned societies, professional organizations, government-affiliated groups, and higher education institutions or research centers. The types of professional conferences range from local to national and international meetings. General content of the conferences may be focused exclusively on research, practitioner oriented, or a combination of the two. Large meetings typically offer many different sessions presented by various speakers on different topics that are scheduled during the same time slot. The format of the sessions varies as well. It may be a formal speech, a workshop, panel discussion, debate, round table, collection of posters in an exhibit hall, a virtual presentation on screen, or an all-day institute. Large conferences also may have a career/job search and interview activities for members of a professional association or offer trainings on gaining accreditation for higher education programs. Leading professional societies in the field often sponsor meetings. Typically there is a conference planning committee to manage the event in relation to sending out a call for proposals, abstracts, and/or papers; reviewing the submissions and notifying the proposers of the decisions rendered; generating a schedule of events that will be published in the conference program; and evaluating the success of the meeting. Prospective presenters can learn about opportunities to present at conferences, both large and small, on the sponsoring organization’s website, calendar, and journal. Calls for proposals and papers include detailed information about what the organization is seeking, the format requirements, and the procedure for submitting abstracts, proposals or papers. Typically, these submissions for major conferences are submitted online.

For researchers, presenting at conferences is an efficient and exciting forum in which researchers can share their research and findings. Researchers use academic conferences as the major social arena to discuss their work. Successful conference presentations are an opportunity for researchers to communicate their research, receive feedback from others working in the same area, establish research/writing teams, and build a network of fellow professionals with specialized expertise (Jalongo & Machado, 2015).