SfAA Student Committee: Conference Connection
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Thank you for visiting. The SfAA Student Committee is excited to assist you by providing information on Presentations, Abstracts & Submissions.
Visit Presentations Part II. It covers Conquering Jitters, Presentation Formats and More!
If there's a question you'd like to have answered please e-mail the Chair, Anne Ballenger and she will include it here!


All About Abstracts
Conference Abstract
A short, descriptive paragraph that details your presentation topic and is no longer than 100 words. In addition, SfAA uses this format:
LAST NAME, First Name (Affiliation) Title. Begin text.
It will look like this:
BALLENGER, Anne (Catholic) "Conference Abstract Tips for Students". This paper discusses a variety of tools and methods to assist students to develop cogent, informative and successful abstracts for posters, papers and sessions at the SfAA Conference.

Affiliations & Abstracts
This appears simple, but sometimes it's not in applied work.
  • Usually, if you are a student, your affiliation is your school
    ~ With the following exceptions:

    • If you're a student, work outside your department that is not sponsored by your department (like an internship), and your presentation is based/supported solely from, through or by your employer, than your affiliation is your employer. That is, if you are presenting on a work-related project from Johnson & Wax Company then, your affiliation is Johnson & Wax Company.
    • In another case, using the above example, you could claim two affiliations. If you are a Co-author on another paper in which you are affiliation is through your department, then you would use your school affiliation for that abstract.
    • If you are a student, doing an internship and you present work that you did through the internship, like your project research, then use your department affiliation.
  • If you are not sure of your affiliation, check with your professor and they should let you know which is the appropriate affiliation to use.

Abstract Content
Here is some general information on SfAA Conference Abstract content:
  • The abstract usually includes your thesis and/or aim/goal accompanied by the population studied, your methods, results, and conclusion(s).
  • Succinctness is of the essence; you only have 100 words to convey your message & attract listeners.
  • The Conference Committee reviews your abstract and bases its decision to include or exclude your poster/paper/session at the Conference by evaluating your abstract's merits.
  • Conference attendees will utilize your abstract to decide whether they will attend your poster/presentation or session.
As you can see your abstract is very important.
Here are some helpful hints on abstract development:
  • Write several drafts of your abstract and have your professor or a classmate read them for editing and content.
  • Utilize the abstract you wrote for the project and include your findings.
  • Use Word or Word Perfect to count the number of words in your paragraph to assist editing the paragraph.
  • Look at past SfAA Conference abstracts in Conference Programs and identify common methods for communicating complex ideas within the 100 word limit.
  • Ask a member of the Student Committee to review your abstract and provide feedback.

Session Abstracts
Congratulations! You've decided to organize a session, good for you! What do you need to do in regards to an abstract?
  • Submit a Session Abstract

  • A session abstract is limited to 100 words and will be reviewed by the Conference Committee. In addition, the Conference Committee will evaluate the session abstract AND the abstracts of each presenter. The session will be evaluated as a group.
  • Content of the Session Abstract

  • The session abstract discusses the nature, theme and aims of the session. It does not detail each paper or list presenters. It does reveal the general purpose or idea, any goals, and/or particular strategy that ties each of the papers together. In a nutshell, it describes what the session is about.
Here are some tips for writing a session abstract:
  • Use the same tips listed above for a paper/poster abstract
  • Utilize the same abstract used to solicit your presenters.

To Title or Not To Title
There are two schools of thought about how to title your abstract whether it's a paper, poster, or session. Each agrees on the first principle:
  • The Title Should Describe the Subject and Topic

  • I know this might sound a bit basic, but I've seen some titles that have little relationship between the actual content of the presentation. This only leads to frustrated people, like me, making too much noise exiting the room to find a more suitable presentation. You definitely don't want that!
Here is where the two divide:
  • The 'No-Nonsense - Tell It Like It Is' Title School

  • In this paradigm the title should be, just that, a title. The title is to the point, pulls no punches, and tells you what the topic and subject of the abstract is without any further adieu.
  • "The 'Witty, Quirky, Fun - Catch Your Interest' Title School

  • On the other hand, this school of thought believes that titles are important for drawing your attention and interest. They believe that you may not have time to read abstracts at the back of the program, and one way to attract you to their session is to create a catchy phrase that symbolizes the topic through puns, slogans or colloquialisms applied in a different context.
  • My Thoughts on the Title Schools

  • Well, to be honest, either way is fine by me. As the abstract adheres to the first principle, "The Title Should Describe the Subject and Topic". Some topics lend themselves to inventive and catchy titles and others do not. So, be tasteful, be informative, and true to your personality. If you like writing catchy phrases, write a catch title; if you like the no-nonsense approach then stick to your guns.
Being A Presenter ~ How To's
What do you need to do?
The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to submit. Do you want to submit a poster abstract, a session abstract, a paper abstract as part of a organized session or by itself.
  • What is the best medium to present your project.

  • Is your research better presented visually? Do you have a lot of "stuff" to show? Would attendees like to touch your materials such as; specimens, artifacts or listen to supplemental materials like tapes or videos? Perhaps a poster session might be more appropriate.
  • Think about your presentation style.

  • Do you like to engage people in one-on-one conversations, rather than speaking to a larger group? Or maybe you'd rather prefer using overheads, or slides?
  • Decide to submit your paper abstract by itself or with a group.

  • See, the listings below to assist your determination of which is best for you.

Pro's & Con's of a Solo Abstract Submission
~ If you submit your paper by itself, the Conference Committee will review your abstract and group your abstract by topic with similar submitted papers. This way you will not have to worry about finding others to be in an organized session.
~ The down side is that, sometimes, some papers may not fit perfectly with each other in terms of interest area. For example, your paper on North American elementary education may be grouped together with others studying education, but not all may be from the U.S.

Pro's & Con's of Submitting with An Organized Session
~ On the other hand, you may consider submitting your paper with others interested in a similar topic. This gives the paper grouping a theme and is more cohesive as a collection of papers.
~ The down side is that you will have to find researchers who are putting together an organized session. This can be problematic, if you don't know where to find them.
Here are a couple of helpful hints to locate them:
  • Look at the Hot Announcements. There are so many calls for papers that there are two pages!
  • Go visit the SfAA Web Site Forums section for the Conference Subject Line for students and members.
  • Join ANTHAP the applied anthropology List Serve. The link is at the Student Nexus and the calls for papers will come right to your mail box!
  • If you are interested in a particular subject, contact the SfAA Committee that organizes their membership by looking on the SfAA Web site under committee's.
  • Contact the Conference Committee or the SfAA Office and ask for a referral to someone organizing a session.

Pro's & Con's of Organizing a Session
~ This is the best way to assure all session papers are related to your topic and explore key issues.
~ On the other hand, it's a lot of work. You will be the recruiter, abstract submitter, and trouble shooter for all things related to the session.

Type of Presenters & Their Responsiblities
Yikes, you've got to do more than submit the abstract? Well, that depends. See below.

~ Poster Presenter
Bring your poster, your business cards & your smile! Just check the program for the date/time and room for your presentation, and show up early so you can set up! That's it! Have a good time.
Don't forget there is a Student Poster Prize! So, be on the look out for those Committee evaluators!

~ Solo Paper Presenter
Your only responsibility is to know what session, the day and & time you are to present by checking the preliminary program. And, possibly checking with the Chair, if there is one, or the Conference Committee on that day to make sure your equipment needs have been met by showing up early to your session and checking. Then, all you do is present.

~ Organized Session Presenter
~ Discuss your intention to submit with the organizer.
~ The organizer will evaluate your abstract or your topic for its appropriateness with the group.
~ If you mutually agree your paper is a good fit, then you will have to adhere to the organizer's deadlines for abstract submission.
AND

~ Discuss any A.V. equipment requirements with the organizer.
~ Send your abstract to the organizer ON TIME or the date they request it.
~ Provide with your abstract, your conference registration fee.
AND

~ Contact the organizer if there are any scheduling conflicts or other items that may affect the session.
~ Show up early to your session, meet the organizer, and present when it's your turn.

~ Organizer of Session & Presenter or Chair
You've got a lot of duties.

~ Create & Distribute a Session Abstract to solicit presenters.
~ Decide if you want to present a paper, Chair, or invite a discussant.
~ Of course, if you do a paper - you'll have to write it and present it.
AND

~ If you decide to Chair then you will be the moderator, do the introductions, keep track of time, tell presenters their time is up, open the floor for questions, and close the session.
~ You can be an organizer & Chair. Or you could decide to invite someone to Chair.
~ In addition, you can invite a discussant and you will have to identify them, invite them and see if they accept.
AND

~ You will review the potential presenters, organize their submission into SfAA by receiving their abstracts and submitting them as a group to SfAA, along with the session abstract.
~ You will also take their Conference Fees as well and submit them as a group, too.
~ You will have to inform SfAA with your Session Abstract submission of any AV needs for your presenters.
AND

~ You will be each presenter's troubleshooter and resolve problems.
~ You will need to be at the session early to make sure everything is set up, meet the presenters, and any invited discussants or Chair(s).
Be A Presenter & Award Winner
Spicer Travel Awards
See the Conference Awards section for further details.
Del Jones Travel Award
See the Conference Awards section for further details.
Peter K. New Reseach Award
See the Conference Awards section for further details.

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Like Conquering Jitters, Presentation Formats and More!