Guidelines for Presenters

This page contains information for scholars presenting papers at IAMCR Annual Conferences. Please remember these are suggested guidelines intended to be helpful on a voluntary basis; they are not strict rules and practices may vary among the various sections and working groups.

IAMCR does not have association-wide guidelines regarding paper style or length. If you have questions regarding style or length, you are encouraged to contact the heads of the section or working group where you will be presenting.

The majority of IAMCR scholarly presentations take place in Paper Presentation Sessions. However, we encourage alternative formats to facilitate scholarly exchange. For more information on the different types of sessions at IAMCR conferences, please see the Types of submissions for IAMCR conferences. You may also wish to consult the page on submission review processes and criteria

Academic Standards for Presenters

IAMCR strives to hold high academic standards for its conference, while also encouraging both established and new scholars to present new ideas and new works. Individual scholars are encouraged to attend sessions organized by different Sections and Working Groups to help build and grow ideas and make connections with other scholars.

Individuals may submit 1 paper per Section or Working Group as lead author, and a maximum of 2 papers to a single IAMCR conference in general. Presenters are expected to bring fully developed work to the conference. Prior to the conference, it is expected that a completed paper will be submitted to Section, Working Group, Session Chairs, and/or Discussants. This is especially important for panels with discussants. A developed work typically includes an introduction with a problem statement, a review of relevant literature, analysis, conclusion, and references.

Preparing a Paper Presentation

Most paper presentations are 10-12 minutes in length, although some sessions—such as high intensity sessions—have presentations 5-7 minutes in length. Session chairs should inform presenters of the session type and length of presentations. Because presentation time is limited, scholars should not expect to read their papers in full. Instead presenters are encouraged to talk about their work (i.e. work from an outline) and describe it, with the aim of encouraging audience members to seek a copy to read or to have a discussion with the presenter after the session.

If a presenter wishes to read from a short presentation script, here are some rough guidelines. For presenters reading scripts: 300 words of typed text takes about 2 minutes to read. Also, presenters should look up every so often to make eye contact with the audience and especially with the session chair who will be giving time signals during the presenter’s allotted time.

For individuals whose native language is not one of the three official IAMCR languages, or who are programmed into a panel where they will not be presenting in their native language, it can be helpful to prepare a short abstract written in one of the official languages, to communicate the key ideas of the presentation.  It can also be  useful to employ a PowerPoint presentation to present the key ideas in the language best understood by most of the anticipated audience, emphasizing research questions, methods used, summary of main findings, and discussion (See also the Scholarly Review Committee’s Note on Language).

Things to Remember
  • Going over the time limit only prevents further discussion (it cuts into the session's time, which cannot be extended), and is disrespectful to the other presenters and the audience.
  • Session chairs are encouraged to be strict with time. Presenters will be interrupted and stopped by the session chair if they do not keep to their allotted time.
  • Technology should be used appropriately: technology should enhance a presentation, not be the presentation. Presenters should account for the setup of technology in the presentation time limit, or should set up before the session begins.
  • Presenters should usually avoid telling the audience too much biographical information - this cuts into the time allotted to the presentation and the content of the paper. Also, it is understood that presentations are based upon larger works (full papers, book projects, dissertations, etc.) and that they will not capture all of the nuances of the author's ideas. It is therefore unnecessary for presenters to inform the audience of how difficult it is to condense ideas into 12-15 minutes, since most audience members are also scholars and already understand that preparing a presentation is a difficult task. There are many opportunities for authors to talk about their work after the session with interested individuals.
  • It is often helpful for presenters to have hard copies of their papers available to distribute to interested audience members.

Preparing a Poster Presentation

An effective poster presentation functions in a similar fashion to a traditional paper presentation: it serves to promote scholars' work and stimulate scholarly discussion. A poster should concisely present the major points of the author's research and should also provide information on how one might contact the author. Because a poster session will contain many poster presentations, it is important for scholars to have a poster that is easy to read, and that can facilitate discussion about the research project.

A poster should take approximately 5 minutes for a viewer to read. The amount of text should be limited, and the language on the poster should be simplified and clear. Photographs, charts, graphs, and tables should be used when possible. The font of the poster should be larger - it should be legible from about 4-6 feet away (usually, this is a font size of 18-24 in a font such as Arial or Helvetica).

Posters should contain the major components of an article. Conventional sections in a poster include an abstract, introduction (which will include objectives & hypotheses), methodology, results, conclusion, and contact information.

Things to Remember
  • Although it is tempting to put more information on a poster, too much information can become confusing for viewers and distract them from further inquiry into the research project.
  • Presenters are responsible for providing their own push-pins.

Commitment to Present (No Show/Cancellation Standards)

If a paper proposal is accepted for presentation to an IAMCR conference, the author (or at least one of the authors for a multi-authored paper) is expected to attend.

It is understood that the availability of travel funding is not always known to scholars before annual deadlines for IAMCR proposal submissions, which are typically in February. For this reason, scholars who submit a proposal and have it accepted sometimes cannot or do not attend the conference. 

Nevertheless, on submitting papers to IAMCR, authors must agree that if their paper is accepted for presentation, but they are unable to attend the conference, they will immediately inform the heads of the respective Section or Working Group. Failure to do so can result in being barred from participation in future IAMCR conferences.

Presenters who do not appear to present their paper and do not inform the heads of the section or working group can cause considerable disarray, lowering the quality of panel sessions and conferences as a whole and impacting negatively on their relationships with other scholars.

Papers accepted for presentation at IAMCR conference are accepted for presentation by their authors. If the authors are unable to attend, IAMCR's policy is that the papers will NOT be presented. We do not allow papers to be presented by anyone who is not the author.

The pages in this section of the website contain some resources for IAMCR participants and for heads of sections and working groups as they prepare for the conference.

  • Session Types at IAMCR Conferences describes the two main types of sessions (Paper Presentation Session and Basic Panel Session) as well as a number of alternative session types that heads or participants might want to employ.
  • Submission Review describes the different types of review processes used by IAMCR's sections and working groups as well as the criteria that are most often used to evaluate proposals.
  • Guidelines for Presenters provides some suggested guidelines for scholars presenting papers at IAMCR conferences. These are suggested guidelines intended to be helpful on a voluntary basis; they are not strict rules and practices may vary among the various sections and working groups.
  • Tips for Session Chairs & Discussants offers ideas for how session chairs and discussants can ensure that sessions run smoothly, highlight scholarship, and encourage discussion.