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Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Guidance for Panel Chairs and Discussants

This guide is designed to provide a thorough overview of the Chair and Discussant roles and to help you prepare for your conference participation.

The allocated time slot for each Panel at the General Conference is 1 hour 45 minutes. Effective time management, therefore, is crucial for both the Chair and the Discussant.

If you have any further queries, please get in touch with our Events Team.

Panel Chairs

The role of the Chair is to facilitate an engaging discussion between the audience and the Paper Presenters.

On the day, Panel Chairs will be expected to help facilitate the following:

Basic guidelines
  • Keep introductions brief.
  • Ensure that the Papers are presented in the order of the programme unless Paper Presenters request otherwise.
  • Always conclude the session by inviting the audience to thank the Presenters.

Please establish contact with the Paper Presenters and Discussants ahead of the Panel. You can retrieve the contact details via My Events in My ECPR. Click Full Details to navigate to the main page. From there, click Export Participant Details to download an Excel spreadsheet containing contact information.

  • It is the responsibility of the Chair to start and conclude the session on time. Make use of time warnings and forewarn Presenters, signposting when they have 5 minutes remaining, 1 minute remaining, and when it's time to stop.
  • Move the discussion forward when the Presenter has reached their time limit.
  • Allocate sufficient time to each Presenter but keep them to schedule.
  • Be prepared to make timing adjustments at short notice, in case a Presenter is unable to attend.
  • Where there are Panel Discussants, Chairs should consider allocating less time for Presenters. They should also consider whether Presenters should have the brief right to reply immediately, or whether this should wait until the Panel is open to the audience.
Audience questions
  • Allow the final third of the session for questions and divide the remaining time evenly between the number of panellists. As a Chair, you must ensure that you allow at least 30 minutes for audience discussion and questions.
  • Have several questions prepared, in case the audience takes time to warm up. And likewise, if there are many questions, avoid asking any yourself.
  • Ensure that the questions are distributed across the Presenters. If a Presenter has not been asked a question, step in and include one yourself.
  • To ensure the Panel does not overrun, if there are remaining questions, encourage the audience to catch up with the Presenters after the Panel session, or use #ecprgc23 to continue the discussion online.

Panel Discussants

The role of the Discussants is to understand each Paper on the Panel in detail – assessing its strengths and weaknesses and conveying its key messages to the audience, and to stimulate general discussion.

On the day, Panel Discussants will be expected to help facilitate discussion by:

  • Suggesting constructive ways to improve the Paper.
  • Highlighting the relevance of the Paper to academia and society.
  • Planning questions that focus on broad implications, rather than technicalities of each Paper.
  • Asking questions which link to the Panel theme and connect the Papers together, to aid discussion further.

Ahead of the event

Both Chairs and Discussants should download the Papers on their Panel ahead of the event. This can be done via our event platform.
  • Log in to the event platform using the same email address as the one you have registered for the event with.
  • Select the Papers tab under Programme.
  • By clicking on each Paper individually, you'll find the Download Full Paper button below the Panel information. This will grant you access to the complete Paper as a PDF.

On-the-day streaming and technical support

All Panels will be live-streamed via Zoom to allow for virtual observers to attend.

To facilitate this setup the Panel Chairs and Discussants need to be aware of the following:

  • Your Panel room will be equipped with a PC, webcam and projector.
  • Student volunteers will be stationed in every Panel room and will help you to connect to Zoom and stream your Panel. They will be on hand for the duration of the Panel to provide support.
  • Each room is equipped with only one webcam with a microphone. Therefore, when questions are being raised by the participants, please repeat these in front of the camera so virtual participants can hear clearly.
  • Please remind Paper Presenters to ensure they are fully visible on the webcam during their presentation.