Session Structure & Procedures:
Discussants are assigned first paper to first discussant, second paper to second discussant, etc. However all session participants are expected to be familiar with all the papers in the session and to contribute to the discussion.
By June 1, paper presenters must send their paper to all session participants. If you are unable to circulate your paper by June 1, contact your session chair and assigned discussant immediately to keep them apprised of your progress.
Session time allocations (based on four papers): 105 minutes total. 15 minutes per paper presentation plus 5 minutes for the paper’s primary discussant, then time for all other participants’ discussion. The session chair may alter time allocations if appropriate.
Before the conference, facilitate communication amongst session participants. Follow up with your session participants to ensure papers are distributed to everyone in your session by June 1. Discussants have no obligation to discuss a late paper.
During the conference, arrive at your virtual session a few minutes early and assure that your video and audio connections are working properly. Watch the clock and ensure that presenters and discussants stay within their allotted timeframes.
After the session, complete the chair questionnaire you will receive by email after your session. Your feedback such as approximate session attendance helps us improve future conferences.
Before the conference, configure a Zoom meeting/webinar and submit the meeting link/URL to [email protected] by June 19. If any of your session participants are not familiar with participating in a virtual meeting, perhaps host a practice run before the conference so that everyone can figure out screen sharing and such so that the day of the session runs more smoothly.
During the conference, arrive at your virtual session early and help presenters with video/audio setup if needed. If in use, monitor the virtual waiting room throughout the session to grant access to late arrivals.
By June 1, send your paper to each participant in the session. Limit your paper to 15 to 25 double-spaced pages in order to not overburden your discussant and fellow participants.
During your session, stay within the allotted time (usually 15 minutes). Summarize the paper’s objective, methods, main points, and conclusions. Do not read your paper.
Tips on being an effective presenter from former Economic Inquiry Editor Bill Neilson:
- Do not go long. Going long means less time for feedback. It is much better to present only a small portion of your paper well than to go long and try to present the entire thing. Also, audience members punish presenters who go long by withdrawing their attention, and you do not want this. So, if anything, make your presentation shorter than 15 minutes and restrict attention to only things people absolutely have to know. The introduction should be short, and the literature review shorter, perhaps non-existent.
Before the conference, thoroughly read the paper you are assigned to discuss, and prepare comments to share with the author(s).
During your session, be prepared to offer comments and constructive criticism. Plan your remarks to stay within the allotted time (usually 5 to 8 minutes). Each paper has a primary discussant, but everyone is urged to contribute to the discussion of all papers.
Tips on being an effective discussant from former Economic Inquiry Editor Bill Neilson:
- Summarize the paper very quickly. This does two things: (1) it helps audience members who were not paying attention catch up with what you are about to say. (2) it shows the author what you got out of the paper. Most referee reports begin with summaries of the paper, and these are valuable to the author because they show what points were most salient.
- Talk about how you would have approached the problem. This is great for sessions where participants all come from different specializations and so the different approaches would be interesting to hear.
- Talk about strengths of the author’s approach. It is always nice for the author to hear something positive, but it is also good for the audience to learn what was especially good about the paper they just heard.
- Talk about any strategies for improvement you can think of.
- The key thing to remember in discussing a paper is that you are talking to the audience, not the author. The author is only one member of the audience, but you want to impress everyone. Serving as a discussant is a marketing opportunity for you, and you should use it to show any possible recruiter in the audience what a fantastic colleague you would be. So, your discussion should be a self-contained talk that everyone in the audience will understand, not just the author.