Conferences, Research, Writing & Publication

Notes from Brendan Howe (Ewha Womans University) and Haruko Satoh (OSIPP, Osaka University).

About Conferences

Much of the process for writing conference papers is the same for writing papers for publication.
Often a good idea to write the first draft of a full paper – get feedback at the conference, kill two birds with one stone, etc.
Now = great opportunity to present at major international conferences as many are now online and/or free or greatly reduced for graduate students and Global South.
Choose a reputable conference – academic association annual conference.
Carefully follow guidelines including abstract length etc. Keep to deadlines.
Keep to time limit for presentation at conference.
Do not have too many slides – takes a couple of minutes to go through each slide, so for a 20-minute presentation, you don’t really want more than 10 slides.
Do not have too much written on slides.
Do not read out from slides or directly from notes – look up and engage your audience.
Do use the presentations in future work – It is usually OK to re-use and can utilize all the feedback.
Dr Brendan Howe
CHSS Yello

Research & Writing


Choose an academically interesting topic/research question/contested concept. This should set up a balanced analytical framework. {slide 1 below}. Examples of this could be:

  • comparative case study analysis (two cases with similar underlying conditions but with different outcomes); or
  • two different cases with substantially similar outcomes your analysis of which will explain the variance between the observed and the expected; or
  • large N quantitative analysis; or
  • competing theoretical approaches applied to a single case to offer the best explanation, prediction, or prescription; or
  • testing a theoretical perspective using supporting and contradicting case material.
Basically, academically interesting means unexpected or essentially contested.
Balance is important because gives the appearance of objectivity, and also inoculates against criticism.
Do not set yourself up to be historical/chronological/descriptive.


Once the question has been analyzed, the components or issues should be organized to form a workable outline (or plan) for answering the question.

  • The outline should ensure your essay eventually has a coherent, logical structure.
  • It also facilitates the preparation of your essay by guiding your reading, note taking, and writing.
  • Academic articles consist of a series of connected arguments through which you attempt to convey information in the most logical and convincing manner possible.
  • An academic piece of any kind should contain three components: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
  • Having a clear organizational pattern is important for arguments to be understood and for maintaining your own focus as you progress. [slide 2-6 then back to notes]


Structure, Structure, Structure: Communicate with your audience. Logical thought progression will lead to a coherent conclusion.

  • A journal manuscript structure different to thesis writing.
  • Read lots of published articles in your field to get a feel for structure.
  • 2-3 paragraphs/page.


Conduct research guided by your question and structure.

  • Think about targeting a journal and/or conference or two.
  • Take comprehensive notes while reading, full citations at top of page, page numbers as you go, quotation marks if direct quotation.
  • Primarily use sources in the language in which you want to present or publish.


Read widely.

  • Academic sources (primary where possible, no textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias).
  • Up to date references.
  • Take comprehensive notes as you go (avoid plagiarism).
  • It is important to read widely if you wish to submit a good paper. This means starting with the reading list for your topic and then reading beyond – i.e. related topics. (search for them and often can find on
  • Skim read, read for word/sentence/concept recognition.
  • Always be aware of your sources. Check where the writer is coming from; check institutional allegiance, political bias etc. No such thing as objective writing.
  • Always start with library = books and journal articles, not the internet! Internet valuable tool but not peer reviewed – anyone can put anything up. Check institutional home page to try to uncover bias. Newspapers online – try to use conflicting ones.


Cite extensively, and accurately.
Every claim must be backed up with evidence, every piece of evidence with a full and distinct citation. Too many better than not enough.

  • Avoid long quotes, generalizations, too many concurrent citations from the same source.
  • Do not list everybody who has written on topic (page numbers and specific citations).
  • Every citation must appear in list of references, but only works cited.


Choosing a journal.

  • Check coverage/focus/methods;
  • Check listing and impact factor (not too high or too low);
  • Check publication schedule/dates;
  • Check word/page limits.


After choosing journal, try to include some citations from it.

  • Make sure you at least read a few articles from chosen journal and that you are familiar with the house style.


Adhere to house style.

  • This means, in particular close adherence to citation and references formatting. Need to keep to word- and page-limits (minimums and maximums). Can be rejected out of hand for not doing this. Also break down your paper into sections with self-imposed limits. Be prepared to revise outline as you go along.


Co-authoring with colleague or one of your connections.

  • make sure you have a solid idea of what you are going to do, before you even speak to a potential co-author. Make sure they are interested. Then, as lead author, it is up to you to submit extensive and multiple drafts to them for input and contributions.

More Information

Writing for Policy … Or anything shorter than a journal article

PowerPoint presentation from Haruko Satoh, Co-Director of the IAFOR Research Centre, OSIPP, Osaka University.

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