Session types at IAMCR conferences

The majority of IAMCR scholarly presentations take place in Paper Presentation Sessions, followed by Basic Panel Sessions. However, we encourage alternative formats to facilitate scholarly exchange.  A number of kinds of sessions are briefly described below, highlighting how each type of session can give scholars the best opportunities to showcase their work. Alternative types of sessions can be created by section and working group heads, based on the paper proposals they receive, or proposed by IAMCR members and participants. If you would like to propose an alternative type of session, please contact the head of the section or working group.

Session Types

Paper Presentation Session

A traditional paper presentation session consists of 4-5 presenters, who each receive 12-15 minutes to present their research, followed by a review by a discussant, and then general questions and answers with all session participants. Paper panels are facilitated by a chair, who is responsible for introducing the speakers, keeping time, and managing the question and answer section. The discussant of a paper session provides a quick critique of all of the papers presented, connecting them to the theme of the panel. Not all paper sessions have a discussant, but having one is encouraged. Though not optimal, the discussant and the chair are sometimes the same person. In such situations, it is best for the session chair to have someone else facilitate during the discussion. Paper Presentation Sessions are generally created by the heads of the sections and working groups, who group the individual paper proposals received into thematic sessions. (select "A single abstract for a paper presentation session” when you submit your proposal via the IAMCR OCS proposal submission system)

Basic Panel Session

A traditional panel session is one in which a group of colleagues proposes a single theme to be addressed by multiple speakers, each of whom presents a distinct element or perspective. Panels are allotted 90 minutes and usually involve 5 or 6 people, including a moderator, panelists and optional discussant. The difference between a Basic Panel Session and a Paper Presentation Session is that a Paper Presentation Session is put together by the heads of the sections and working groups, who group individual paper proposals received into thematic sessions while a Panel Session is an initiative of the participants themselves (select "A panel proposal (or an abstract of a panel presentation)" when you submit your proposal via the IAMCR OCS proposal submission system).

High Intensity Session

High intensity sessions are similar to regular paper presentations, but instead of 4-5 presenters, they have 6-8 presenters (5-7 minutes each). High intensity sessions are sometimes employed when a particular theme or topic has attracted widespread interest amongst conference submissions. With limited time and space, sometimes it is necessary to have a single high intensity session, rather than splitting the theme into two sessions. This way, scholars also have a better opportunity to hear about each others' work and to meet one another. The sessions can either include time for discussion and Q&A facilitated by the chair, or they can move to mini-breakout sessions—in the same room—with audience members meeting with individual presenters. High Intensity Sessions are generally created by the heads of the sections and working groups, who group the individual paper proposals received.

Poster Session

The IAMCR employs poster sessions for the presentation of individual works on a regular basis, along with a variety of other presentation formats including high intensity sessions, dual-sponsored panels, and other. Thus, poster sessions are designed to enhance the quality of scholarly exchange within the association overall and to include work whose quality is equal to that of all other papers and presentation formats. Poster session papers are reviewed just as are paper presentation session papers. They are scored for quality in the same way and rated as well as other papers. They receive critical comment during poster sessions just as do paneled papers. Papers are selected for poster presentation due to their unique attributes, and are not selected in any way due to perceived lower quality. Finally, poster sessions are highlighted in conference programs. Scholars whose work is selected for the presentation in a poster session are deserving of travel support in the same manner as all other presenters.

Roundtable

A Roundtable is an invitation-based session. These sessions focus on a specific topic, or scholarly work, and feature a selection of scholars (established and emerging) who engage in a discussion. These sessions can be done in various forms. For example, a group of scholars may come together, having written about the same topic, opening up a discussion about different approaches to the same issue. Another method could be simply a group of scholars providing commentary and discussion about a central theme or issue. A Q&A with participants may or may not occur. Roundtables are generally proposed by conference participants (select "A panel proposal (or an abstract of a panel presentation)" when you submit your proposal via the IAMCR OCS proposal submission system).

Workshop

Workshops are subject focused sessions that provide participants the opportunity to gain knowledge and learn skills together. This can range from professional development topics, such as teaching strategies, to timely theoretical topics. Presenters of workshops can lead participants through different interactive activities, including discussions, hands-on-activities, simulations, demonstrations, and exploration and application of models. Workshops should still have a chair/organizer and presenters can be either invited or vetted through the review process. They can be led by a single presenter, or have multiple presenters providing different perspectives on the same topic. Ideally, there is time dedicated to discussion and Q&A. Workshops are generally proposed by conference participants (select "A panel proposal (or an abstract of a panel presentation)" when you submit your proposal via the IAMCR OCS proposal submission system).


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

  • 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.
  • 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 orking groups as well as the criteria that are most often used to evaluate proposals.
  • Tips for Session Chairs & Discussants offers ideas for how session chairs and discussants can ensure that sessions run smoothly, highlight scholarship, and encourage discussion.