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EuroSTAR Submission Guide

  • 06/01/2011
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EuroSTAR Abstract Submission – A Word from the 2011 Programme Team

We thought that we would write a few words to give you a head start in submitting an abstract for the EuroSTAR 2011 Conference which is set to take place in Manchester from the 21 – 24 November.

To speak at this conference you are going to have to complete a submission form, unless you are invited to speak, and that generally only happens for Keynotes and Special Sessions.

These are some simple tips for success in completing the submission form. To help you in considering what to write, we will explain the process of reviewing and selecting an abstract. And before you ask; knowing the process isn’t cheating! We want the best presentations in the program, and we are glad to help you to convince us in the most effective way.

Once you have clicked submit on your submission form and received the acceptance e-mail, the first thing that happens is that your submission is recorded, and then anonymised.  That means that a version is created which has personal details removed. The reason for this is that abstracts are then batched together and sent out for ‘blind review.’ Your abstract is sent out to several members of the review committee, which consists of around 30 people who will be giving their time freely.

The results of the reviews are then collated and a ranking table is drawn up.  There are in excess of 250 submissions each year and there are approximately 65 speaking slots at the conference.  The slots go to the highest scoring submissions first.  So, if your abstract scored a low mark, it is extremely unlikely that you will be invited to speak at the EuroSTAR conference.

Alongside the scoring system the submissions are also balanced, by country and company, and topic in order to avoid a region, organisation or subject bias.

Our aim is to present a high quality, unbiased, open and independent conference, aligned around the theme, which this year is ‘In Pursuit of Quality.

And to give you the greatest chance of success with your submission these are the criteria that the review committee use to score the submissions.

Align your submission to the Theme

Most importantly – you must align your submission to the theme of the conference. The marks are weighted in favour of the theme.  What this means is that if you do not align with the theme you have to excel in every other area in order to be considered.  This greatly reduces your chance of success.

When we talk to people who are interested in submitting for conferences, sometimes the conversation goes like this. “I was thinking of submitting“. “Great, what is your topic?“, “I was thinking about X“, and then we say “And how does that align with the theme?“, and the other person says “It doesn’t,” So we probably say “Well your best chance of success is to align with the theme, so how could you do that with your topic?

Well, all we can say is that to greatly increase your chance of success, align your submission with the theme.  It is still your topic, but it has greater relevance when alligned, and you have more chance of sharing your message with the people it is intended for.

Ensure that your submission is Clear and Understandable

One of the hardest things for reviewers is to read unclear and unintelligible submissions.  If the reviewer cannot understand your submission then that is the fastest way to fail.

EuroSTAR is an English language conference so submissions need to be in English.  This does not mean that you have to write Shakespearean English, but it does mean that you will need to spell and grammar check your submission.

When we review abstracts from non-native English speakers allowances are made for the trickier aspects of English, such as pluralisation, usage of verbs, and sometimes sentence order. English is tricky, and in other languages the sentence order is often reversed.

We also recommend getting someone to review your abstract before you submit it. An outsider’s perspective can often reveal something you may have missed.

What is in it for the Delegates?

It is important to let the delegates know what is in it for them.  The best presentations are generally those that have good audience interaction and are informing as well as amusing and entertaining. It is also important to offer the delegates something to take away that they will be able to use immediately on return to their daily work routine.

Audiences do have a preference for presentations which reflect practical applications of something, as opposed to theory. And no audience likes being sold to, so submissions that are obviously selling a specific product (whether tools or processes) will get lower marks in the review.

Envisaging the key points that delegates will take from your session will help you to develop your presentation.  It will also help the delegates when selecting which sessions to attend.

What is New or Innovative?

If you are talking about a new or innovative approach then please identify that.  It is great to be at the forefront of the software testing industry, and delegates are always looking for new and interesting approaches to solve traditional problems.

This doesn’t mean that you have to fill your abstract with the latest buzzwords.  The review panel is a competent one and will see through unnecessary jargon.

Do I stand a better chance if I submit more proposals?

Simply – No!  This is part of EuroSTAR folklore; many people still believe that if you submit 10 proposals you are more likely to get selected.  This is not true.  The best way to get selected is to produce a well aligned submission that is clear and understandable. It is imperative that it contains content that the delegates can interact with, and leverage back into their daily work routine. If that is a new or innovative approach then even better.

If you have more than one idea that’s great and you are welcome to submit both. But keep in mind that one of the least successful ways of getting accepted is just to vary the title and subject of your abstract and rewrite it about 10 times.  People still do.  We don’t know why, other than they may believe the myth that more is better!

We hope you find this useful in preparing your submissions.  As a committee, we are looking forward to a record number of submissions from which to select a fantastic conference programme.

And if you need any help please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Good luck – we’re looking forward to your submission(s).

The EuroSTAR 2011 Programme Team

Geoff, Graham, Derk-Jan and Morten

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