114th Annual Conference Participant Guidelines-In Person

General Information

These guidelines are for presenters, chairs, and discussants. You can find all of the sessions in which you are participating by looking up your name here. Full information about the conference can be found at the conference webpage, where you can register, book a hotel room, or look at the detailed program (and find lots of additional helpful information).

In order to ensure there is sufficient time for audience feedback and discussion, presentations should last no longer than 13 minutes in sessions with four presenters, and discussants should have 10 minutes each (assuming two discussants). In sessions with three presentations, each paper should take at most 19 minutes and the discussant(s) will have 15 total minutes across the three papers. Below are examples of well-timed sessions; these sample sessions run from 10:15 – 11:45 am and assume perfect transition from one presenter to the next! Of course we expect there will be some slippage of time between presentations but want to include at least 10 to 15 minutes of audience discussion.

Example Session Formats

4-Paper Session

  • 10:15- Chair introduces the session topic
  • 10:15 – 10:28 – First paper presentation
  • 10:28 – 10:41 – Second paper presentation
  • 10:41 – 10:51 – Discussant comments on papers 1 and 2
  • 10:51 – 11:04 – Third paper presentation
  • 11:04 – 11:17 – Fourth paper presentation
  • 11:17 – 11:27 – Discussant comments on papers 3 and 4
  • 11:27 – 11:45 – Audience Discussion

3-Paper Session

  • 10:15- Chair introduces the session topic
  • 10:15 – 10:34 – First paper presentation
  • 10:34 – 10:53 – Second paper presentation
  • 10:53 – 11:03 – Discussant comments on papers 1 and 2
  • 11:03 – 11:22 – Third paper presentation
  • 11:22 – 11:27 – Discussant comments on paper 3
  • 11:27 – 11:45 – Audience Discussion

Paper presentations will proceed in the order shown on the detailed program. Session chairs should let the NTA Office know by email (nta@ntanet.org) if they want to change the order so that the program can be updated.

The NTA will provide computers, projectors, and screens in all meeting rooms. Slides in PDF or PowerPoint formats will minimize technical and software problems during the sessions. Please bring your slides on a USB flash drive.

Discussants and chairs should receive papers no later than two weeks prior to the conference. This will allow for adequate time for participants to read the session papers and come up with constructive comments. Paper presenters can upload their papers to the conference program and/or send papers to their discussants via email (or do both!).

Please note that you can upload papers and slides at any time. Visit your submission’s “Full Paper” step using the link in the email confirming your paper’s acceptance and follow the prompts to delete or replace old files and/or upload new ones. Presentation slides can be uploaded by accessing your submission’s new “Presentation Files” step and following the prompts there. Uploading papers and/or presentation slides is optional, and uploading them to the conference website does not mean they will be loaded onto the laptop used in your presentation.

If you have any questions, please contact April Davis, nta@ntanet.org.

Dates to Remember

  • October 1 – All changes to submissions, including authors, titles, and abstracts must be complete
  • October 8 – Deadline for early registration
  • October 15 – All papers should be uploaded (optional) or sent to chairs/discussants via email
  • November 5 – Last day to register for the conference (on-site registration is available at a higher price)
  • November 12 – Paper and presentation files available to public on online program & mobile app
  • November 18 – 20 – 114th Annual Conference on Taxation in Detroit

Guidelines for Presenters

You can find information on the participants in each session from the online program. Please reach out to your chair and discussant and let them know when you upload your paper. If you cannot upload or distribute your paper within two weeks of the conference, please contact the chair and your discussant and let them know when they should expect your paper. Sending papers to discussants at the last minute puts them in a very difficult position and degrades the quality of the session. It is preferable to upload your paper to the conference website. However, if your paper is not ready to be posted publicly, you can share it with the discussant and chair (and preferably the other session participants) privately.

Presenters are free to structure their own presentations within the time allotted. Because time is short, we have several recommendations that will help make for a more engaging and effective presentation:

  • Begin with a short motivation of the topic and a clear presentation of the central question addressed.
  • In such a short time, one cannot hope to do a full literature review. Instead, provide the main contribution(s) of the research that highlights to the audience what the innovation is.
  • Details of the data and estimation strategy (for empirical papers) or the theoretical model (for theoretical papers) can be distracting and time-consuming in a short talk. It is more effective to provide an overview of the approach taken with an emphasis on the main assumptions.
  • Be selective in the results you present. An effective short talk emphasizes one or two core results that the audience should come away with. Those who are interested can read the paper for more details.
  • Tables and figures should be legible from 30 feet away. Do not simply cut and paste tables/figures from the paper in a way that makes them hard to read for the audience. Results the audience can actually see and absorb in a short timeframe will have the maximum impact.
  • Cramming a lot of information into a small number of slides is distracting. The goal is to convey the main points to the audience so that they know what you did, how you did it and what you found.
  • Speaking is a more effective way to get an explanation across than reading.

There will be 15 minutes between sessions that should be used for setting up. All presenters and discussants should load their slides on the computer prior to the start of the session to minimize dead time across presentations. To avoid software problems, use PowerPoint or PDF format for your slides.

Guidelines for Chairs

The principal challenge for a chair is to enforce time allotments. A presenter that runs over her/his allotted time is using time that belongs to another presenter or to the audience. The Program Committee asks that chairs try to do the following:

  • Coordinate with the discussants about who will discuss each paper. You can reorder the papers in the session if it works better for the discussants or for the overall flow of the session. Please let us know if you plan to reorder the session so we can update the program.
  • Send an email to all session participants (presenters and discussants) no less than two weeks prior to the session to encourage timely distribution of the session papers and to ensure presenters and discussants know who will discuss each paper. In this email, it is helpful to go over time allotments for presenters and discussants.
  • Read the papers in the session before the conference in order to facilitate and/or stimulate a discussion at the end of the session. Most sessions will naturally have a lively discussion, but be prepared to initiate the question period if the audience is not engaged.
  • Monitor the clock! Give presenters 5, 2, and 1 minute warnings. Have a sign that says “stop” and do your best to enforce time limits.
  • Do not ask presenters to respond to the discussant(s) comments. Instead, move quickly to an open discussion that involves the audience.
  • Try to ensure that questions and statements from the audience are short and to the point and that people behave in a professional, respectful, and inclusive manner.

Guidelines for Discussants

It is the job of the session chair to be in contact with you to decide on how to split up discussant assignments across papers. If the presenter(s) have not uploaded their paper(s) or sent them to you privately by the paper submission deadline, please let the session chair know. Presenters should not be sending you papers at the last minute. Below are several recommendations for effective discussant comments:

  • When discussing multiple papers, it can be helpful to make integrated comments about the papers as a whole.
  • A key role of the discussant is to help provide additional context for the importance of the paper and its contribution.
  • Discussant remarks about each paper should deal with the major issues that enhance or undermine the paper’s contributions, reserving minor issues for direct communication with the authors.
  • While discussant comments often are critical, please try to be professional and constructive. The best discussant comments are those that make the paper better.
  • Discussants are encouraged to help shape the audience participation in the session by identifying key points worthy of further analysis and discussion.

Graduate Student Poster Session Guidelines

The Graduate Student Research Forum takes place on Friday, November 19 and runs from 5:15 to 6:30 pm. To maximize interaction with conference participants, we have scheduled the poster session to be at the same time and place as our Friday evening reception.

Poster Set up Posters should be hung by 10:00 am Friday, November 19 and should be left up through the end of the Graduate Student Research Forum at 6:30 pm. Please remove your poster after the Forum. Any posters left up after 7:00 pm will be discarded.

NTA will provide display boards for your poster. We will also provide thumbtacks for you to mount your poster to the display board. Please do not use tape, staples or any other type of adhesive to hang your poster. Each display board has two sides and there will be one poster per side. Each side will be marked with a number. We will email all poster presenters their assigned numbers as we get closer to the conference. Please mount your poster in your assigned space. NTA staff will be available to help if you have any problems.

Poster Size The display board for the posters are 8’ wide and 4’ tall. Your poster should be no more than 8’x 4’ in size. You are welcome to bring smaller posters. Posters should be prepared as a single poster rather than multiple posters pieced together. We suggest using the landscape configuration. Posters printed on foam core are much harder to hang. Please consider this when choosing the materials and format for your poster.

Poster Appearance and Presentation

  • Keep text brief. Too much detail detracts from the primary message of the text.
  • Keep figures simple. Convey only one idea per figure, table, or photograph. Figures from publications, theses, or dissertations normally do not make good visuals. Charts and graphs should clearly show what you want the audience to see.
  • Text and figures should be readable to someone standing at a distance of six feet.
  • Use appropriate blank space between words, sections, and figures.
  • Use appropriate and compatible colors for fonts, backgrounds, graphics, and matting. White backgrounds generally are best for text.
  • Simple typefaces are preferable to fancy fonts. Bold type may be effective on headings.
  • Poster presenters are encouraged to have a 3-5 minute talk prepared about their work that they can share with attendees.