Q: Do I have to be a member to submit my work?
A: You do not have to pay anything to submit your work. However, all persons participating in the conference program (presenting their work, etc.) will have to pay appropriate fees. PSA currently has only one fee that combines the benefits of membership and registration. The earlier you pay your fee, the more communications you will receive from PSA to help you prepare for the conference, including opportunities for funding support from PSA and other important information. This single fee applies whether you will be participating virtually or in person.
Q: Do I have to register for the conference to present?
A: Yes, all persons who are presenters need to pay appropriate fees (see above). It is especially important for you to pay fees in advance if you will be participating virtually, so that your access to the virtual conference components will be assured. Persons who attend the conference in person will also have access to virtual components; however, PSA will not be able to provide livestreamed or recorded access to all in person sessions and events to virtual participants.
Q: The submission system requires me to choose either an in person or virtual mode of presenting. Can I change my choice later?
A: PSA will do its best to be flexible, as we all go through the changes that COVID-19 continues to create in our individual and collective lives. However, we will have to set a date after which no more changes can be made. We may have to expand scheduling for virtual sessions beyond the dates scheduled for the in person conference.
Q: What happens to my submission(s) once they go into the online submission portal?
A: After the end of the submission period, the PSA Program Committee member acting as the Organizer for sessions in the topical area(s) to which you submitted your work will review your submission and place it within a session with other papers. If you submitted a complete session proposal, the Program Committee Chair will review your submission. Once your paper/session has been accepted, you will receive an email notice of this acceptance. Later, you will receive an email with the preliminary schedule of all sessions; it is important that you check where/when you are scheduled, and communicate with PSA right away if there are any problems.
Q: My paper/session proposal does not fit with this year’s meeting theme. Is that a problem?
A: No! Although of course submissions that do relate to the meeting theme (set each year by the President) are welcome, the PSA conference always offers a wide array of sessions on any and all sorts of sociological topics. You can see this reflected in the list of topical areas from which you will have to choose when you make your submission. Don’t worry if none of the topical areas seems perfect for your paper; just submit to the closest area, and if needed PSA Organizers will work to find the best place for it within the overall program.
Q: Is there a limit on a person’s participation as a presenter?
A: No, PSA does not have a per-person participation limit. You can present multiple papers and/or be part of multiple panels, etc. HOWEVER, it is important that you do not over-stretch yourself. Please submit only papers that you fully plan to be ready to present! Also, DO NOT submit the same paper (or almost the same paper) more than once.
Q: What are the rules around co-authors?
A: Papers with co-authors are welcome; at the time of submission, you will be asked to identify who will present the paper. Papers should only be presented by authors. Co-authors may present together, or one author may do the presenting; all co-authors who will present must pay their appropriate fees. An undergraduate student who is a co-author on a paper with graduate student/faculty/applied sociologists can be listed as a co-author at the time of submission, and can be a co-presenter; these papers must be submitted to the graduate student/faculty/applied sociologist side of the submission system, by a graduate student/faculty/applied sociologist author. Any papers where all co-authors are undergraduates should be submitted to be presented at one of the undergraduate sessions (roundtable or poster), via the undergraduate student side of the submission system.
Q: What do Organizers, Presiders, and Discussants do?
A: The Organizer is the person who puts together the session. Most Organizers are members of the Program Committee who organize papers for a particular topical area; the person who gathers participants for and submits a proposal for a complete session shows as the Organizer for that session. Organizers will not necessarily be present at the time the session occurs; many Organizers, especially those for topical areas that receive high numbers of submissions, have very busy conference schedules, and cannot make it to all the sessions they organize.
The Presider is an important role at PSA. They are primarily responsible for helping the session run smoothly, like by giving presentation time limits to all presenters and communicating for any technical assistance needed during the session. They may, if presenters agree, introduce presenters and facilitate the question and answer/discussion time at the end of the session. All sessions (except for Undergraduate Roundtables and Poster Sessions) need a Presider. This is often a role filled by one of the presenters within the session; you can indicate your willingness to be a Presider, both for sessions where you are presenting and for other sessions, when you submit your paper(s). For virtual sessions, the preference is to have faculty/applied sociologists fill the Presider role; for in person sessions, this is often a great role for a graduate student to fill and learn more about the way sociology conferences work (and use for CV building).
Discussants are present in only some PSA sessions, where their job is to, well, discuss—to give feedback, pose questions, and participate in other discussion. In Undergraduate Roundtable sessions, the Discussant is a faculty or advanced graduate student familiar with sociological work in the topical area of the roundtable. Their role is to provide constructive feedback to individual student authors about their work as well as to guide discussion between and among student authors at the table.
Q: The submission requires only an abstract. Will I have to submit my complete paper/presentation later?
A: Undergraduate students who will be presenting at a Roundtable will need to submit their complete papers to their table Discussant, usually a few weeks before the conference. For paper sessions with graduate student/faculty/applied sociologist presenters, complete papers will usually not be required.
Q: What do I do if I need to change something in my submission, or if I will not be able to present?
A: Until the submission system closes, you will be able to edit your own submissions. After it closes, email firstname.lastname@example.org with clear information about changes you need made. Likewise, email If you need to cancel your participation—and please email as soon as you are sure you cannot make it, so that the negative impact of your cancellation on the other participants in your session(s) can be lessened. And please, please do not be a ‘no show’, as this really negatively impacts other presenters and disappoints the audience members.