A wiki on how to
Write an abstract
Evaluate an abstract
Write a paper
Present a paper

I've been going to the EMP Pop Con since 2003. The build up to and participation in EMP is one of the most exciting cycles I get to do in the year, and I've been lucky to have been fostered there by a number of the field's best minds. My first year I was saved from total embarrassment (ha ha, 22 page draft) by some very kind people, and since that time I have made a mission of helping young writers and academics go through the process of writing their first conference abstracts, edit their first papers, and get their first presentations ready. Also I am seriously committed to expanding the diversity of voices participating in this community and I feel like I have an obligation to share the knowledge widely and openly, with hopes that it will inspire great new critical inquiry perhaps from unlikely sources.

Last year when I was heading up my department's grad conference, I was working with all graduate students who had never been on a conference committee before. I needed to create a rubric for how to evaluate our peers' abstract submissions. I went online and was pretty surprised to find that there were really few resources for how to write an abstract, or how to evaluate an abstract. I made a mental note that one day I would fix that, and damned if this isn't the time.

So there's a few parts here.

First is the abstract section. Please give advice on your tricks for writing the perfect abstract, and advice on how it shapes subsequent research and writing.

Next is the abstract evaluation section. It's just a rubric I put together, and was very rudimentary. I'm sure people have much finer grained criteria and I would love to include the types of questions you've asked yourself or found asked in committee discussions, all properly anon. of course.

The paper section is very bare bones but I feel firmly that there's a way that a paper can be written that makes conference presentation better, and that's what I've included. Feel free to disagree! I'll include the disagreement.

Presentation - is the paper turned into an act. Not often talked about, other than "getting over" nerves.

Here I would also love to have feedback from folks about what a "good presentation" is for them, especially within the context of seeing a first time presenter and within the context of seeing one paper out of a whole weekend of papers. What makes a paper stand out?

I plan to post it on my blog and around to various scholarly advice sites.

I would be really thankful for feedback on the ideas presented here, and will publish the article with a "in collaboration with" credit for anyone who helps out. You can either give comments in the "discussion" tab or edit the document directly. You can also send me any of your own evaluative rubrics used in conference committees past to dgc2105 at columbia dot edu, as long as you also give permission for that info to be public. And yeah, this is my first WIKI so forgive its potentially not savvy nature. Many thanks! Daphne Carr