Getting a proposal or an abstract for an academic paper - or a complete paper - accepted for presentation at an academic conference often entails a review process. Each submitted proposal, abstract or paper may be assessed by two or more academics. They will evaluate it as a piece of academic literature, judging whether it should be accepted for presentation at the conference. The process of assessment entailed in academic presentation has parallels with the assessment of your writing in your postgraduate or doctoral degree studies.
Submitted proposals or papers often go through a similar mix of formative and summative assessment to the mix you experience in writing for your tutor or supervisor. Informing yourself about how the process works will help you to see how the writing for assessment that you do in your academic apprenticeship offers a preparation for academic work. It may also help you to get started on learning how to write your own paper for presentation at an academic conference.
Writing for formative and summative assessment is central to the two-way process of academic discourse. Much of this process proceeds through writing which includes:
· unpublished papers presented at academic conferences
· published academic literature in academic journals, books, and professional magazines
· unpublished literature such as reports for research sponsors
· applications for research grants
In all cases, a written submission will be subject to summative assessment - the submission may be accepted or rejected. Assessment may also be formative for the writer, who may be invited to resubmit after revising the written account in the light of feedback from reviewers.
Suppose you write a proposal for a paper in the hope of being allowed to present it at an academic conference. The chances are that your written submission will be assessed by anonymous reviewers whose identity you will never know. They will assess your submission summatively, using explicit assessment criteria they are asked to employ, their implicit criteria of good practice for conference papers, or both.
Each possible audience for your written efforts may have particular expectations about what makes a good account, may value different styles of writing, and may be convinced by different forms of evidence backing the claims you make.
Therefore, it is worth finding out what any explicit criteria are and to work out what any implicit expectations are likely to be. Then attempt to meet these criteria.