Dear AIDS ASIA,
Recently there was a discussion on the relevance of large AIDS conferences on this FORUM.
One of the difficulty with regard to assessing the effectiveness and impact of large scientific conference are lack of effective methodological and conceptual frame works to evaluate such conferences. Attached with please find an article discussing about evaluating such large conferences..
A scoping review about conference objectives and evaluative practices: how do we get more out of them?
Justin Neves, John N Lavis and M Kent Ranson
Health Research Policy and Systems 2012, 10:26 doi:10.1186/1478-4505-10-26 Published: 2 August 2012
Large multi-day conferences have often been criticized as ineffective ways to improve social outcomes and to influence policy or practice.
Unfortunately, many conference evaluations have also been inadequate in determining the impact of the conference on their associated social sector, with little evidence gathered or analyzed to substantiate or refute these criticisms.
The aim of this scoping review is to investigate and report stakeholders' objectives for planning or participating in large multi-day conferences and how these objectives are being evaluated. We conducted a scoping review supplemented by a small number of key informant interviews.
Eight bibliographic databases were systematically searched to identify papers describing conference objectives and/or evaluations.
We developed a conference evaluation framework based on theoretical models and empirical findings, which structured the descriptive synthesis of the data. We identified 3,073 potential papers for review, of which 44 were included in this study.
Our evaluation framework connects five key elements in planning a conference and its evaluation (number in brackets refers to number of themes identified): conference objectives (8), purpose of evaluation (7), evaluation methods (5), indicators of success (9) and theories/models (8). Further analysis of indicators of success identified three categories of indicators with differing scopes (i.e. immediate, prospective or follow-up) as well as empirical links between the purpose of evaluations and these indicators.
Conference objectives and evaluations were largely correlated with the type of conference (i.e. academic, political/governmental or business) but diverse overall. While much can be done to improve the quality and usefulness of conference evaluations, there are innovative assessments that are currently being utilized by some conferences and warrant further investigation.
This review provides conference evaluators and organizers a simple resource to improve their own assessments by highlighting and categorizing current objectives and evaluation strategies.
The complete article is available as a provisional PDF.
The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.