O. A. Abraham’s Writing Excellent Articles for Conferences (3): Writing an Ideal Conference Paper

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papers refer to articles that are written with the goal of being accepted for presentation in a conference; typically an annual (or biannual) event with a specific scope where you can present your research results to the scholastic community, usually through an oral presentation, a poster presentation, or a tabled discussion (www.quora.com). It is different from a journal, which is a regular periodical publication, printed perhaps monthly or bi-monthly, which contains collection of reviewed papers (https://academia.stackexchange.com). 

Why are Papers Exceptional?

There is no better way to transmit your researches to your fellow mavens than writing an effective paper. It only does not introduce your new ideas in doing things differently from how it has been done before; it helps raise your prominence in your line of career. It also helps resolve/answer some critical questions that bother on the research questions, which might be raised.

What to Look Out for in Your Paper?

Introduction    – Specify the significance of the study.

Literature review – Is generally thought that half of your reference is under 5 years. The literature review explains different citations from different source and how it correlates with the topic under discussion.

Research Methodology – Describe research design in the form of – Data collection plan (quantitative and/or qualitative) and Data analysis plan (quantitative and/or qualitative).

Findings – As the name implies, it shows the qualitative findings, including tables to clarify descriptive and inferential statistics.

Conclusion – State the problem and analyze solutions enumerated to solve the problems.

Reference – Indicates where citation were been taken from.

What Do You Need To Do?

Refer to your theme, and enlarge on it in various ways throughout your presentation. Experienced speakers know the value of having a theme. When they are preparing a talk, the theme helps them to focus attention on a narrower field of information and to think more deeply about it.

The result is that instead of superficially touching on many points, they develop their material in a way that is more beneficial to their audience. When each of the main points is directly connected to the theme and helps to develop it, the audience is also helped to remember those points and to appreciate their significance.

Although it can be said that your theme is the subject on which you speak, you will find that the quality of your talks will improve if you take the position that your theme is the particular viewpoint from which you develop your subject.

If selection of the theme is left to you, consider first the objective of your presentation. Then as you select the main points that will make up your outline, be sure that these really support the theme you have chosen.

If the theme is assigned, analyze carefully what it indicates as to the way that your material is to be developed.

Some effort may be required to appreciate the value and potential of such a theme. If you will be choosing material with which to develop the assigned theme, make careful selection so that the theme will be kept in focus. On the other hand, if the material is provided, you still need to analyze how to use it in harmony with the theme. You also need to consider why the material is important to your audience and what your objective should be in delivering it. This will help you determine what to emphasize in your delivery.

How to Emphasize the Theme of Your Paper

In order to give proper emphasis to the theme, you must lay the foundation when selecting and organizing your material. If you use only what supports your theme and if you follow principles involved in preparing a good presentation, you will almost automatically emphasize the theme.

Repetition can help to reinforce the theme. In classical music, a theme is a melody repeated often enough to characterize the entire composition. The melody does not always reappear in the same form. Sometimes only a phrase or two occur, occasionally a variation on the theme is used, but in one way or another, the composer skillfully weaves his melody in and out of the composition until it permeates the whole. That is the way it should be with the theme of a talk. Repetition of key words from the theme is like the recurring melody of a musical composition. Synonyms of these words or the theme rephrased serves as a variation on the theme. Use of such means will cause the theme to be the main thought your audience carries away.

Making your Main Points Stand-Out

What are the main points of a talk? These are not simply interesting aspects that are briefly stated in passing. They are important ideas that are developed at length. They are the ideas that are crucial to achieving your objective.

A key to making the main points stand out is your selecting and organizing of material wisely. Research for a talk frequently yields more information than can be used. How can you determine what to use?

First, consider your audience. Are they largely unacquainted with your subject, or are they quite familiar with it? What sort of challenges do they face in daily routine as it relates to the topic under discussion? Second, be sure that you have clearly in mind your objective in speaking to that audience on the subject you plan to use. Using these two guidelines, evaluate the material and retain only what really fits.

If you have been given a basic outline with a theme and main points, you should adhere to it. However, the value of what you present will be greatly enhanced if you keep in mind the above factors when developing each main point. When no outline has been supplied, it is up to you to select the main points.

When you have your main points clearly in mind and have organized the details under these, it will be easier for you to give the talk.

Likely, your audience will also get more out of it. 

A variety of patterns can be followed in organizing the body of your talk. As you get acquainted with them, you will find that several can be effective, depending on your objective.

A versatile pattern involves topical subdivision. (Each main point is needed because it adds to your listeners’ understanding of the subject or helps achieve the objective of your talk.) Another pattern is chronological. A third pattern is cause and effect. (This may be developed in either direction. For example, you could start with a current situation, the effect, and then show the cause.) A fourth method involves opposites. (You might contrast good with bad or positive with negative.) Sometimes a talk will include more than one method. 

Also remember there are only a few essentials in developing any theme. In the majority of cases, these can be numbered on one hand. This is true whether you will be speaking for 5minutes, 10minutes, 30minutes, or longer. Do not try to make too many points stand out. Your audience can reasonably grasp only a few different ideas from one talk. And the longer the talk, the stronger and more sharply defined the key points must be.

Regardless of how many main points you use, be sure to develop each one sufficiently. Allow the audience enough time to examine each main point so that it becomes firmly impressed on their minds.

Your talk should give an impression of simplicity. This does not always depend on the amount of material presented. If your thoughts are clearly grouped under just a few main headings and you develop these one at a time, the talk will be easy to follow and hard to forget.

If your material is properly organized, it will not be difficult to reinforce the significance of your main points by means of your delivery. The principal way to make a main point stand out is to present points of proof, scriptures, and other material in such a manner that these focus attention on the main idea and amplify it. All secondary points should clarify, prove, or amplify the main point. Do not add irrelevant ideas just because they are interesting. As you develop secondary points, show clearly their connection with the main point that they support. Do not leave it to the audience to figure out. The connection can be shown by repeating key words that express the main thought or by repeating the gist of the main point itself from time to time.

The Challenge

Preparing for a paper does not come handy; it takes enormous time to find the right balance to achieve a great paper presentation at any conference. While gathering the necessary materials for your conference could be one part of the puzzle, another challenging part is the structure of presentation since you are been evaluated by your listeners. This particular aspect looks daunting because you are presenting to highly exposed person(s), professionals in your line of profession. 

I can feel you already doubt if you can write and present your articles effectively at any given conference. Do not be intimidated, you can just be a professional with these little steps.

What You Need To Know

  • It is pertinent to note that papers are submitted and scrutinized by a curator before presentation at a conference.
  • Presentation can be through both documentation or orally.
  • Sessions for presentation does not exceed between 15-20 minutes. 
  • Your paper can be delivered in one of this three steps or combination of all three: (1) in form of a seminar discussion (2) a read aloud paper (3) slide (Powerpoint) or any means of presentations (software). You may wish to read aloud while you display images and interact with your audience.
  • The needs of your audience are very critical to delivering a great paper. While there might be no significance knowing your audience since you are probably interacting with them physically, having a prior foresight about the needs of your hearers will help you pen a conference paper that links your area of research to their wider concerns.
  • You need to familiarize yourself with keywords from previous conferences by the organizers either from the call for proposals, theme of the conference and perhaps the mission statement.
  • If you are delivering a paper at a conference that relates with your line of interest, make researches on questions that are germane and discuss extensively but if interdisciplinary conference whereby you line of study is different, try read latest information about line of field even from the organizers past conferences. Talk to people who may have attended such conference before.
  • While there are rules and procedures by some organization on how there conference papers are structured, try finding out how writing and presentations are structured and adhere strictly to it.
  • Get additional gen especially if you are submitting your paper individually and the conference organizers placed it on a panel with other papers.
  • Try reminding yourself of things to do during your presentation (hint), which may include pause, eye contact, gesticulation etc.  
  • Make use of bolder font and font size for easier reading.
  • You must prior knowledge of other researches in your line of discourse and make more diligent researches
  •  There must be plans as to the effect of your researches on your career and the wider general public
  • Choice of words must be considered as your choice of words should is interwoven linking all aspect of your conference or journals together thereby making a meaningful impact.