Preparing and Formatting Your Proposal Document

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Preparing & Formatting Your Proposal

In this section you will find detailed instructions on preparing and formatting your written proposal. Please review the contents of this section carefully. Submissions that do not follow the rules for submission, including word count, will be rejected and cannot be resubmitted after the deadline. 

Summary of Proposal Document Elements for Each Submission Type
  Poster Symposium Debate Panel Alternative Session Master Tutorial IGNITE!
85 Characters
Shortened Title
50 Characters
600 Characters
Social Media Statement
200 Characters (Optional)
APA Formatted Citation
Yes, formatted to these guidelines
Links to Social Media Accounts
Yes, requested for all contributors (both speakers and non-speaking contributors), especially for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram
Word Limits
750 for summary;
1,000 for each
component paper*
Minimum of 900; Maximum of 3,000*
Time Requested
50 Minutes
50 or 80 Minutes
Prepared for Blind Review


*Titles, abstract, references, tables, and figures do not count toward word limits, but appendices do count.

Basic Formatting Guidelines

All submissions, regardless of type or content, should have the same formatting:

  •   1-inch margins, 10-to-12-point Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman. Symbol is permitted for special characters.
  •   Submitted as a single Word document (.doc or .docx) even if multiple papers are included
  •   Does not use special fonts even within tables or diagrams, which may not appear the same on peer reviewers’ computers as they do on submitters’.


What to Include on the Title Page

All submission documents should begin with a title page that includes the submission type, title, shortened title, abstract, and word count. All submission documents other than posters will also include an APA-style citation. Please review the title page template for your session type (see links below) for information and recommendations for each required element. Some of the information overlaps with requirements in the online submission process; however, please also include this information on the title page of the submission document.


What to Include in the Body of the Proposal Document

The full text of proposals varies based on submission type. Please be sure that your submission follows the guidelines based on type described below.


Example debate proposal

Please provide a description of the topic to be debated, the participant composition and format of the debate, the major points likely to be argued by each side or the questions that will be posed to them, and the debaters’ expertise related to the focal topic.
Example IGNITE! proposal

Please provide a brief overview of the focal topic and a short summary of each presentation, including biographical information for each presenter. If there are fewer presenters, submissions should include guiding questions for the facilitated audience discussion portion.
Example master tutorial proposal

Please describe the specific content to be taught in the tutorial and indicate whether the coverage of the material will be basic or advanced. Note that unlike posters or symposiums, master tutorials should be instructive in their approach. The tutorial should seek to leave attendees with a new skill or knowledge set and should directly engage the audience through instruction, activities, or other forms of participation.
Example panel discussion proposal

Please describe the structure or format of the session, the underlying issues or themes to be discussed, and some key questions that will either be addressed primarily by the panel or will be supplemented with additional questions generated by the audience.
Example poster proposal

Proposals should consist of a complete paper prepared for blind review. Omit names that could identify the author(s), and please remove authors from the file properties (i.e., In Word files, go to Properties in the file menu, click on the Summary tab, and delete any identifiers). Papers submitted for poster presentation must represent completed work and should be prepared according to instructions provided in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition, with the exception of the title page and abstract formatting, which should follow SIOP’s rules detailed below.
Example symposium proposal

Please include a general introduction of the purpose/theme of the symposium, followed by summaries of each component paper detailing the presentation’s contribution, including a description of data and analyses where appropriate (with accompanying references, tables, and figures, as needed). If a discussant is included, a summary of the discussant’s comments is not needed at the time of submission.
Example alternative session w/ multiple papers
Example alternative session w/o multiple papers

Please describe the focal topic or theme, the distinguishing and novel attributes of the new format and how they will benefit the audience, and provide a specific rationale for why and how the topic/theme is well aligned with this session type. Please clearly indicate in your description specifically what qualifies your submission as an alternative session.
In preparing your alternative session submission, you can either submit a session in which authorship order does not matter (example alternative session type without multiple papers) or one in which multiple papers are presented and authorship order does matter—similar to a symposium (example alternative session type with multiple papers). For the latter, you must be prepared to provide in the submission system the order of papers and the affiliated authors. (Click here for more guidance regarding when this is needed and the format required for the information.)