78th Annual MPSA Political Science Conference will be Virtual, April 14-18, 2021
Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT/GMT-5)

Session Formats

Session formats for 2021 include: Complete Panel/Paper Sessions, Undergraduate Sessions, Roundtables, Working Groups, and Meetings, Receptions and Networking Events. Each format is described in detail below.

Presentations may be made live at the virtual conference. MPSA recommends that individuals pre-record and upload their session(s) as a backup in the event that any technical issues arise. Example: if internet bandwidth cannot accommodate you to easily present the session live, then the chair can play the pre-recorded session. Instructions for recording and uploading your research will be available in Spring 2021. More information on Slidecast presentations is available here.

 

Complete Panel/Paper Sessions

Four to five papers are represented on a panel, which also includes a chair and discussant(s). The chair introduces the panel, each author, and the discussant(s), manages the time for each presentation, and ensures that the discussion is polite and productive. Each author presents an abbreviated version of his or her paper, followed by comments from all discussants, and audience discussion. The program will list the exact time for each paper to be presented, the times for discussants to speak, and the time for questions from the audience.

If you are presenting a paper on a PANEL, you must upload the paper to the MPSA website (.pdf, .doc, .docx) before the conference so the discussant(s) may read it. You may also upload your PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx) or Slidecast presentation. More than half of the conference attendees report that they use these to decide which session to attend. Instructions for uploading your research will be available in Spring 2021.

 

Undergraduate Sessions Only

Presentations will be divided into sessions with multiple themed papers, and will include a chair and a discussant. It is not required that you create a hardcopy poster, however if you have already created a poster, information from the poster may be useful to use during your presentation. You will have approximately five minutes to present. Instructions for uploading your research will be available in Spring 2021.

 

Roundtables

Roundtables provide in-depth examinations of specific topics, projects, or books (e.g., author meets critics or book reviews). Four to eight panelists participate in a roundtable, which may include a chair who introduces the panelists and provides a substantive introduction to the topic. Chairs will also serve as participants on the roundtable, but will be listed in the program solely as Chair. The focus is on the discussion and interaction among panelists. Examples would include: author-meets-critics sessions, professional development sessions, etc.

Participants do not need to prepare papers, though PowerPoint presentations are encouraged and they can be uploaded to the MPSA website. Instructions for uploading your research will be available in Spring 2021.

 

Working Groups

A working group is a conference within a conference. Participants commit to attend a small group of related or organized sessions. A volunteer coordinator for each working group proposes a theme, selects and/or organizes sessions for the group to attend, promotes the working group, and facilitates communication among participants. A working group consists of up to 15 participants. A working group may meet before and after a session(s) or during lunch for additional discussion and interaction.

 

Meetings, Receptions and Networking Events

Throughout the conference, there will be structured and unstructured opportunities to meet with colleagues to discuss research. Participants may also propose innovative networking opportunities through the relevant section chairs. MPSA is also calling on individuals to propose meetings, receptions, and creative networking ideas in order to facilitate the sessions you want (on the topics you want), that are the most beneficial and pertinent to you. Creative thematic networking opportunities are very welcome! You will be asked for an event title, length of your event, a description of your event and audience, specific time/day requests, estimated number of attendees, and for organizer/co-organizer contact information. If a person proposes a reception or networking event, that person will serve as a networking event host (or co-host) for the event. If the sessions are large, the networking event host(s) will organize the attendees into smaller groups so they can have better conversations. The host(s) will also be able to troubleshoot basic IT challenges.  MPSA will provide instructions and live training for all hosts.

 

Session Roles

The Role of a Session Chair – The chair is responsible for introducing each paper and the authors as well as the discussant(s). The chair is also responsible for managing the time for each presentation, making sure no author exceeds his or her assigned time slot on the program, and ensures that the discussion is polite and productive. Please allow an equal amount of time for each presenter, followed by comments from all discussants, and audience discussion. Only chairs and discussants may recommend papers to the MPSA office for research awards. Panels created by the section heads will assign one of the discussants on the panel to also fill the role of the chair during the session. Chairs for paper sessions will be assigned in Spring.

The Role of a Discussant – One or two discussants are assigned to each panel, and the paper authors will provide a copy of the paper in advance for the discussants to read. If there are two discussants and more than four papers, they may want to divide the papers each paper receives comments from only one discussant. Discussants provide feedback pointing out both the strengths and areas of improvement. Discussants also may place the research in a broader context and discuss trends and themes. Only chairs and discussants may recommend papers to the MPSA office for research awards.

The Role of a Volunteer Coordinator – A volunteer coordinator for a working group proposes a theme, selects and/or organizes sessions for the group to attend, promotes the working group, and facilitates communication among participants.

The Role of a Networking Event Host – If a person proposes a reception or networking event, that person will serve as a Networking Event Host (or Co-Host) for the event. If the sessions are large, the Networking Event Host(s) will organize the attendees into smaller groups so they can have better conversations. The host(s) will also be able to troubleshoot basic IT challenges.  MPSA will provide instructions and live training for all hosts.

 

Information subject to change.