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Evaluation 2013 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: Considering Whether to Submit a Proposal
Frequently Asked Questions: Proposal Development and Submission
Frequently Asked Questions: Audio-Visual Aids and Technology
Frequently Asked Questions: Conference Registration
Frequently Asked Questions: The Conference Program
Frequently Asked Questions: What to Expect at the Conference

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 2000 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.

May I submit, or appear on, more than one proposal? Yes. However, there are a number of issues that you should take into consideration when submitting more than one. First and foremost, each proposal should have independent content. You may not submit the same content to two different TIGs or the same content as two different types of presentation. Second, you should attend to the presenter limits. Each person may appear on the program no more than twice as a primary presenter and twice as a discussant. Learn more about presenter limits by clicking here.

What is the likelihood that my proposal will be accepted? The overall acceptance rate usually varies between 75% and 85% 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.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 presentation is three times the length of a standard paper and the content should warrant such an extended examination, and, as explicit in the session type itself, the presenter should actually be an expert.
  • Ask questions. Once you have reviewed all of the materials available online, please do not hesitate to contact the AEA office ( or 1-888-232-2275 or 1-508-748-3326) or the leadership for the Topical Interest Group to which you expect to submit the proposal for review (

What criteria are used when reviewing proposals? The vast majority of proposals are reviewed by one of AEA's 40+ 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. An innovative 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.

What are my obligations if my presentation is accepted? If your presentation is accepted, you will be notified on or before Wednesday, July 3, 2013 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. 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 participating in a presentation and/or attending the conference must register and pay. We strive to keep the conference registration fees low for all attendees. Finally, you should prepare your presentation including visual aids and a well-developed exploration of the topic. Throughout the process, you will be encouraged to learn from the guidance provided by, and to use the checklists and preparation assistance available from, AEA's Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i). Please take a moment to check out the p2i site now. 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.

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 multi-paper session (for a maximum of four). When calculating the count, the following will be excluded for those sessions for which the criteria apply:

  1. Pre- and post-conference professional development workshop presenters,
  2. AEA Journal Editors when participating in sessions such as 'meet the editors,'
  3. The AEA President when giving a Presidential address or otherwise presiding,
  4. AEA leaders when reporting on or conducting AEA business,
  5. 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. 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.

IMPORTANT: 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 and work expeditiously to remove the additional presentations from his or her list. Proposals that include presenters who are over their presentation limits may not be sent on for review. Replacements, changes, and substitutions may be made as time permits, but each will be assessed an administrative change fee of $20.


Presentation Types and Counts

Session Type Counts as
Primary Presenter
Counts as
Birds of a Feather Sessions None None All persons
Listed on proposal
Demonstration All persons
Listed on proposal
Expert Lecture Lecturer Discussant Chair
Ignite Presentations FIRST presenter listed is assumed to be the primary presenter None Other presenters
Multipaper All Presenters - FIRST person listed for each component presentation is assumed to be a presenter Discussant Chair,
Other authors on
each paper
Panel All Presenters - FIRST person listed for each component presentation is assumed to be a presenter Discussant Chair,
Other authors on
each presentation
Paper First author - FIRST presenter listed is assumed to be the first author/primary presenter None Other authors
Poster First author - FIRST presenter listed is assumed to be the first author/primary presenter None Other authors
Pre/Post-conference Workshops None None All persons
Listed on proposal
Roundtable First author - FIRST presenter listed is assumed to be the first author/primary presenter None Other authors
Skill-Building Workshop All persons
Listed on proposal
None None
Think Tank Session Facilitators Breakout group leaders None

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 If you are unsure as to which TIG to select, we 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 working group. This team serves as a catch-all for homeless proposals. However, we strongly prefer that proposals go to a TIG for review whenever possible.

May a Chair serving on a Panel or Multi-Paper Session also be a Presenter? Yes, a person may serve as both the Chair as well as a Presenter as part of a Panel or Multi-Paper session.

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. (see also next question)

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.

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

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 LCD projector (also known as a datashow or PowerPoint projector), a computer, and a screen. You may rent other Audio-Visual aids (see information below).

May I order other Audio-Visual devices beyond what is provided? You may order additional Audio-Visual devices by sending your request to the AEA office at,  but please note that all additional AV charges will be borne by the presenter.

May I access the Internet for my presentation? No. It is unlikely that you will be able to access the Internet during your presentation. The cost, that would be born by the presenter, is extremely high and Internet access in the presentation rooms is not reliable. You should download any presentation content so that you need not connect during your presentation. If your presentation may only be made if an internet connection is available, please contact the AEA office prior to submitting your proposal so that we may discuss your connectivity needs. All costs related to securing a dependable internet connection in the conference room would be at your expense and such connectivity may not be financially or logistically feasible.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Conference Registration

Who should attend the conference? Evaluation 2013 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 2013.

How much does it cost to attend the conference? The registration fees for Evaluation 2013 have not yet been set. However, the registration fees for Evaluation 2012 are reflected in the table below. Please note that annual E-membership in AEA is $85 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 luncheon, and the professional development workshops that precede and follow the conference.

Registration rates and cutoff dates below are for 2012. Dates will be set for 2013 once registration opens in July.

  • Early Registration: Paid in full on or before Thursday, September 20, 2012
  • Standard Registration: Paid in full on or before Thursday, October 11, 2012
  • Late/On Site Registration: Paid in full after October 11, 2012 or on site at the Conference
  Members Non-members Full-time Students
  Early Standard On Site Early Standard On Site Early Standard On Site
< Sep 20 < Oct 11 >= Oct 12 < Sep 20 < Oct 11 >= Oct 12 < Sep 20 < Oct 11 >= Oct 12
Conference Registration $185 $225 $275 $265 $305 $355 $95 $105 $115
Two Day Workshop $300 $320 $360 $400 $440 $480 $160 $180 $200
One Day Workshop $150 $160 $180 $200 $220 $240 $80 $90 $100
Half Day Workshop $75 $80 $90 $100 $110 $120 $40 $45 $50

When may I register for the conference? Registration will open on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

Where should I turn with questions? A good place to start is with the AEA office. Our staff there can answer conference-related, administrative, member services, or policy questions and will point you in the right direction for other resources. Give us a call at 1-508-748-3326, or send email to

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Frequently Asked Questions: The Conference Program

How many sessions are offered at Evaluation 2013? We will have over 600 sessions offered at Evaluation 2013. The searchable program will go online approximately July 3.

How is it decided what sessions are in which timeslots? The conference program is scheduled based on guidelines established by the AEA Board of Directors. The overall goal is to spread outstanding content across all timeslots and this is achieved primarily by spreading out the offerings from each Topical Interest Group. The full conference scheduling guidelines may be found online.

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Frequently Asked Questions: What to Expect at the Conference

Do I need to pre-register for individual sessions? The conference is divided into pre-and post-conference workshops - these take place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday before 3, and Sunday morning – and the conference itself that takes place from Wednesday after 3 through until Saturday at about 5:30. The pre- and post-conference workshops require a separate registration fee and you need to pre-register for specific workshops as attendance is capped on most of the workshops. The workshops may be registered for using the same registration forms as for the conference itself. For the 600+ sessions you will find on the main conference program you do not need to pre-register with the exception of Friday’s luncheon which requires a separately purchased ticket. The program goes online approximately July 3.

What does my conference registration fee cover? You may attend any of the sessions that take place between Wednesday at 3 and Saturday at 5:30, with the exception of the Friday luncheon that requires a separate ticket. There are over 600 sessions from which to choose. It also covers the poster exhibition and reception that takes place on Wednesday evening and the international silent auction and reception that takes place on Friday evening. Both receptions have light appetizers and a cash bar. Finally, you are welcome to attend any of the TIG business meetings that occur during the program and we invite you to stroll the exhibit floor outside the ballrooms as part of your registration. You’ll receive a conference program on site, a nametag and a nametag holder and simple conference tote unless you have declined these during registration. Coffee and tea are available without charge each morning after the opening plenary or session and beverages are available in the afternoon before the penultimate session. In order to keep our registration fee as low as possible, we do not include meals or snacks other than what is available at the receptions.

Am I welcome at the AEA and TIG Business Meetings? Yes! AEA’s Topical Interest Groups (TIGs) welcome anyone with an interest in their topical area to attend their business meeting. It is a great way to connect with others with similar interests and you need not be a member of the TIG. The AEA Business Meeting is open to anyone in attendance at the conference and provides an update about the association’s work over the past year and plans for the coming one. We hope to see you at the AEA Business Meeting and that you’ll attend at least one of the TIG Business Meetings.

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