EVALUATION 2006 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions: Considering Whether to Submit a Proposal

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Who may submit a proposal?

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What is the likelihood that my proposal will be accepted?  

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What steps can I take to increase the likelihood of my proposal being accepted?

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What criteria are used when reviewing proposals?

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What are my obligations if my presentation is accepted?

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2006 CHANGE: How many times may a presenter appear on the program?

Frequently Asked Questions: Proposal Development and Submission

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What should I list in the affiliation field(s) on the submission form?

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Which group should I choose in the Peer-Review Selection box?

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What should I do if I believe that my proposal is appropriate for two or more TIGs?

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What should I do if I believe that my proposal should be co-sponsored?

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What makes for a good presentation title?

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What should I put in the "Other Information" box on the form?

Frequently Asked Questions: Audio-Visual Aids

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What Audio-Visual aids are normally available to presenters?

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Why don't you provide LCD projectors?

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May I bring my own LCD projector and computer?

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May I order other Audio-Visual devices beyond what is provided?

Frequently Asked Questions: Conference Registration

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Who should attend Evaluation 2006?

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How much does it cost to attend Evaluation 2006?

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When may I register for Evaluation 2006?

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Where should I turn with questions?


Frequently Asked Questions: Considering Whether to Submit a Proposal

Who may submit a presentation proposal? The American Evaluation Association welcomes proposals to present at its annual conference from anyone with knowledge or expertise related to evaluation theory or practice, evaluation methodologies, the business of running an evaluation firm, or contextual factors with a significant influence on the field of evaluation. AEA values serving as a forum for the exchange of ideas among those from many disciplinary backgrounds who all share an interest in the field of evaluation. Over 1000 people contribute to the presentations made each year at our annual conference. Approximately half of the conference attendees are involved in one or more presentations.

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What is the likelihood that my proposal will be accepted? The overall acceptance rate usually varies between 80% and 95% for conference sessions and between 45% and 55% for professional development workshops. In any given year, the acceptance rate is influenced by the quality of proposals, the number of proposals, and the constraints of time and space related to the conference venue.

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What steps can I take to increase the likelihood of my proposal being accepted? While no specific recommendations can guarantee acceptance of a proposal, adhering to the following will increase the likelihood of acceptance:

  1. Fill out the form completely and well. Incomplete proposals will not be forwarded for peer-review. Use the guidelines herein to complete the submission form in the expected format. Employ good grammar and syntax. Be sure to proofread and spell-check. Take advantage of the space provided to tell the fullest story possible related to your proposal.

  2. Keep in mind the review criteria (see below) when developing your abstract(s) and relevance statements. In particular, focus on aspects of evaluation rather than findings. If your proposal is tied to a specific evaluation, use the findings as context and examples for the evaluation lessons learned.

  3. Choose wisely when selecting a presentation type. Review each one to identify the option that most closely matches what you have to offer. The most often mis-selected type is that of an expert lecture. An expert lecture is three times the length of a standard paper and the content should warrant such an extended examination.

  4. Ask questions. Once you have reviewed all of the materials available online, please do not hesitate to contact the AEA office (office@eval.org or 888-232-2275 or 508-748-3326) or the TIG leadership (/aboutus/organization/tigs.asp) if you have questions about developing or submitting a proposal.

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What criteria are used when reviewing proposals? The vast majority of proposals are reviewed by one of AEA's 36 Topical Interest Groups (TIGs). While AEA does not mandate the review criteria for each TIG, the Board has approved a set of recommended criteria that are provided to each TIG and employed by most of them. In some cases, one or more of the review criteria may be not applicable to a given proposal. These criteria are:

  1. Relevance/Importance to a Broad AEA Audience: A proposal submitted to AEA should address topics that are of importance to a broad audience within AEA. If accepted, this proposal is likely to attract a large and diverse audience.

  2. Relevance/Importance to TIG: A proposal reviewed by a particular TIG should address central topics of the subject area(s) defining the TIG.

  3. Technical Quality: A proposal should meet high standards of technical quality as defined by the TIG. Expanded to a manuscript, a very high quality proposal would likely be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

  4. Innovativeness: This refers to the introduction of new ideas and methods. This proposal has the potential to promote the development of new skills and knowledge.

  5. Diversity: This refers to a proposal's contribution to the diversity of presentations with respect to subject matter, populations, programs, methods, culture, ethnicity, and presenters.

  6. Focus on Evaluation Methods, Theories, Policies, and Practices: This refers to a proposal's focus on broader issues of evaluation methods, theories, policies, and practices. This is in contrast to proposals presenting the results, findings, and circumstances of a specific evaluation.

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What are my obligations if my presentation is accepted? If your presentation is accepted, you will be notified on or before Monday, July 3, 2006 via email. At that point, you will need to a) review the online listing for your presentation, and b) confirm the listing's accuracy and your intent to present via a return email. Once that is done, you - and all other presenters represented on your proposal - should register for the conference. Please note that there is no discount on conference registration for presenters and that every person attending the conference must register and pay. We work to keep the conference registration fees low for all attendees. Finally, you should prepare your presentation including handouts, visual aids, and a well-developed exploration of the topic. It is important to practice your presentation multiple times in order to be sure that it is clear, concise, and fits within the time allocated. 

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2006 CHANGE: How many times may a presenter appear on the program? As a general rule, each person may appear on the program as a primary presenter only twice and then twice again as a discussant (but not a main panelist) on a panel or multipaper session (for a maximum of four). When calculating the count, the following will be excluded for those sessions for which the criteria apply:

  • Session chairs will not be counted.

  • Secondary authors will not be counted.

  • Pre- and post-conference professional development workshop presenters will not be counted.

  • Those acting in their association leadership capacity will not be counted, examples include:

    • AEA Journal Editors when participating in sessions such as ‘meet the editors,’

    • The AEA President when giving a Presidential address or otherwise presiding,

    • Committee Chairs or other leaders when reporting committee business,

    • Topical Interest Group (TIG) Leaders, when not presenting their own work, at a TIG business meeting.

These guidelines apply to all sessions including the Presidential Strand and Conference Plenaries. These guidelines apply to all session types including TIG business meetings when there is a presentation included, and think tanks where the facilitator(s) will be counted as primary presenters and breakout leaders will be counted as discussants. Each person may participate as a primary presenter on only two submissions and as a discussant on only two submissions. Presenters should consider their choices wisely and submit or agree to participate on only two sessions in a primary role. Presenters may not be represented in a primary role on more than two proposals assuming that some may be rejected.

If a presenter appears more than twice in a primary role within the submission pool, after having researched the caveats above, the AEA office will notify the presenter that he/she must immediately withdraw or modify the presentations until he/she is down to two. Replacements, changes, and substitutions may be made as time permits, but each will be assessed an administrative change fee of $10.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Proposal Development and Submission

What should I list in the affiliation field(s) on the submission form? When we request your affiliation, we are asking for where you work or study, but not your position or job title. The one exception is that those who are self-employed, and do not have a name for their firm, are listed as 'Independent Consultant.' Affiliations are listed next to each person's name in the final program.

Guidelines: The following guidelines will help you to fill in the affiliation fields on the proposal submission forms:

  1. Do not use acronyms or abbreviations. Spell out the full words appropriate to your affiliation. Acronyms and abbreviations are often regional or discipline specific and may not be familiar to some reviewers or conference attendees.

  2. List your affiliation at the highest level. We list only the top-level affiliation for each person, not his or her department or division or other sub-group.

  3. Provide only one affiliation for each person. Even if a person listed on the proposal works at more than one place, or is studying at one place while working at another, list only the single most appropriate affiliation for him or her in relation to the proposal.

Examples: The following examples suggest both problematic and improved affiliations:

Bad: CDC (problem - acronym)
Better: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Bad: Director of Evaluation and Planning (problem - position title not affiliation)
Better: Foundation for Poverty Alleviation

Bad: UMN School of Ed, Institute for Eval (problems - abbreviations, multi-level)
Better: University of Minnesota

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Which group should I choose in the Peer-Review Selection box? AEA strives to have all proposals reviewed by one of its Topical Interest Groups (TIGs). The full list of AEA TIGs may be found at /tigs.html. If you are unsure as to which TIG to select, we strongly urge you to use the "Please choose for me" option and your proposal will be read and assigned to an appropriate reviewing group. If a proposal appears to fit with none of the TIGs, AEA will assign it to the conference committee review task force. This team serves as a catch-all for homeless proposals. However, we strongly prefer that proposals go to a TIG for review whenever possible.

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What should I do if I believe that my proposal is appropriate for two or more TIGs? Only one TIG may serve a the primary reviewing body. If you believe that more than one TIG would be appropriate to review and sponsor your proposal, either a) choose the one best to serve as the primary reviewer, or b) use the "Please choose for me" option. 

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What should I do if I believe that my proposal should be co-sponsored? Select one TIG to serve as the primary reviewing body for your proposal (the reviewing body is listed as the sponsor in the program for all session types except posters and roundtables). In the "Other Information" box that appears at the end of the form, indicate that you believe that your proposal would be appropriate for co-sponsorship and name the TIGs that you believe would be appropriate co-sponsors. However, please note that co-sponsorship is completely at the discretion of the primary reviewing TIG. It is up to the primary TIG's program chair to a) determine if he or she wishes to have a proposal co-sponsored and then b) contact the program chair for the potential co-sponsoring TIG to determine if that TIG wishes to co-sponsor.

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What makes for a good presentation title? A presentation title should clearly and concisely convey the topic of your presentation to an uninformed audience. The title and presenters, with affiliations, are the only parts of your proposal that appear in the hardcopy program. Most attendees will determine whether or not to attend your presentation based on the title.

Guidelines: The following guidelines will help you to fill in the title fields on the proposal submission forms:

  1. Capitalize all major words in your title and all words of four letters or more. Even if you divide your title into two parts with a colon, capitalize major words and long words in both the first and second halves. 

  2. Do not use acronyms or abbreviations. Evaluation data from previous conferences notes that attendees are frustrated when they are not familiar with the language used in the program.

  3. Suggest the likely audience for the presentation. Include an indication of the field, the methods, and/or the issue that will be addressed.

  4. Focus on Evaluation. Focus on the theory and practice of evaluation, evaluation methodologies, and/or operating an evaluation business.

  5. Specify breadth of topic. Hone in on the specific aspects of a broad topic that you will be addressing in your presentation.

Examples: The following examples suggest both problematic and improved titles:

Bad: The Whitney Project: Ten years on the lamb in Oweta  (problems - topic could be clearer, focus on evaluation is not explicit, capitalization stops after colon)
Better: Evaluating the Whitney Project: Challenges to Collecting and Using Longitudinal Data for Rural Health Program Improvement

Bad: Operating Under the Influence: Evaluation in the Era of NCLB (problems - acronym, title likely overbroad for presentation)
Better: Operating Under the Influence: Using Empowerment Evaluation to Establish School Progress Benchmarks in the Era of No Child Left Behind

Bad: What I Learned When I Started My Own Consulting Business Right Out of College and Subsequently as a Practicing Consultant: Ways to Succeed (problems - wordy, focus on evaluation is not explicit)
Better: Tried and True Strategies for Getting Started as an Evaluation Consultant

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What should I put in the Other Information box on the form? At the end of each form, you will find a box that asks "If you have other information that you believe we need in order to process, review or schedule this presentation, please share it in the box below." This is your opportunity to note such things as an intent to move and change addresses in the near future (needed for processing), a desire not to have your proposal redirected to another TIG even if the reviewing TIG felt it was a bad fit (needed for reviewing), or travel plans that would preclude you from attending one of the days of the conference (needed for scheduling).

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Frequently Asked Questions: Audio-Visual Aids

What Audio-Visual aids are normally available to presenters? Each presentation room, with the exception of those for posters and roundtables, is equipped with an overhead projector for transparencies and a screen. Presentation rooms do NOT have computers or LCD projectors (also known as datashows or PowerPoint projectors). You may rent other Audio-Visual aids (see information below).

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Why don't you provide LCD projectors? AEA strives to make the conference as accessible as possible to attendees and thus to keep the registration fees low. The rental, and tech-support, cost for LCD projectors would add approximately 20% to the registration fees for every attendee. While we are examining the issue again for future years, for 2006 we will be providing only transparency projectors.

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May I bring my own LCD projector and computer? Yes, but you must be self-sufficient and require only the use of the screen that is already in the room. The audio-visual technicians at the hotel do not assist with outside audio-visual products. You should have your own cords and be well-versed with the use of your machine. Please note that there is usually only ONE single-plug extension cord running to the center of the room and it is attached to the existing transparency projector. Usually, someone bringing an outside machine unplugs this and plugs in his or her LCD. However, this would mean that your computer must run on batteries for the duration of the presentation. Another option is to bring an extension cord with multiple outlets.

If you are one presenter in a larger session (such as a single paper presenter on a multi-paper session), you may not interfere with other presenter's use of the transparency projector. You should either be able to set it up and move it out of the way very quickly or, if you are willing to share, contact the other presenters in advance to see if all of them may wish to use your kindly-shared LCD. We recommend that if you are bringing your own LCD projector that you a) reconnoiter the room early in the morning to be sure that you can set up easily and know where the  outlets, etc. are located, and b) bring transparencies as backups. 

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May I order other Audio-Visual devices beyond what is provided? Yes! There is a place on the submission form to order alternative audio-visual aids. Please note that the rental and technical support costs for audio-visual aids, except for the provided transparency projector and screen, are charged to the presenter. Should your proposal be accepted, you will be contacted to provide a credit-card number or check to pre-pay for your special-ordered audio-visual devices. You may also order additional audio-visual devices over the summer as long as your order is placed and paid for by October 1. However, !!NEW!! the order fees on the proposal submission form are discounted and subsidized. Audio-visual aids ordered after proposal submission will be at a higher fee. Individual attendees cannot rent audio-visual aids directly from the hotel. 



Audio-Visual Aid
Fee when
Pre-ordered at time of
Proposal Submission
Fee when
Ordered After
Proposal Submission
LCD Projector $250 $400
Flipchart & markers $30 $45
Slide projector $50 $75
VCR and color monitor $120 $180

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Frequently Asked Questions: Conference Registration

Who should attend Evaluation 2006? Evaluation 2006 will have content that spans the breadth and depth of the field of evaluation - from exploring traditional and emerging methodologies, to addressing issues related to working internationally and cross-culturally, to delving into applications of evaluation to a range of disciplines. Attendees are welcome that are just beginning their work in the field - from students to those who have found evaluation a new part of their work expectations. You will also find the most senior practitioners and theorists represented among the attendees, including the authors of most of the well-known books and texts in the field. We usually have significant representation from government and NGOs, academia, foundations, and the private and non-profit sectors. If your job description includes evaluation, if you contract for evaluations, if you are studying evaluation, or if you are just interested in learning more about the field, we welcome you to consider attending Evaluation 2006.

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How much does it cost to attend Evaluation 2006? The registration fees for Evaluation 2006 are reflected in the table below. Please note that annual membership in AEA is $80 and we recommend that non-members consider joining and taking advantage of the discounted member rates while receiving member benefits, including AEA's two professional journals, throughout the coming year. There are separate fees for the Friday joint luncheon, and the professional development workshops that precede and follow the conference.  


Membership Status
Paid on or before
September 25
Paid after September 25
and on or before October 23
Paid after October 23, including on site at conference
Members $135 $175 $215
Non-members $215 $255 $295
Full-time Students $70 $80 $90

 

Workshop registration fees are in addition to the fees for conference registration:


Membership Status
Two Day Workshop One Day Workshop Half Day Workshop
Members $300

$150

$75

Non-members $400

$200

$100

Full-time Students $160

$80

$40

 

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When may I register for Evaluation 2006? Registration forms are posted available online to AEA members July 2. This year we will not be sending hard-copy registration forms to members unless a specific request is made to the office. We strongly encourage you to register on or before October 23 in order to receive discounted registration rates. 

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Where should I turn with questions? A good place to start is with Heidi or Susan in the AEA office. They can answer most conference-related, administrative, member services, or policy questions and will point you in the right direction for other resources. They have guidelines available for starting a TIG or Affiliate if that should be of interest to you, can help you get your listing on the AEA website if you are a consultant, and can get you included in the AEA bibliography if you are an author. Give us a call at 1-888-232-2275 from the US or Canada, 1-508-748-3326 internationally, or send email to info@eval.org

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