Guidelines for Presentations and Discussions


The format will follow that of a professional academic conference. Please read the below guidelines carefully.

Each participant will

  • present a paper
  • discuss a paper of another participant*
  • participate actively in open floor discussions

*The paper to discuss will be (or has been) assigned to you by the Carroll Round Committee. Please check the schedule on the Carroll Round website. You have to obtain the paper from the presenter prior to the conference to prepare your discussion.

Timeline for each paper: 40 minutes total

20 to 25 minutes for presentation
5 to 10 minutes for discussion by assigned discussant, and response by presenter
5 to 15 minutes for open floor discussion (Q&A)

Presentation: 20 to 25 minutes

  • It is extremely important for the presenter to follow the time guideline. Beginner presenters almost always make the mistake of taking too much time. Plan your presentation to be 25 minutes or less. Practice your presentation while timing yourself. If you go over time, the chair of the session will cut you off regardless where you are.
  • Because of the time limitation, a conference presenter typically begins with the introduction, providing the motivation/significance and the research question, and then immediately after states the results. This gives the audience what to look for. After you have stated the results, you may then fill the in-between of question and results. You will not be able to present everything in your paper. Focus on the important highlights.
  • Let the last part of the planned presentation be topics such as applications of the main results or future research agenda that can be cut out if you were to run out of time.
  • Seek advice from your thesis advisor on how best to present your paper in 25 minutes or less.
  • Provide some form of visual aid: PowerPoint presentation, overhead projection, and/or handouts. For PowerPoint, you may not always be able to connect your laptop directly: prepare a disk with your presentation on it as a backup (ideally for different versions of PowerPoint) as well as a hard copy of your presentation in case of "technology failure."

Discussion by Assigned Discussant: 5 to 10 minutes

The discussant is responsible for generating discussion about the paper. A discussion typically contains the following.

  1. Overview: Summarize of the main points of the paper. Highlight what is the paper's contribution to the literature.
  2. Extensions: Suggest possible extensions of the author's work. What else could the author have done? What are further areas of research that the author could investigate?
  3. Questions: Pose a couple of questions worthy of discussion.
  4. The presenter then responds to the issues and questions the discussant raised. The presenter typically takes notes during the discussion so that the response is focused


  • The discussant may communicate with the presenter while preparing the discussion.
  • Make sure the discussant does not take more than 5 minutes, leaving time for the presenter to respond.
  • A discussant may choose to use visual aids.
  • The discussant, in recognition of the shortage of time, may choose to convey part of the discussion to the presenter after the session (say, over dinner).
  • Seek advice from your thesis advisor on how best to discuss a paper.

Open Floor Discussion (Q & A): 5 to 15 minutes

The floor audience and the session chair pose questions and make comments to the presenter. The chair facilitates the discussion among all people in the room.