Chairs, Discussants, Paper Presenters, Presentation Equipment

Responsibilities for Chairs, Discussants and Paper Presenters follow the guidelines of the Canadian Political Science Association.


The chair is responsible for monitoring the entire session. The success of a session depends upon the chair’s ability to restrict the length of speakers’ presentations and manage questions from the floor. Some of the most important responsibilities of the chair are to:

  • Inquire, on behalf of discussants and other paper-givers, about the status and expected completion date of late papers.
  • Acquaint his/herself with the content of the papers.
  • Arrive early at the session and arrange with all participants the order of speaking and the time limits; normally 15 minutes for paper presentations and 10 minutes for discussants is appropriate.
  • Start the session at the scheduled time with a brief presentation of the theme of the session and (if possible) the links among the papers.
  • Introduce the participants (names and institutional affiliations).
  • Maintain strict time limits for each speaker and discussant.
  • Moderate panel or floor discussions.
  • Adjourn the session in time to allow the room to clear before the next session begins.


Discussants are to prepare, in advance, appropriate critical commentaries of the significance and contributions of the papers presented in a session. Some of the most important responsibilities of the chair are to:

  • Arrive early at the session to take part in informal discussions about the order of speaking and time limits (ordinarily 10 minutes is set aside for discussants).
  • Situate her/his remarks in a context broad enough to spark questions and stir the interest of an audience that typically has not read the paper. The following are suggested guidelines for discussants’ remarks:
  1. Given that the audience may not have read the paper it is helpful to begin by stating the major thrust of the paper, identifying its stronger or more interesting features
  2. Focus the discussion on the paper’s major argument;
  3. Indicate whether you find the argument a compelling one;
  4. State the basic merits and limits of the paper;
  5. Conclude by stating linkages between papers.

Paper Presenters

The responsibilities of presenters are to:

  • Provide copies of their papers to all of the other participants in their session. E-mail addresses will be available in the programme. Please send your paper to panel participants (Chair, Discussant, fellow paper presenters) by September 16.
  • A .pdf format copy of the paper must be sent to each of the following: session chair; discussant(s); any other session participants;
  • Arrive early at the session to take part in informal discussions about the order of speaking and time limits (ordinarily 15 minutes are set aside for each presenter).
  • Prepare comments outlining the major points of their papers. A good presentation is a must for a successful session.

The following are guidelines for preparing an oral summary of a paper (usually 15 minutes):

  1. No paper should ever be read verbatim. Such presentations are not only dull but also incomplete due to time constraints imposed by the chair; an author may be cut off by the chair before reaching the most significant aspects of the presentation.
  2. Highlights of the paper should be given, covering such points as the purpose of the study, the method of analysis, the major findings, and any conclusions or recommendations. The amount of time devoted to each highlight may vary depending upon the author’s evaluation of the importance of each area related to the paper. Inexperienced speakers are advised to prepare a “reading text” of approximately 5 typed pages.

Presentation Equipment & Technology

Presenters who intend to use PowerPoint or other presentation software should have their presentation file on a jump (thumb) drive. Should you wish to receive assistance with uploading your presentation on a computer in a room in which you are scheduled to present, please email us your presentation file by September 28, 2022, at appsa2022 at