Conference Session Types
The following session types will be offered at the annual conference. The description of each includes information about what is to be submitted as part of the proposal as well as what you would see when attending that type of session at the conference.
Updated from 2013! Birds of a Feather Gatherings: Birds of a Feather Gatherings, also known as idea exchanges or networking tables, will be held for one hour during the Saturday morning before the sessions begin and attendees are welcome to bring a snack from the hotel's outlets. They are relatively small and informal discussion-based gatherings, aimed at building networks and exploring ideas. Although similar in length as a roundtable, this is the only session type for which there is NO formal presentation, instead the facilitators ensure that there is time for introductions among those in attendance and come with questions or ideas to spark discussion around a particular topic area. The information in the 'abstract' section for the session should indicate the topic to be explored, why the topic is of likely interest to a subset of attendees, and a key guiding question to be raised during the session.
Demonstration: Demonstrations are formal 45- or 90-minute presentations that show how to use or apply an evaluation concept or tool. These may be contrasted with Skill Building Workshops that provide a hands-on experience. The abstract should describe how the presenter will walk attendees through a clear, step-by-step explanation of the concept or tool, how it compares to other evaluation concepts or tools, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it can best be applied.
Expert Lecture: Expert Lectures are formal 45-minute presentations by a SINGLE acknowledged expert in the field who will share conceptual or methodological innovations through a lecture followed by response to audience questions. The abstract should detail both the background of the lecturer as well as the importance of the material to be presented. Please note that an expert lecture, at 45-minutes in length, is three times the length of a standard paper presentation. As such, the breadth and depth of the content, and the expertise of the presenter, should warrant such an extended exploration. If you have two presenters instead of a SINGLE presenter, you should submit using a panel format.
Building on 2013! Ignite Presentations: Ignite presentations use 20 PowerPoint slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds for a total presentation time of just 5 minutes. Ignite slides tend to incorporate excellence in slide design in support of a very clearly articulated message. Presenters need to practice in order to get their timing down and their quality up. Ignite presentations are challenging, exciting, and dare we say it – they can be quite fun to create, to give, and to attend. The Data Visualization and Reporting TIG tried out Ignite presentations during its 2011 Business Meeting. The best way to get a feel for them may be to take a look at these two from among those that were recorded: Stephanie Evergreen giving the DVR TIG Business Report, and John Gargani on How to Build the Visualcy of Your Clients. Please note that Ignite presenters must share their 20-slide PowerPoint deck with the session coordinator at least 2 weeks in advance of the conference and will be asked to participate in a short webinar-based orientation so as to be ready to succeed in this new format. Presentations may be videotaped and presenters will always have the option of opting against taping.
Multipaper: See paper sessions.
Panel: This formal, thematic, 45- or 90-minute presentation focuses on an issue facing the field of evaluation. The overall abstract should describe how two (for a 45-minute panel), or more (for a 90-minute panel), panelists and possibly a discussant, will offer coordinated presentations and the general topic of the panel. In addition, the proposal must contain separate abstracts or summaries from each presenter describing his or her contribution to the session. At a minimum, the information in the 'abstract' section for each panelist should indicate the expertise or perspective that he or she brings to the panel (why is this person a panelist rather than someone else). The submitter is responsible for coordinating the presentations in advance. Panels should be interactive in that they allow for questions and discussion following the formal presentations.
Paper: Paper presentations may be submitted either individually using the paper proposal submission form, or as a pre-defined group of two or more papers on a common topic using the multipaper submission form. The paper(s) upon which the presentation is based should be completed by the time of the conference and an abstract provided at the event with information for obtaining the full paper. Papers submitted individually will be grouped with others on a common theme and will be allocated 15 minutes as part of either a 45- or 90-minute session. Papers submitted together as a multipaper session will be assigned either to a 45-minute slot (for two papers) or a 90-minute slot (for more than two papers) and the proposer should allocate time among the multiple papers in a way that ensures that there is opportunity for audience questions. Multipaper sessions submitted intact will be reviewed as a set and the full set will be accepted or rejected together. Paper abstracts should detail the focus of the paper and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of evaluation.
Poster: This formal graphic presentation of your topic, displayed on poster board, offers an excellent opportunity for gathering detailed feedback on your work and reporting on evaluation results. Posters will be presented during Wednesday's very well attended evening reception and poster exhibition. Posters should NOT be used to advertise a product or service. Like a paper, a poster abstract should detail the focus of the presentation and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of evaluation. AEA provides the backing boards and pins for posters while presenters provide all items to be attached to the boards. Specific guidelines on preparing for a poster presentation may be accessed by clicking here.
Professional Development Workshop: Professional development workshops precede and follow the conference, and focus on helping attendees to learn or refine their skills related to the field of evaluation and evaluation methodologies. These workshops differ from sessions offered during the conference itself in at least three ways: 1) each is longer (either 3, 6, or 12 hours in length) and thus provides a more in-depth exploration of a skill or area of knowledge, 2) presenters are paid for their time and are expected to have significant experience both presenting and in the subject area, and 3) attendees pay separately for these workshops and are given the opportunity to evaluate the experience. Proposals submitted for Professional Development Workshops tend to have a significantly higher rejection rate than those submitted for other types of conference sessions. They are reviewed by a special task force of AEA's Professional Development Committee. The information required on the proposal form is also more extensive, including a listing of learning outcomes and an agenda. Professional Development Workshops use a special proposal submission process and forms that may be accessed by clicking here.
Roundtable: Roundtables are 45-minute oral presentations with discussion with attendees seated around a table. Roundtable presentations typically include 15 minutes of presentation, followed by 30 minutes of discussion and feedback. Roundtable presenters should bring targeted questions to pose to others at the table in order to learn from and with those attending. Roundtables are an ideal format for networking and in-depth discussion on a particular topic. The abstract should detail the focus of the presentation and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of evaluation. Specific guidelines and tips on preparing for a roundtable presentation may be accessed by clicking here.
Skill-Building Workshop: As part of a 45- or 90-minute session taking place during the conference, workshops teach a specific skill needed by many evaluators and include one or more exercises that let attendees practice using this skill. The abstract should include a detailed discussion of why this skill is important, how the presenter will teach the skill within a short time frame, and how the presenter will enable attendees to learn more after the session. This session differs from a Demonstration in that attendees will have a hands-on opportunity to practice the skill. This session differs from a Professional Development Workshop in that it takes place during the conference, is significantly shorter in length, and thus does not allow for as much breadth or depth in exploring the topic, and may be presented by someone with less facilitation experience than that expected for the pre- and post-conference workshops.
Think Tank: A think tank is a 45- or 90-minute session focusing on a single issue or question. Initially, a chairperson orients attendees to the issue or question and relevant context. Then, attendees break into small groups to explore the issue or question and finally reconvene to share their enhanced understanding through a discussion facilitated by the chairperson. The abstract should succinctly identify the question or issue to be addressed, the relevant contextual factors, and the roles of the individual breakout groups (Will they each address the overall topic or question? A particular facet of the topic or question? Or examine the topic or question from a particular viewpoint?).