Professional Conferences (Karen Mingst)

What is the value of participating in professional conferences?

  • Valuable to meet others in doing similar research, so that you can give them your papers and critique others.

  • Permits your paper to get comments before you submit it to journals for publication

  • Imposes a deadline, a time for the paper to be written; the deadline seems to stimulate scholarly activity

    on vita, shows evidence of professional interest and activity, essential for a tight job market

  • Participation is important, however, "excessive" participation, especially without papers being turned into published journal articles, can lead to the impression of being a "professional groupie"-not a good characterization

    How can you find out information about conferences? 

The best sources of information is PS publication of the American Political Science Association. The publication lists conferences, topics of interest, and submittal information. This is in the library. Also ask faculty for information in your specialty area-and regional conferences. Usually, the two conferences with the most graduate student participation are the Southern Political Science Association meeting in early in early November or the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in April. A good conference for getting a feel for doing a presentation is the Kentucky Political Science Association conference. It is small and friendly. But, remember, the deadlines to apply to be on the program are usually 7-9 MONTHs earlier. That means you have to plan ahead.

     How can you find out information about conferences?

The best sources of information is PS publication of the American Political Science Association. The publication lists conferences, topics of interest, and submittal information. This is in the library. Also ask faculty for information in your specialty area-and regional conferences. Usually, the two conferences with the most graduate student participation are the Southern Political Science Association meeting in early in early November or the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in April. A good conference for getting a feel for doing a presentation is the Kentucky Political Science Association conference. It is small and friendly. But, remember, the deadlines to apply to be on the program are usually 7-9 MONTHs earlier. That means you have to plan ahead.

     How do I apply to the conference?

Write a formal letter to the appropriate person, including an abstract on a separate page. The letter should include your personal qualifications, interests (no more than one page) and the abstract should consist of a title and paragraph description. The description should include theory, major hypothesis, approach, and findings. Since the abstract is written so much in advance, you may not find you are able to follow the design to the "letter." Your advisor would be happy to read your proposal and give your advise. s Application forms for many conferences can be found on the web. For forms, dates, and conference listings, go to the APSA main site: http://www.apsanet.org/ and look for the Conferences & Meetings.

     How do I apply for funding for travel expenses?

The Graduate School funds $350 per year to graduate students to travel to a conference to present a paper. You can find the application form at the Graduate School site: http://www.rgs.uky.edu/gs/fellowship/studentsupport.html

     What should I do at the conference?

Prepare the written paper and circulate it to the other members of the panel by the deadline. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE OR ELSE IT WILL NOT BE READ. Practice your oral presentation in advance! Usually, the oral presentation last between 10-15 minutes, so you have to plan out and stick to the essentials. Bring extra copies to the panel to give free to "very interested" people.

     What should I do after the conference?

Revise the paper in accord with suggestions received and submit it to a journal. Lots of convention presentations with no published work is a very negative sign!

 

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