Conference Formats

Listed below are brief descriptions of the formats typically present at conferences:

Individual Paper Presentation

Individual papers are submitted to be presented separately. Conference presenters submit an abstract that correlates to the conference theme but discusses a specific research project or topic. Typically, an individual presentation is allocated 15 — 20 minutes for a research presentation followed by a short period of question and answer. Often, individual presentations will be grouped into sessions with other research projects of comparable themes.

Panel Presentation

A panel presentation highlights multiple perspectives about a specific issue or research question. Two or more speakers present different facets or thoughts about a particular topic or research problem. After each speaker presents their information, there is time for discussion and questions. Panel discussions differ from individual presentation sessions in that each speaker in a panel discussion in addressing the same exact topic instead of presenting research similar in nature.

Poster Session

Poster presentations allow researchers to display their research and conclusions on a poster board. The poster should look professional and attractive, but most importantly, display all vital information about the research and accurately summarize the results. The presenter should also prepare a short oral summary of the research to discuss with interested attendees.


A roundtable is a flexible conference format that allows for an in-depth discussion about a topic or question. The presenter or head of the roundtable is responsible for presenting an idea or topic. After presenting material for the first part of the session, the presenter opens up the room for questions, suggestions, and conversation. If you are heading a roundtable discussion, you should prepare to first discuss your research and present a question or topic for debate. As the head of the roundtable, you should also prepare questions or inquiries in case of a lull in conversation.


Workshops are a unique type of conference session that focuses on relaying introductory information then engaging in audience participation in some way. After the presenter teaches a new skill or technique, the information is reinforced through an interactive activity. Workshops can vary in length lasting an hour or a full day.

Works Cited

American Evaluation Association. “Session Types.” AEA, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2016. <>.

Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching. “Formats for Conference Presentations.” CIRT, n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2016. <>