If conferences are not built into your program, keep your eyes and ears in December-January for conferences “Call for Abstracts.” A Call for Abstracts is a description of the themes at a conference and an invitation for your to indicate your interest in participating by submitting an abstract. As we discussed in Chapter 2, researchers often write abstracts when they complete their research, because it is only then that they have a clear idea what your findings and contributions are. This might mean delaying dissemination of your research until after your thesis is submitted. However, if a conference or presentation is part of your program, you will still need to draft an abstract before you finish analyzing your results. The timeline in this manual assumes that for an 8 months program, you’d be doing data analysis in January. That means that you should have some preliminary findings or a general sense of how the results are trending by that time. It is okay to submit an abstact based on a preliminary or partial analysis of your data. Hence, if you have analyzed data concerning one hypothesis or research question, you can share that at a conference. Be sure to inform your audience that analysis is ongoing. Alternatively, you could share your methodology or a general research idea. Do not feel shy about sharing partial aspects of your work. Afterall, conference presentations are usually no more than 15 minutes, which means, you could only share a limited portion of your work, even if analysis was complete.
Once you have finished or near finished collecting data, keep the topic in mind while you search the internet for potential conferences to apply to. Almost all the conferences you apply to will expect a short brief about yourself, potentially a CV, and an abstract summarizing your research to a lay audience in 250 words (see Chapter 2 for writing abstracts). So to prepare for application to conferences, create a short brief about your research interests, look up other CV’s of professors in your field, and create your research abstract. In addition have a look at previously successful abstracts and try to emulate the style.
Box 12.1 – Some Academic Conferences to Consider
- Canadian Sociological Association CSA@Congress – CSA Conference Website (csa-scs.ca)
- McGill Undergraduate Research Conference Undergraduate Research Conference | Faculty of Science – McGill University
- UT Undergraduate Research Conference Student Research | Department of Sociology (utoronto.ca)
- UBC Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference Annual Sociology Undergraduate Research Conference Archives – Department of Sociology (ubc.ca)
- UBC Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference (MURC) Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research (MURC) Conference | Student Services (ubc.ca)
- International Conference on Education and Social Science ISER » ISER International Conference 2019-2020
- International Conference on Economics and Social Science TheIRES » TheIRES International Conference 2019-20