84 Types of Conference Presentations

Conference presentations take many forms. Before submitting an abstract to a conference, be sure to consider what kind of presentation you want to make. Below, we discuss some common presentation types:

  • Traditional Paper/Oral Presentation: This is the standard oral presentation (usually 15 minutes plus additional time at the end for questions) where one or more speakers (joint-presenters) share research results, completed works, innovative concepts, theoretical application, methodologies or tools.
  • Student Presentation: These are similar to the traditional paper/oral presentations described above, but with an emphasis on students work. By providing a separate avenue for students to share their work or labelling the presentation as “students”, the pressure can be lessened. Sometimes, students have separate sessions, but other times, they are grouped with other paper presentations. If this is the case, the presentation is usually identified as student presentations in the program.
  • Poster Presentation: This is a less formal opportunity to share your work in a visual format. We discuss this in greater depth later in the chapter.
  • Panel Presentation: This is where multiple speakers present their perspective on a common issue usually for 60 to 90 minutes. While many students prefer to present posters or shorter oral presentations, if a group of students have a common research interest or concern, they can apply to a conference to present on a panel. The speakers are responsible for coordinating the panel and assigning roles (such as moderator). Each speaker on a panel is usally given at least one individual question as well as an introductory and closing remark.
  • Roundtables: are similar to panel in the sense that a group of discussants seated around a table comment on a theme. Roundtable presenters bring targeted questions to pose to participants at the table in order to learn from and with those attending. It is quite unlikely that you will present your work on a roundtable, but you can check out conference websites if you wish to learn more (see Box for a list of potential conference).
  • Lightning Round-Tables: These are opportunities to network by briefly summarizing your work to a small audience (usually in 15 minutes or less) followed by an interactive discussion. Discussants will then move to another table and repeat the procedude. This provides the opportunity to get more intimate connections for other participants and attendees.

In addition to the above presentations, at conference, you will likely see expert lectures, keynote addresses and debates. These are presented by established academics in the field so we will not discuss them. However, it is a great idea to go to these presentations at conferences. For the rest of the chapter, we will focus on oral presentations and posters because these are what you will most likely present at conferences. If you wish to submit an abstract for other presentation types, be sure to discuss it with your advisor, supervisor or mentor.


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Practicing and Presenting Social Research Copyright © 2022 by Oral Robinson and Alexander Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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