Writing and giving Conference Papers

Cluster Communication skills

Target group

Members of the Doctoral Schools. Priority will be given to doctoral students of Humanities and Social Sciences.


PhD students one year or more into their PhD


Presenting your research at an academic conference can be a daunting experience.  Even before you get there, there is the question of identifying the right conference to make your debut, submitting an abstract and getting accepted - and of course writing the paper.  What makes an effective abstract, and how do you go about preparing the paper itself?  How do you use visual aids like Powerpoint to best advantage in your presentation, and what makes for successful delivery?   What should you consider putting in handouts?  And how do you plan for the unexpected when it comes to handling questions and feedback?   Finally, what else do you need to consider in order to make the most of conferences for your academic career?  

This training workshop is run in two sessions.  Participants are asked to complete a short pre-course questionnaire beforehand, indicating their level of conference experience (if any), types of conference presentation in their subject area, and priorities for training needs within the topics covered.  

Session I offers an overview of all aspects of the process, as follows:

•    How not to give a conference paper!   Group exercise and discussion
•    Identifying conferences in your subject
•    Submitting a paper
•    Writing an abstract    Group exercise and discussion
Tea / coffee break
•    Writing the paper
•    Delivery
•    Audio-visual aids
•    Handouts
•    Handling questions and feedback
•    Getting the most out of conferences

In addition to the exercises and discussion, there are handouts with practical examples drawn from actual conferences.  At the end of the session, participants are given an assignment in which they are required to prepare a short sample conference paper for presentation and feedback in the second session.  

Session II is designed to be wholly practical, giving participants the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the first session, rehearse the experience of delivering a paper and handling questions, and feed back to one another in group discussion.


Workshop Tutor Josie Dixon is an international training consultant and specialises in running workshops for postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers and staff in the humanities and social sciences. She has over 70 university clients in the UK, Europe and the USA. Principal areas for training are publishing research, writing and giving conference papers, and research communication skills. She was previously Publishing Director for the Academic Division at Palgrave Macmillan and Senior Commissioning Editor at Cambridge University Press, and also has clients in the publishing industry.  More details at www.lucianconsulting.com

Teaching and learning material



Participants have to submit a short (5-minute) sample presentation on some aspect of their research, for delivery on the second day. This should be representative (in miniature) of the type of presentation you would expect to give in due course at a real conference, using Powerpoint, handouts etc as appropriate.  Powerpoint files will need to be brought to the workshop on a memory stick to be loaded onto the PC laptop; handouts will need to be provided in multiple copies.
There will also be a short pre-course questionnaire for participants to complete.

Number of participants




Date & Teaching hours

Wednesday 23 & Thursday 24 September 2015

Day 1  14:00-17:00

Day 2  09:30-16:30 (coffee breaks at 11:00 and 14:45 and lunch break at 12:30)

Teaching room

Zaal Rector Gillis, het Pand, Onderbergen 1, Gent

Evaluation methods and criteria (doctoral training programme)

100% participation

Registration fee

Free of charge for Doctoral School members

Registration procedure

Registration link: https://webapps.ugent.be/eventManager/events/ConfPapersWriting (registration by e-mail is not accepted).