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Student Research Council

For information on the 2020 Student Research Conference, visit the Updates page.


Information About Abstract Submissions

Sample information about Abstract Submission below. This information will be updated as the abstract submission opening date draws near. 


To participate in the WKU Student Research Conference, students must apply by submitting abstracts for their scholarly activities. Each WKU student is permitted to serve as the primary author/presenter on one presentation at the conference. The presentation can be an oral paper, a poster or exhibit or display, a performance, or a video. Off-campus students have the opportunity to participate in the conference through a remote session.

Students who graduate in December are welcome to present their scholarly works at the spring conference as long as the projects were completed when they were students.

An abstract is a miniature version of a scholarly paper, poster, performance, video, or exhibit. It is a one-paragraph summary of the main sections of the work. An abstract typically includes an introduction describing the research question, goal, or intent of the project; the methods, procedure, materials, or approach of the project; the results, findings, or product of the project; and a discussion describing the significance, implications, and conclusions of the project. The emphasis on these basic components will vary by discipline. A well-written abstract should make the reader want to learn more about the project.

Abstractsare limited to 200 words. Students should work with their faculty mentors to draft their abstracts. Additional tips are available from the resource links at the right. Students typically revise their abstracts several times before submitting them for the conference. Students should use special characters sparingly in the abstract.


In addition to the abstract, students are required to submit the following information about their scholarly projects:

Title of the presentation

Type of presentation (oral paper, poster/exhibit/display, performance, video), as described below

Subject area (business, health & human services, humanities, interdisciplinary, natural sciences, social sciences & education) of the presentation

If the presentation is part of an organized symposium or a generalsession, as described below

Special equipment needed (such as music stand or elevated stage)

Contact information (names, emails, phone numbers) for the primary student author-presenter, the faculty mentor, any student co-presenters (up to three additional students who will be physically-present to deliver the presentation), and additional co-authors (up to six additional people who contributed to the project's creation); these roles are described below

Students have four options for presenting their work at the conference. Oral papers involve delivering one's work at a podium in front of an audience with judges. Presenters speak one at a time in a session of about six-eight presentations. Oral papers are delivered in various ways, ranging from reading a manuscript to delivering an extemporaneous talk, in different disciplines. Oral papers often are accompanied by slides, PowerPoint or Prezi presentations, or other visual aids. There will be a podium with a computer and projector in each room. Students will bring their visual aids on flash drives and load them prior to the beginning of the session. (Students should email copies to themselves as a backup.) Students will have 10 minutes to present plus 5 minutes for questions for a total of 15 minutes each.

Posters/exhibits/displays/demonstrations are set-up on long tables in rooms with 25-50 presenters. The audience and judges walk around the tables and chat briefly with the presenters. Students will have 6-8 minutes to explain the information in the poster/exhibit/display or do the demonstration and 2-4 minutes for questions, for a total of 10 minutes with the judges. Printed posters and table-top exhibits/displays may be up to 3 feet high x 4 feet wide in size. We will provide poster boards and easels, but students need to bring pins or clips to attach the posters. Art installations and robotics demonstrations are included in this type of presentation.

Performances are orations, literature readings, and other creative presentations in disciplines such as music, theater, dance, English, and forensics. Students perform one at a time in a session of about six-eight students. Performances that are too large to present in a conference room may be prerecorded and played at the conference. Students will have 10 minutes to perform plus 5 minutes for questions for a total of 15 minutes each.

Videos are graphical presentations such as cinematic works, documentaries, ethnographic films, and broadcast news stories. Students present their videos one at a time in a session of about six-eight presentations. There will be a podium with a computer and projector in each room. Students will bring their videos on flash drives and load them prior to the beginning of the session. (Students should email copies to themselves or load to the cloud as a backup.) Students will have 10 minutes to introduce and present the video plus 5 minutes for questions for a total of 15 minutes each.

An organized symposium is a set of presentations that are linked together by a common theme and intended to be viewed as a cohesive group. The students participating in the symposium are identified in advance and the presentations in the symposium proposal are considered as a group by the conference organizers. For example, geology, geography, GIS, engineering, AMS, and applied physics students who contributed to the Corvette Museum sinkhole collapse response might organize a symposium to present their experiences. The symposium can include a set of posters/exhibits/displays or a set of papers, performances, and/or videos. The symposium must have a title, a sponsoring unit on campus (such as a college, department, program, or student organization), and a faculty or staff member to serve as the chair of the symposium (in some situations, a graduate student may be able to serve as a symposium chair). The symposium chair is responsible for assisting student participants with their submissions and recommending an order for the presentations in the symposium. The symposium chair is welcome to introduce the symposium and the speakers at the conference; otherwise, this duty will fall to the session judges, as usual.

A general session is a set of unrelated presentations that are combined more arbitrarily by the conference organizers. The general sessions are organized according to subject area (business, health and human services, humanities, interdisciplinary, natural sciences, social sciences and education). For example, a natural sciences general session may have two biology students, one geology student, two chemistry students, and one astronomy student. Students whose presentations were not accepted as part of an organized symposium will be considered for a general session.

The primary author-presenter is the person who presents the work at the conference. This student is the person with whom the conference organizers will communicate about acceptance/rejection of the abstract submission and scheduling the presentation at the conference. If other students collaborated on the project and will take part in the conference presentation, they should be listed as co-presenters in the submission.  Up to three additional students may serve as co-presenters on a submission.  If other students collaborated on the project but will not take part in the conference presentation, they should be listed as co-authors in the submission. Faculty/staff may be listed co-authors if they contributed to the project (check with your mentor) but they cannot be co-presenters.  Up to six other people may be listed as co-authors.

Please follow this link to submit an abstract: www.wku.edu/studentresearch/abstract_submit.php

Upon submitting an abstract, the faculty mentor is notified to review and approve the submission. Only those submissions approved by faculty mentors will be considered by the conference scheduling committee.

Students may modify or delete their abstract submissions prior to the  deadline of February 24, 2020. To do so, visit the SRC Administration web page below and log-in with your NetID and password. 


Faculty mentors will be notified to re-review and re-approve submissions each time students make revisions. Due to time constraints in preparing the conference schedule and program, students are not permitted to modify or delete their submissions after the February 24 deadline.

Students are notified by March 9 regarding acceptance or rejection of the submission.

Submission of an abstract obligates the student to attend the conference should he/she be selected to present the paper, poster/exhibit/display, performance, or video.

Accordingly, students must be certain they are available all day on March 28, 2020 before submitting an abstract. Students who are accepted to participate but fail to do so may be barred from participating in future conferences. Failure to present one's work at an academic meeting after being accepted is considered a serious scholarly offense and is not tolerated by professional organizations.



How to Write an Abstract

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

DSU, 2086

How to Visualize Research Data

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

5:00pm in DSU, 2086

How to Give a Talk

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

5:00pm in DSU, 2086

How to Make a Poster

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

5:00pm in DSU, 2085


more info about student workshops





Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 4/22/20