PCST Conference 2018

Conference presentations

Guidelines for writing a proposal

So you want to answer the Call for Papers for PCST 2018?

Those who start early, plan accordingly, and carefully edit are most likely to be invited to present their research.

The last PCST Conference rejected some proposals because they were not relevant to public communication of science, or were hard to understand, or full of jargon, or did not fit conference guidelines.

First step: remember you are writing for 2 different audiences. The first audience is the people who will review your paper, the Members of the PCST Scientific Committee They come from 19 different countries and different backgrounds in research and practice. Each Member reviews 40 or 50 proposals.

Your aim is to convince these Members that your proposal is important, original and relevant.

Reviewers will reject proposals that:
  • don't make a clear argument or report something new.
  • are hard to understand because they contain jargon or difficult language
  • have spelling or grammatical errors. Proof-read, edit and double-check
  • don't follow instructions and guidelines
  • do not fit the themes of the conference

The second audience is the people who attend the conference. They will choose which sessions to attend by reading a program containing all the proposals. Why should they care about what you say? If your proposal is interesting and important, they will come to your presentation.

What should be in a good proposal?
  • A problem and a solution, or a research question and answers. Focussing on the outcome makes the talk relevant to the audience.
  • Emphasises the key questions, aims and findings of the project described
  • A title that is interesting and inviting, to ‘hook' the reader
  • State what is new or original about the work or what contribution it makes to science communication research or practice
  • Enthusiasm. If you don't show interest in your work, why should we be?

Quick tips

  • Follow the guidelines and instructions exactly
  • Be brief – you have a maximum of 300 words
  • Don't write the proposal online, but in a word program, and then copy and paste it into the on-line form. Take time to fine-tune and adjust.
  • After you have drafted the proposal, leave it for a day or 2 and then come back to see if it can be improved.
  • Get a second opinion. Ask a colleague or supervisor to check the draft.
  • Consider submitting more than one proposal (but make them different)

See also: The different formats