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BSG ERA Conference: Should I present?
Ian Sidney

I approached this article with the thought that I would be making a brief announcement to all the Emerging Researchers in Ageing within BSG with regards to the date and venue of the forthcoming ERA conference. However, as these have not yet been finalised I thought it would be a suitable time to reflect on the benefits of presenting your own work at conferences and in particular at BSG ERA.

As researchers in the early years of our careers, we are often informed by our more seasoned colleagues that research is worthless unless it is disseminated. Gilbert (2001) suggests that “until research has been published, available for all to read, it barely counts as social science at all” (p363). Although this may appear slightly harsh to those researchers amongst us who may be at an early stage and struggling with theoretical concepts or in finding the right participants, the importance of what Gilbert suggest in claiming that “publication is an essential part of the research process” (p363) cannot be underestimated. However, I would like you to read ‘dissemination’ in place of publication.

In the early stages of our careers I feel that it is imperative that we take these opportunities to present our work. We can all think of a myriad of reasons as to why we don’t want to or feel we can’t present; I’m working on Chapter X and don’t have enough time; I presented last year; I presented at the university postgraduate symposium; I’ve only just started my PhD; I hate giving presentations. I think all of us have or have thought about using some if not all of these excuses. However what are the benefits of presenting your work? For me, the benefits start long before the presentation. The preparation of a paper enables me to clarify my thoughts; often it is not until I see these written down in a way that others can understand them that my own thoughts become clearer. The presentation itself is usually the first time that anybody apart from my supervisors have had access to this work and the feedback from others after having engaged with my ideas, has often been invaluable. There is also the wonderful feeling of having done it and survived, and finally it looks good on the CV.

BSG ERA Conference

The BSG ERA conference offers the opportunity for emerging researchers to present papers based on their work to an informed audience of research students, academics, trained professionals and others in a questioning and supportive environment. Participants of past ERA and NOGS conferences have overwhelmingly given extremely positive feedback ( Sidney, 2008). Participants who present at the next ERA conference will also have the opportunity to publish their article in Generations Review.

Can I also use this space to encourage you all to submit papers and posters for the BSG Conference in Bristol 2009. All student posters are entered into a competition with the winner receiving the Stirling Plate. This also looks good on the CV.

I hope you will all consider submitting papers for this conference and I look forward to seeing you all at the BSG ERA Conference later this year and in Bristol in September.



Gilbert, N. (2001). Writing about Social Research, in N Gilbert (Ed) Researching Social Life 2nd Ed, Sage Publications Ltd: London. pp 361-378.

Sidney, I. (2008). ‘A New ERA in Ageing 2008’ conference: a review, Generations Review Vol. 18, No. 3, July 2008, viewed on line at http://www.britishgerontology.org/08newsletter3/news_reviews3.asp

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