The 40th New England Undergraduate Sociology Research Conference

Bridgewater State University


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Abstract and Presentation Guidelines

Types of Presentation

When you submit your proposal, you will be asked to identify what type of presentation your proposal is for. You may choose from the following categories. If you have further questions, your sociology professor or advisor can likely help, or feel free to send your question to the conference organizer.

· Single-Authored presentations are 12-14 minutes long. Papers with more than one author, but that will be presented by a single presenter, will be treated as single-author presentations. Conference organizers will group presentations together with others sharing a common topic, focus, or methodology. Usually, a session will have three to five presentations.

· Group presentations are treated as single-author presentations, with 12-14 minutes allotted for the entire presentation. If your group presentation requires more time, contact the conference organizer. It is likely that we can accommodate your time requirements, but such arrangements must be made in advance. Alternatively, consider the panel presentation format described below.

· Panel presentations typically consist of three to five presentations with a common theme submitted together in a single proposal. Usually, but not always, a panel presentation will fill an entire session. In addition to the presenters, the panel also will have a moderator who will introduce the presentation and provide context for the audience. The moderator may be one of the student presenters or a faculty member from the presenters' college or university.

· Poster presentations report research activities or results in visual and summary form. Space is set aside in a common area for these presentations, and easels or tables will be provided to display the posters. Presenters will set up their presentation in the morning, and they are then free to participate in on-going sessions. In mid-day, presenters will return to their posters for a designated period where they will be available to describe or explain their poster to interested Conference attendees.

· Your poster should be easily read at a distance of four feet, and should include:

· The title of the presentation (104-point size);

· The author(s) and affiliation(s) (72-point size);

· The body of your text, along with graphs, charts, or tables, if included. (16-point or larger).

· Click here for more Poster Guidelines prepared by the Writing Center at Colorado State University.

· Find additional Poster Presentation Resources assembled by Eric Johnson at Washington State University.

Preparing Your Abstract

This year’s conference organizer may require that participants submit a complete paper, or they may just ask for a 100-200 word abstract. In either case, it is important that both your abstract and paper be carefully prepared and professional in its appearance. If you have never written an abstract, you should begin by reviewing several abstracts that appear at the beginning of scholarly articles in sociology journals. (You can find sociology journals in your college library; ask your reference librarian for assistance).

Once you are familiar with the idea of an abstract, review the detailed guidelines for preparing your abstract provided by the American Sociological Association. Try to follow the spirit of these guidelines, and pay close attention to your writing: word choice, grammar, syntax, logic, and structure. Proposals with poorly prepared abstracts may not be accepted for presentation.

The abstract guidelines presented here are for the classic sociological research report. If you are submitting a proposal for some other type of presentation--for example, reporting on a service-learning or other field experience--you will need to adapt the abstract format to fit your proposal. Just be sure to follow the broad imperative of an informative abstract: be orderly, succinct, and concrete, and in no case should your abstract exceed 200 words. Finally, if your proposal is for a type of presentation other than a traditional research report, read carefully the Call for Participation to be sure that the type of report that you are preparing fits within this year’s guidelines.

Getting Ready for Your Presentation

To prepare for your presentation, look over your paper and decide what the most important ideas are. You do not need to include every detail in your presentation. You will want to rehearse your presentation, both to polish your presentation and to be sure that it fits within the session's time frame.

For many conferences, student presentations have not always been based upon student "research," per se. They sometimes have been  presentations on experiential learning, service learning, or some other aspect of pedagogy. If you would like to present this type of presentation, check the Call for Participation to be sure that it fits within this year’s guidelines.

Feel free to include your own experiences in the research process, such as surprises or mistakes made; your audience is interested both in your findings and in the research process itself.

If you have any questions contact the Conference Organizer, they will be happy to help!

Presenting Your Paper

When it is time to present your paper, you will find that the audience is friendly and supportive. Because there are concurrent sessions, the audience for your presentation is not likely to be large; it often has the feel of a small class presentation.

Presenters sit together at the front of the room, and the session moderator (a sociologist assigned by the conference organizer) introduces each presentation and keeps track of time so that the session begins and ends on time. When the last presentation of the session is finished, the moderator will invite the audience to ask questions and to participate in a general discussion in response to the presentations. Discussions often are lively and interesting. Presenters may want to take notes on any suggestions or constructive criticism arising from the discussion as such comments can be invaluable in strengthening both your paper and your ideas.

It is quite normal to be nervous in a formal presentation, and your audience understands this. You may choose to speak from note cards, from PowerPoint slides, or from a text document. In any of these cases, what you actually present is usually an edited, shorter version of your actual paper. Often some of the detail that needs to be in your paper can be left out of your conference presentation. You might want to have such detail handy, though, in case it would be useful during the discussion session that follows.