SSWR 2021 Abstract Submissions FAQs

  1. What is the abstract submission deadline?

The deadline has been extended for one more week from April 30 to May 8.

  1. What are the criteria for evaluating abstracts, and does one criterion have more weight than others?
  1. What are the abstract format types?
  • Oral paper presentation (which are grouped into sessions of 4-5 papers)
  • Poster presentation
  • Symposium of three or more papers on the same topic to be presented in the same session
  • Roundtable
  • Workshop

Detailed descriptions are at

  1. Do different types of abstract formats have higher or lower chances of getting accepted? For example, does a symposium (panel of three or more presentations around a singular theme) have a higher chance of getting accepted than an individual oral presentation?

Each year acceptances are based on the number of abstract submissions, overall quality of abstracts and the number of available meeting rooms. Acceptances by format are based on our standard guidelines on how many sessions have been allocated for each format. For example, out of 300 sessions for the total program, 20-25% would be symposia and 40-45% grouped oral papers of 4-5 papers.

  1. Are my chances lower if I submit for an oral presentation instead of a poster presentation?

Poster presentation acceptances are based on the overall quality of abstracts and the number of ePoster stations. Generally, the acceptance rate for posters is higher than oral presentations.  We recommend that when you submit an oral paper presentation that you indicate that you are also willing to present as an oral presentation.  This will increase your chance of acceptance.

Every year, we receive a different pool of abstracts, so there isn’t a “set” formula for acceptances. What is important to note is that if the abstract submissions increase overall and/or in each format, the chances of being accepted may be lower and the inverse may be true. Our key strategy is to assess the overall quality to ensure that acceptances are balanced across all formats.

  1. How are abstracts reviewed?

There are two stages of review. In the first stage the abstracts are reviewed by two reviewers.  The reviewers do not know the names of the authors.  Make sure not to include any identifying information in your abstract.  The second stage is handled by the cluster co-chairs who review the abstract scores within their cluster and in relation to the scores across all clusters.  The cluster chairs make recommendations as to which oral papers are grouped together into an oral paper session and make recommendations as to which abstracts would contribute to the overall conference program and therefore, accepted within their own cluster.  Overall, the cluster chairs are working to develop a high quality and well-balanced program.

  1. What are your recommendations for submitting an interactive workshop (vs. an oral presentation, a symposium, poster, roundtable) abstract?

Please review the Call for Papers at and the section on workshop requirements which indicates the objectives of workshop abstract submissions.

We recommend that you review the abstract review criteria at pertaining to workshops so that you are familiar with how workshops are reviewed and scored.

  1. How strongly should abstracts reflect or be in alignment with the specific theme of the conference? Will it give abstracts an advantage or edge if they do?

The abstract review criteria do not include a specific criterion on how an abstract may align with the annual conference theme. However,  please review the Call for Papers at that articulates what the 2021 conference program is looking for. Reviewers may factor this in their reviews.

  1. Which clusters or topics often receive the most proposals? How about the clusters and topics receiving the fewest proposals? In other words, what research gaps are the conference organizers looking to fill?

Each cluster receives a varying number of submissions every year. However, the Adolescent and Youth Development, Child Welfare, and Violence against Women and Children clusters receive the highest percentage of abstract submissions. The Indigenous, Military, and Sustainable Development clusters tend to have the lowest percentage of submissions.

  1. How should my abstract be structured for submission?

Please see that lists the different components for each format. Sample abstracts are available at

  1. How do I decide which cluster/topic to submit my work under when it may fall into multiple categories?

The decision-making of selecting the most appropriate cluster/topic to which you submit your abstract is up to the author. SSWR does not assist in this process. However, we do make an effort to reassign abstracts to the appropriate cluster, when and if cluster co-chairs think that the abstract is a better fit within another cluster.

  1. Is it ok to submit work that is not fully analyzed?

No, it is not OK to submit work that is not fully analyzed. See the submission instructions: Abstracts should not be based on research previously published elsewhere. Please note that only paper and poster abstracts reporting completed findings will be reviewed. We urge that studies with “findings pending” be submitted for future review after the study is complete. Peer reviews will be used to select submissions based upon technical merit and importance of findings.

  1. What are common mistakes to avoid when submitting an abstract?

Common mistakes could be the following:

  • Incomplete submissions. Submission steps are not fully completed. If your submission is complete, you should have received an email confirmation. If you didn’t get an email receipt, then your submission was not completed and submitted.
  • Submissions that do not follow the guidelines and structure may be disadvantaged for acceptances.
  • Poor cluster fit. Confer with colleagues with abstract acceptance experience to determine the best cluster fit.
  1. How many abstracts do they receive each year? What is the acceptance rate?

Abstract submissions are in the 2,400-2,500 range. Depending on many factors such as the total number of abstract submissions, availability of meeting spaces, and overall quality of abstracts, the acceptance rate ranges from the mid-60s to low-70s percentages.

Please note each cluster is allocated an equitable acceptance percentage based on the total submissions within each cluster. Regardless of the number of submissions to each cluster, the acceptance rate is approximately the same across all clusters.

  1. How do qualitative abstracts need to appear vs quantitative abstracts?

Call for Papers:

Research abstracts are encouraged in all substantive areas, using scientifically sound qualitative and/or quantitative methodology. The research may take place in any country and at the micro, macro, or policy level. This year’s conference theme is cross-cutting by population, problem and substantive areas, as well as methodological expertise and as a result, we encourage submissions across all clusters as they pertain explicitly to the impact of social work research in the form of proposals for individual papers and poster presentations, symposia, roundtable discussions, and workshops.  

  1. What are reviewers specifically looking for in the methods section of the abstract? What can be left out?

Please see for the submission instructions that describe each element (e.g., background and purpose, methods, results, and conclusion and implications) in a submission for oral papers, posters, or symposium papers. Write each section clearly and concisely to maximize the 500-word limit.

References are not required, and if included count towards the 500-word limit. Image(s) and table(s) are not permitted in any abstract.


If you have further questions, please contact DeeJay Garringo, CAE, program director, or 703-352-7797, ext.2.