An IGLP Approach for First Time Panel Presenters

All of us present our work in a variety of settings. Although we all say we want to contribute to a discussion and look forward to feedback, all too often we fail to present our work in a way that encourages discussion or even leaves time for feedback. 

We encourage everyone to do a better job. Here are some tips – and policies.

Time Management Policy

Opening remarks
The Moderator will have up to five minutes to introduce all members of the panel and their papers.

Panel presentations
All panel presenters will be strictly limited to TEN MINUTES for opening remarks. We have asked Moderators to be ruthless. Moderators will have laminated IGLP time cards to indicate clearly to speakers when there remain five minutes, two minutes and zero minutes.

General Discussion
In a 90 minute panel with five presenters, 30 minutes will remain for discussion. The goal is to encourage spirited discussion of the larger theme or issue posed by the panel, drawing on the presentations and on the work of others who may be in the room. To this end, we recommend not using this time for specific questions directed toward individual panelists. Individualized comments and questions are often better addressed to a speaker after a panel has concluded and one has time to engage informally in a direct conversation.

We  give each moderator the option to open the discussion by reflecting for up to five minutes on one or two cross cutting themes linking or distinguishing the papers and which may be interesting to discuss. The Moderator will ask the audience not to ask specific questions of individual panelists, but to engage the panelists and one another on the larger themes.

It is enormously useful to receive feedback on what one has presented at a Conference. The best time is rarely when one is still up on the panel. We encourage everyone to seek out panelists whose ideas or research they found stimulating for further discussion after the session has concluded.

Tips for Presenters

How can you make best use of your ten minutes? Here are some tips suggested by people in the IGLP network. If you have other suggestions from your own experience listening to or giving academic presentations, please send them to us. We’ll pass them on!

  • You can’t “present” your paper
    No one can present an entire paper it has taken months to research and write in ten – or fifteen, or twenty, or thirty -­‐-­‐-­‐ minutes. You must be selective. That means you need a strategy. In light of your research and all the thinking you have done, what would you like to say to this group today?
  • Describing your paper is rarely a good presentation strategy
    Tempting as it is, describing in general terms “what I did in part one” and then “what I do in part two” rarely works. Few people can get a sense for HOW you do what you do and what is interesting about it from this kind of 30,000 foot table of contents description. You need to think about your paper as a whole and figure out what you want to say about the topic of your interest to this group. The paper can take care of itself.
  • Retracing the logic of discovery is rarely a good presentation strategy
    When you think back on your work as a whole, it can be fascinating -­‐-­‐-­‐ for you -­‐-­‐-­‐ to remember how you came to the topic, how you did the research, what you thought half-­‐way through and how you developed your ideas. This kind of bildungsroman is rarely fascinating for other people. They want to know what you think about something they are also interested in now. How should they now change their ideas and why?
  • The Elements of Strategy

    • Identify the terrain. Where are you intervening? What discussion are you participating in? Why is this discussion important?
    • Identify the intervention. What did you discover that we did not know? What did you reinterpret that we ought now to understand differently? How has your work changed the debate? What did who misunderstand that you have set straight?
    • Identify the stakes. Why does this matter? Who would or might do what differently? What lines of inquiry have you opened which were closed? What tools have you developed that might be used?
    • Pre-­empt opposition. How would those with whom you disagree – against whom you have written, who stand to lose given the stakes you have identified – respond?
    • Start a conversation. Presenting academic work is more like tennis than moot court. The goal is not to prove that you are right. It is to start a conversation. What remains puzzling for you? How would you frame the methodological, political, doctrinal or institutional choices opened up by your analysis?

Some types of scholarly intervention an modes of argumentation

Scholarly works “intervene” in ongoing scholarly or policy discussions in various ways. How are YOU intervening? How do YOU argue?

An Incomplete List of Scholarly Interventions and Arguments

  1. I propose a new take on a well-­‐established empirical claim, line of reasoning, or doctrine.
  1. I aim to reorganize or reinterpret what had been a settled doctrinal field.
  1. I identify – and map – an overlooked but crucial aspect of mainstream thinking about X.
  1. I intervene in an ongoing debate about social policy on the basis of new evidence or a new approach.
  1. I intervene in a theoretical, jurisprudential or political debate on the basis of new evidence or new ideas.
  1. I advocate a new or renewed interdisciplinary project.
  1. I intervene in two disciplines simultaneously in an original way, changing each by reference to the other.
  1. I compare or juxtapose things which are not usually presented together to illuminate new possibilities or change our understanding of each.
  1. I retell or unsettle a historical narrative: recovering possibilities that have been overlooked.
  1. I retell the internal or contextual history of a discipline to challenge its self-­‐understanding and basic assumptions.
  1. I uncover problematic assumptions underlying particular theories, doctrines, and policies with which I disagree.
  1. I highlight unresolved gaps, conflicts and ambiguities in existing arguments or proposals.
  1. I identify biases and blind spots that existing approaches ignore.
  1. I bring new (or old but forgotten) theories, theorists, personal narratives, and/or empirical methods to bear on familiar problems.
  1. I present new data or a new analysis that challenge(s) existing empirical findings.
  1. I expose some of the unintended consequences of reform projects or ideas that have largely gone unnoticed or unacknowledged.
  1. I ____________________________________________________________ .