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One of the great things about attending conferences is getting to learn about the latest and most cutting-edge research before its published in journals or books. You can hear authors presenting their newest work, sometimes even before their experiments or data collection are complete. This information is very interesting to have, however, it is also more speculative than published work as it has not been peer-reviewed or edited. For this reason, it's important to be clear when you cite a conference paper, so that your audience can see that the work has not been peer-reviewed.

One of the great things about attending conferences is getting to learn about the latest and most cutting-edge research before its published in journals or books. You can hear authors presenting their newest work, sometimes even before their experiments or data collection are complete. This information is very interesting to have, however, it is also more speculative than published work as it has not been peer-reviewed or edited. For this reason, it's important to be clear when you cite a conference paper, so that your audience can see that the work has not been peer-reviewed. To help with this, here's a guide on citing conference papers.

When you write a conference paper

This one is easy – when you're writing a conference paper to present, then you should use the same referencing style that you would use for a publication in your field. Include author names and dates in parentheses in the text, then put a bibliography at the end in which you list full references for each of your citations.

When you want to cite something you saw at a conference

If you've seen a great poster or presentation at a conference and you want to cite it in your own work, then you may need to check up on the reference format in a style guide, as this will vary between fields.

For example, here is the section of the APA style guide on how to cite material which you have seen at a conference.

For papers or posters:

Adams-Labonte, S. K. (2012, August). Daytime impairment due to college students’ technology use during sleep: Similarities to sleep apnea. Poster session presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.

Nguyen, C. A. (2012, August). Humor and deception in advertising: When laughter may not be the best medicine. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.

For symposia:

Krinsky-McHale, S. J., Zigman, W. B., & Silverman, W. (2012, August). Are neuropsychiatric symptoms markers of prodromal Alzheimer’s disease in adults with Down syndrome? In W. B. Zigman (Chair), Predictors of mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and mortality in adults with Down syndrome. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Orlando, FL.

For published proceedings from conferences:

Parsons, O. A., Pryzwansky, W. B., Weinstein, D. J., & Wiens, A. N. (1995). Taxonomy for psychology. In J. N. Reich, H. Sands, & A. N. Wiens (Eds.), Education and training beyond the doctoral degree: Proceedings of the American Psychological Association National Conference on Postdoctoral Education and Training in Psychology (pp. 45–50). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

For blog posts published before, during, or after the conference:

Mills, K. I. (2012, July 25). Why do people hurt themselves? [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://apaconvention.com/2012/07/20/why-do-people-hurt-themselves

And here are some other examples of citations you would use for conferences papers which you have read online:

For conference papers you find online, with DOI available:

Author of  Paper, A., & Author of Paper, B. (Year, Month date). Title of paper. Paper presented at Title of Conference: Subtitle of Conference, Location. doi:10.XXX/XXXXX.XX

For conference papers you find online, with no DOI available:

Author of  Paper, A., & Author of Paper, B. (Year, Month date). Title of paper. Paper presented at Title of Conference: Subtitle of Conference, Location. Place of publication: Publisher.

If you don't use the APA style, you may still need to cite a conference paper using a different style. Here are examples of some other citation styles for the referencing of published conference papers:

Harvard style:

In text: (Author, 2017)

            In bibliography: Author, A. (2017). Paper title. In Conference name. City of Publisher: Publisher, pp.1-3.

MLA style:

In text: (Author, A.)

In bibliography: Author, A. "Paper Title". Publisher, Conference Name, 2017, p. 1-3.

Chicago style:

In text: (Author, 2017)

            In bibliography: Author, A. 2017. "Paper Title". In Conference Name, 1-3. City of Publisher: Publisher.

If you're looking for more advice on attending conferences, or you want to see a list of upcoming conferences in your subject and area, then head over to our website at CONFERENCEMONKEY.ORG where you can find all of this information and more.


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