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Conference Abstracts


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Hey all, 


Thought I'd post this here because I think the answer to my question varies considerably discipline to discipline. 


So I have a paper that I think ain't bad. I've submitted an abstract to the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Conference. I was thinking of maybe submitting something (whether this same paper or another) to the Association for the Sociology of Religion and even the American Academy of Religion (which I understand is less invested in social science).


What have people found in their experience submitting identical abstracts to multiple conferences and the potential pitfalls? Am I better off simply submitting my paper(s) to one conference at a time? Thanks for any help! 

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I frequently do this to get more bang for my buck out of each paper. I find it especially helpful when submitting to a large conference such as ASA and then to a smaller specialty conference like SSSR. SSSR is a great conference by the way, I went to one a few years back as a co-author and was extremely impressed with the feedback I received.

 I can't think of any potential pitfalls, but maybe other students have a different insight.

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Submitting papers to multiple journals is a definite no-no (after all, it can only end up in one), but paper presentations don't have the same kind of indivisibility that publications do.  I've presented similar work at multiple conferences, but just a few months apart. 


To look at two of the field's rising stars (that is, important enough to be known, young enough to still put presentations on their CVs).  Matt Desmond's CV lists:

López Turley, Ruth, and Matthew Desmond, “Contributions to College Costs by Married and Divorced Parents,” Institute for Research on Poverty Seminar, Madison: December 8, 2005.
López Turley, Ruth, and Matthew Desmond, “Contributions to College Costs by Married and Divorced Parents,” American Socio
logical Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia: August 13 - 16, 2005.
Alice Goffman's whole presentations section of her CV is organized around having given the same talk multiple times in multiple places.  Usually though, like Matt Desmond's, they're a couple of months apart because presumably she worked on the papers in between.  If they're the same time of the year, it might seem like a waste to present the same paper twice without revisions, but if you can work on it (or there's at least enough of a gap on your CV so it looks like you could have worked on it), it seems pretty normal.  If they do end up being a month or two apart, it's probably still fine.
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The key here is to consider the audience. If the audience will be the same, you shouldn't present the same paper. I'd assume, too, that the ASR and SSSR audiences would be really similar (although not total overlap). The examples that Jacib provided demonstrate this well. The seminar RLT and Desmond presented at is an interdisciplinary group of people at Wisconsin, whereas the ASA has sociologists from all over. Goffman's papers were often presentations in departments. If there was a paper that was at two conferences, they were quite different venues or audiences.

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Yea, the key is definitely different audiences. I presented two very similar papers based on my MA research about a month apart and I did so for a few reasons. First, the research was done and the thesis was submitted before the talks so I knew I had something solid to talk about. Second, the audiences were totally different since one was a smaller, focused conference and the other was a huge national conference. The conferences were oriented towards different fields, so they attracted different people. It was cool because I got slightly different feedback, which can be helpful if you're going to turn that paper into a manuscript since it gives you an idea of what a reviewer coming at it from a different background might say in his/her critique.

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