Identifying and Choosing Research Conferences to Attend

Identifying and Choosing Research Conferences to Attend

Choosing an academic or practitioner research conference to attend can be overwhelming if you have never attended one. A great place to start is by asking yourself the necessary questions to ensure the conference is relevant, legitimate, and a good use of time and money.

For some advice on selecting a research conference to attend, read on.

Do Your Research

Start the identification process by asking active researchers and practitioners in your field which local, regional, national, and international conferences they attend and why. This will provide necessary insight into the vast array of conferences within your area of study worth your consideration, and help you identify which conferences that will best support you and your research agenda. You may also identify professional and academic associations worth joining.

Identify Your Goals

What you hope to get out of the experience of attending may range from networking and staying abreast of current research in your area to presenting your own research to a targeted audience. Networking is an important aspect of conference attendance as this can help advance your research agenda and build your professional and academic network locally, regionally, and nationally. Further, it is a good idea to attend conferences that attract the kind of people you need to network with. For example, if you are presenting your research, select a conference with an audience from which you might receive high-quality feedback and engage with senior researchers who share your research interests.

If you are planning to submit your research to a conference, it is important to approach things pragmatically, well in advance. High quality conferences, whether regional, national, or international often require you to submit your work 6-11 months in advance for a peer review process. Select a conference that fits well with your areas of research and your research timeline. Some conferences will require you to submit a full draft of your paper. Others will require you to submit an abstract or summary of the research you intend to have completed prior to the conference dates. Be sure you have a completed or nearly completed project – or a feasible new project underway – prior to submitting materials for conference consideration.

Curious about attending industry-specific conferences, too? Check back as this article series continues over the next few weeks.

Set a Budget

Be sure to assess affordability of conference attendance as you identify possible conferences. Investigate costs of conference registration, hotels near the conference location, and transportation costs to and within the conference city prior to submitting your work to conference organizers for review. If you are presenting at a conference, check for grants and awards for conference attendance, which may help defray part of the cost of your conference registration, hotel stay, and travel.

Additionally, check with your school or research institution for financial awards for those attending or presenting at major conferences. For more about the SAS Research Award, click here.

Confirm the Conference is Legitimate

Finally, whether you are planning to attend a conference to hear about the latest research in your field, connect and network with other researchers, or present research, it is important to choose conferences that not only suit your interests but also ones that are not considered predatory. Predatory conferences are ones that are not organized by scholarly or professional societies. Scholarly and professional associations are generally non-profit organizations who represent the academic and professional interests of members. Predatory conferences are typically run by companies who capitalize on researchers’ who need to build their curriculum vitas (C.V.). These conferences are not highly regarded and will not boost your credibility as researcher.

View our tip sheet for Identifying Quality Conferences

See also: Identifying the Right Places to Publish Your Scholarly Work

Additional Resources


Juana M. Lang's picture Juana M. Lang | November 18, 2022 10:24 am MST

Does the university disseminate information about quality conferences? If so, where?

Thank you!

Dr. Lang

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