2009 Annual CES Conference
Value in Evaluation

Call for presentations and professional development workshops
Exhibitors, supporters and advertisers

Definitions of presentations

Note that a data projector, laptop and screen are provided in all session rooms.

These presentations focus on a specific topic or issue and are expected to last between 20 and 30 minutes, including time for discussion. Presenters should plan for a five to ten minute question period for their own presentation. Two or three presentations are grouped in facilitated sessions that will last approximately 60 minutes. A Chair will present each presenter and will facilitate a question and answer period at the end of the session. The Chair will also be responsible for ensuring that each presenter respects the agreed upon timelines. Papers submitted individually will be grouped with others on a common theme.

Most presenters will offer an e-mail address through which an attendee may obtain an electronic copy of the full paper. Presenters can offer an environment-friendly paper synopsis for distribution after the session to those who express a serious interest in the presentation (between five and ten copies, printed on both sides, bilingual if possible).

Time slots will also be allocated for debated discussions. Two or three debaters should hold clearly differing points of view as they exchange insights on a topic of import to evaluators. The interaction should be moderated by a Chair with a prepared set of questions. Half of the presentation time should be devoted to response to audience questions. The main abstract should identify the topic, why the topic is of interest to evaluators, and the contrasting positions of the debaters. An alternative format would be to debate a specific proposition that would be directed towards a specific organization or institution, such as the CES.

Demonstrations are formal 45- or 90-minute classroom-style presentations that provide an intellectual awareness and understanding of a useful evaluation concept or tool. These may be contrasted with Skill Building Workshops that provide a hands-on experience. The abstract should describe how the presenter will walk attendees through a clear, step-by-step explanation of the concept or tool, how it compares to other evaluation concepts or tools, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it can best be applied.

Expert Lectures are formal 45-minute presentations by an acknowledged expert in the field who will share conceptual or methodological innovations through a lecture followed by response to audience questions. The abstract should detail both the background of the lecturer as well as the importance of the material to be presented. Please note that an expert lecture, at 45-minutes in length, is about three times the length of a standard paper presentation. As such, the breadth and depth of the content, and the expertise of the presenter, should warrant such an extended exploration.

This formal, thematic, 45- or 90-minute presentation focuses on an issue facing the field of evaluation. The overall abstract should describe how two (for a 45-minute panel), or more (for a 90-minute panel), panellists and possibly a discussant will offer coordinated presentations and the general topic of the panel. In addition, the proposal must contain separate abstracts or summaries from each presenter describing his or her contribution to the session. At a minimum, the information in the 'abstract' section for each panellist should indicate the expertise or perspective that he or she brings to the panel (why is this person a panellist rather than someone else). The submitter is responsible for coordinating the presentations in advance. Panels should be interactive in that they allow for questions and discussion following the formal presentations.

Posters are presented during designated hours. Poster presenters stand beside their posters and discuss their work one-on-one or in small groups with attendees. This formal graphic presentation of a topic, displayed on poster board, offers an excellent opportunity for gathering detailed feedback on the author's work and reporting on evaluation results. Posters should NOT be used to advertise a product or service. Like a paper, a poster abstract should detail the focus of the presentation and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of evaluation. Many poster presenters supplement their posters with a handout that summarizes their work and provides contact information for further follow-up. CES will provide the backing boards and pins for posters while presenters provide all items to be attached to the boards.

Roundtables are 60-minute oral presentations with discussion. Participants are seated around a table. They roundtables be held in parallel with the time designated for breakfast and participants will often bring some breakfast to the table. Roundtable presentations typically include several minutes of presentation by the organizer, followed by discussion and feedback. Roundtable presenters should bring targeted questions to pose to others at the table in order to learn from and with those attending. An alternative format would be to debate a specific proposition that would be directed towards a specific organization or institution, such as the CES. Roundtables do not have traditional audio-visual aids available, but most roundtable presenters bring handouts. Roundtables are excellent venues for getting targeted feedback, engaging in in-depth discussions, and meeting colleagues with similar interests. They are not an appropriate format for presenters that anticipate more than 15 people in attendance. Roundtables are an ideal format for networking and in-depth discussion on a particular topic. The abstract should detail the focus of the presentation and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of evaluation. Each presenter is in charge of his or her discussion group, but most will include an introductory discussion component with ample time for questions.

As part of a 45- or 90-minute session taking place during the Conference, Workshops teach a specific skill needed by many evaluators and include one or more exercises that let attendees practice using this skill. The abstract should include a detailed discussion of why this skill is important, how the presenter will teach the skill within a short time frame, and how the presenter will enable attendees to learn more after the session. This session differs from a Demonstration in that attendees will have a hands-on opportunity to practice the skill. Attendees should be ready to get involved as these sessions are not passive, but rather active opportunities for learning. Most Workshops include take-home materials for use and reference post-Conference. This session differs from a Professional Development Workshop in that it takes place during the Conference, is significantly shorter in length, and thus does not allow for as much breadth or depth in exploring the topic, and may be presented by someone with less facilitation experience than that expected for the Conference Workshops.

A think tank is a 45- or 90-minute session focusing on a single issue or question. Initially, a chairperson orients attendees to the issue or question and relevant context. An alternative format would be to debate a specific proposition that would be directed towards a specific organization or institution, such as the CES. Then, attendees break into small groups to explore the issue or question and finally reconvene to share their enhanced understanding through a discussion facilitated by the chairperson. If the overall group is small, the central discussion may take place among the group as a whole. As the session winds down, the group reconvenes or refocuses with an eye toward identifying what has been learned or next steps in an action-based process. Some think tanks incorporate visuals to illustrate key points or raise specific questions. The abstract (submission) should succinctly identify the question or issue to be addressed, the relevant contextual factors, and the roles of the individual breakout groups.


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