CAOT Conference Scientific Program
Task Force Report
March 2009 – September 2010
This Conference Scientific Program (CSP) task force with a membership that included representation from the clinical and academic occupational therapy community in Canada, students and CAOT staff responsible for conference operations met over 18 month period. The mandate of this task force as set out in the Terms of Reference was to review the policies and procedures related to the selection and scheduling of peer reviewed presentations at annual conferences of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists to ensure:
- a fair, transparent and effective review process;
- a scientific program that meets the needs of members of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists that:
- supports evidence based practice
- invites discussion of innovative and emerging occupational therapy practices in Canada
To meet this mandate the following actions were undertaken over the term of the task force:
- reviewed background materials
- identified a need for member input
- constructed and carried out an on-line survey with CAOT members
- collated and analyzed survey results
- discussed survey results in context to other documents and relevant processes
- prepared recommendations and final report
Materials reviewed by this Task Force were as follows:
- Conference Statistics related to abstract submissions and the results of review and presentation for the years from 2006-2009
- Process for the Development of the Conference Scientific Program (including timelines, expectations, policies, etc)
- Tips for Preparing Abstracts as provided on the CAOT website
- Examples of Abstracts
- Abstract reviewer forms and process
- Presenter’s Handbook
- Policies and procedures related to the conference abstract process
Conference Scientific Program Survey was distributed to CAOT members and non-members in August 2009 resulting in an excellent response from 1030 respondents. The on-line survey was available for four weeks and several reminders were sent.
The survey included a demographic section and Likert scale response to questions about various aspects of the CSP. The survey also provided space for comments after each question. Responses were analyzed in three sections: submission process, review process and the program/format. The text data was summarized and grouped around common themes. The CSP task force used an iterative process of reviewing the data discussing issues raised and returning to the data to ensure issues were understood and appropriately captured. Using this continual process ensured the data was fully considered. As a result this process, the recommendations as provided emerged and actions taken.
1. The conference abstract submission deadline be changed to a later date.
Status / Action taken to date: The date for regular submissions has now been changed from August 1st to September 15th as a trial for Conference 2011 submission cycle. If abstract reviewers and the Conference Scientific Program Committee (CSPC) are able to work within these timelines, September 15th will be the permanent date. The Student deadline will not change from October 1st.
2. The categories for abstract assignment require revision.
Status / Actions to be taken: The Conference Scientific Program committee will be reviewing the categories and make adjustments in the Spring of 2011.
3. Provide abstract development and submission guidelines in a location that is obvious and intuitive to potential presenters, as the “Conference Resources” section may not be obvious.
Status / Action to date: The tips for preparing an abstract will be reviewed and updated by the CSPC. The next Call for papers will include a link to the abstract tips.
1. To facilitate transparency, the process for abstract review and selection and the process for the development of the conference scientific program should be clarified and easily accessible to potential presenters and delegates.
Status / Action to date: The process for developing the scientific program has now been posted on the CAOT website in the Conference Resources section and is on the sidebar of the Call for Papers page. It explains the process from submission to development of the final program.
2. Eliminate scoring by reviewers (assigning a number) for a 3-year trial period and use comments only in abstract selection.
Status / Action to date: The authors will not be sent scores. Reviewers will only give comments for each abstract they reviewed.
3. Alter the structure of abstract reviews and terms of reference of the Abstract Review Board.
Status / Actions to date: All abstracts are sent to 2 appropriately matched reviewers on the Abstract Review Board and are asked for a recommendation to accept or reject or defer to the CSPC. On abstracts where the reviews of the Abstract Review Board result in a split decision, such that the abstract is accepted by one reviewer and rejected by the other, members of the Conference Scientific Program Committee undertake a review to determine the suitability of the abstract for presentation.
Should the content of an abstract necessitate an expert opinion that is not represented on the Conference Scientific Program Committee, then one may be sought that is external to the committee.
4. All abstracts that meet a pre-determined standard for presentation are accepted.
Status / Action to date: All abstracts that met an acceptable standard were accepted for conference 2011. There is no waitlist. All abstracts rated at a lower quality continue to be rejected.
Conference Program / Format
1. Incorporate more thematic grouping and separate streams for both platform and poster presentations to reduce scheduling concerns and enhance flow of registrants through the conference. Explicit labelling of these themes or streams in the conference program would facilitate the conference experience for registrants.
Status / Action to date: The conference organizing committee will send notifications regarding acceptance of abstracts prior to the end of the calendar year. In the February prior to the conference, the date and time of the presentation will be provided. This process will allow the opportunity to better align the program into themes and to maintain streams.
2. In the Call for Papers change the term “consumer” to partner.
Status / Action to date: This was implemented for the 2011 conference.
Many thanks to the Members of the Task Force:
Susan Forwell Co-chair
Mary Manojlovich Co-chair & Past chair of the CSP Committee
Mari Basiletti CAOT member & practitioner
Noemi Cantin Current chair of the CSP Committee
Johanne Desrosier Academic faculty & CAOT member
Brenda McGibbon Lammi CAOT Professional Education Manager
Lisa Sheehan Conference Manager
Claudia von Zweck Executive Director of CAOT
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