Blog Post

What to Expect from CAPS Virtual Presentations

If you’ve been to an academic research conference before, you’ve likely experienced a poster session — wandering through aisles and aisles of people awkwardly standing next to their Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion, blown up to 48×60’ and pinned onto a posterboard. 

That’s not what we’re aiming for at CAPS* Virtual. At our virtual conferences, “poster sessions” are discussions. These sessions are the core of the conference, and are your opportunity to catalyze conversations about your work and the field of participatory science as a whole.

*Conference for Advancing Participatory Sciences – you may have attended our past events under names including C*Sci, CitSci, and PPSR.

Computer showing virtual conference call during the Conference for Advancing Participatory Sciences

The format of CAPS Virtual presentation sessions

Each presentation session fosters dynamic, small-group conversations around 4–6 featured presentations on a common topical theme. Each presenter will give a 5-minute lightning talk as a teaser of their work, to both spark conversations during the session and to entice attendees to visit their online poster materials AAPS Connect, our online event and member space.

Each day of the conference, there will be blocks of concurrent discussion sessions, each organized around a theme or topic (see example topics from 2023 to the right). Each discussion session will have a moderator who will help frame conversations, prepare questions for presenters, and help field questions from the audience via the virtual chat. Each presentation links to corresponding virtual posters on AAPS Connect to give conference attendees a chance to spend meaningful time with the data and ideas presented there.

Posters themselves aren’t necessarily true “posters” like you might find at a traditional academic conference: Learn more about what a “poster” is like at CAPS Virtual. 

Posters will remain online for attendees for the entire month of the conference, for ongoing conversation. Think of the sessions like appetizers for sampling — once you’ve had a taste of ideas during the discussion sessions, you can afterward spend more time with the materials that feel most salient to your work. 

What to prepare as a presenter

Poster discussion sessions are for “not just telling us a story about what you did, but telling us a story about what that can teach us,” says AAPS director Jennifer Shirk. “You don’t have to come with data or come with research, although you’ll see that from some people. But you do have to come with some grounded sense of what you have to offer and what we can learn from it.”

Think of this as your opportunity to tell your story to a group of your peers and participatory science professionals. That means you should skip the basics (“what is participatory science” or “this is how our project functions”) and jump into high-level insights about successes, hardships, information gaps, and emerging opportunities. One big question to ask yourself is: How can others benefit from the work I’m doing?

A poster discussion session is also an opportunity for you to get advice from your peers, and hear honest, knowledgeable feedback about your progress so far and future directions. If you’re thinking of publishing your work, this is a chance to excite your peers about your research and hear their thoughts. Think of it like a “first draft” of your paper.

Submit a poster to present at the 2024 CAPS Virtual event

Interested in submitting a poster? Check out our Poster Planning Guide for submission tips.

Be sure to keep your poster proposal succinct to make your submission and its review as easy as possible — you will have a chance to dive into the details during your presentation and discussion at CAPS!

Related Posts