Symposium vs. Conference, What’s the Difference?

Written by Resurchify | Updated on: February 04, 2022

Symposium vs. Conference, What’s the Difference?

Conferences and symposiums are primarily hosted in academic settings. Many individuals are perplexed by the differences in these classifications and therefore unable to tell between a symposium and a conference owing to their resemblance and convergence in the way they are coordinated and attended. There are, however, variances in terms of the number of delegates, themes covered, time, and so on, which will be discussed in detail in this article.

How do we define a conference?

A conference is a link-up where individuals meet to discuss a multitude of topics. The conference can be organised in a wide range of subjects, and it does not always have to be scholarly in nature. Sports conferences, commerce conferences, doctor's conferences, and so on are all examples of conferences. A conference is a pre-planned gathering of people who convene to consult and debate a variety of themes.

Because their subject is so vast, conferences sometimes include separate tracks within them. As a consequence, relative to a symposium, a conference is typically significantly bigger. Sometimes global conferences, for example, extend a week and have thousands of participants. Pupils and early-career scholars to academic or industrial icons are among the speakers at a conference.

A conventional conference will have a schedule jam-packed with concise talks organised into sessions. These are frequently organised into parallel "streams" with concurrent sessions. In addition, most conferences include a multitude of session types. However, a growing number of conferences are exploring unique delivery methods such as breakout sessions. Most conference presentations take the form of verbal or graphic sessions, forums, or seminars. 

A general assembly, similar to a keynote address, is frequently held at a conference, and all participants are urged to attend. Independent expert evaluations are regularly done on conference submissions, and they are evaluated based on their own characteristics.

How do we define a symposium?

A symposium is a formal assembly of specialists in various disciplines held in an academic context. These professionals give their ideas or viewpoints on a certain topic. Because the number of attendees is fewer, a symposium is appropriately referred to as a small conference. 

A symposium's most distinguishing feature is that it focuses on a particular topic or issue, with all expert presentations delivered in one day. After the experts have given their statements, the normal discussions on the chosen topic take place.

A symposium is usually designed to produce more discussion than a conventional conference. The research articles at a symposium are often evaluated in a panel style, with the goal of generating suggestions on the issues from the crowd or other participants. Symposiums are used to promote global and multi-disciplinary interaction by bringing researchers and professionals together to present and discuss their most recent findings and future goals. Symposium submissions are evaluated and either denied or allowed — in a group, unlike at a regular conference. We'll talk over this in more depth later since it makes a significant difference whether submitting to or organising a symposium.

What is the difference between a conference and a symposium?

A conference or a symposium are comparable events in which speakers gather to share their perspectives on a specific topic. A symposium is a smaller conference that lasts for one day and has a smaller number of delegates. Symposiums are a bit laid-back.

Professionals give lectures on a particular subject at a symposium, whereas there is a discussion on different themes at a conference. A conference can have thousands of participants or only a handful. A symposium can be a one-time focused event or a significant annual convention for a scholarly society. Conferences may review applications in pairs at periods. Symposia may evaluate them in seclusion at times. 

Symposia are sometimes included in conference materials and treated as merely another session type. Furthermore, the distinction between such a conference and symposia may be that a conference has a broader theme concentrating on presentations and lectures. Still, a workshop is usually more specific and hands-on.

However, as we will see, there are some grey regions between these kinds of occasions, and the distinction is really not obvious. What matters most is that everyone has a great time and gains something. What is essential is that we pay attention to how the event is described. The submission guidelines in the call for abstracts are basically a major giveaway and that we manage with the extra problems that come when entries are considered collectively.

If you are planning a symposium, here's whatever you need to learn about it. The administration of abstracts is one domain where symposia might just get chaotic for organisers. Costs can quickly become tricky when you correlate the status of one entry to the fate of the others (for example, if one abstract in a group is rejected, the entire group is rejected).

If your symposium has already convened, collect much more input as you can from the preceding year's chairman. Create as detailed a depiction of the revenue and expenditure as feasible. However, keep in mind that some guesswork may be involved, and your budget will change as your symposium planning advances. Begin slowly and gradually increase your budget.

Don't neglect that entry fees aren't your event's only source of revenue. Develop deals and offers and look into potential financing. You can also check over your expenses and seek ways to cut costs, but don't lose sight of the significance of providing your delegates with a great experience on the day.

Do your research thoroughly, gather intel, and review entries for your event. Consider how you'll conduct entries from the minute you acquire them until you build them together with your conference schedule.

There is no such idea as a one-size-fits-all approach whenever it comes to software that is designed to perform complex tasks. When searching for software, enquire about how the software manages interlinked entries, and look for a supplier who is ready to collaborate with you to find the optimal way for your conference.

Suppose you are interested in submitting a paper to a symposium. Here's whatever you need to learn about it.

If your symposium satisfies the requirements stated above, you'll very likely be presenting your work as a panel rather than as an individual piece. These proposals will then be peer-reviewed and approved on the grounds of their total merit.

Because this adds to the complexity of the submission process, it's a good idea to become acquainted with all of the steps involved in applying to a symposium before you commence.

You'll need to develop a similar submission subject, invite your co-presenters who ought to be from a variety of institutions and have a decent gender-mix, choose a discussant, and finish all of your work on time.

Is there a study on a different panel that corresponds to your research? Is a well-known senior scholar from your sub-field supposed to attend? Another tip is to reach out to people doing similar work at conferences since this can be an excellent way to develop contacts for future panels. It's so much easier to email these individuals later to schedule a session if you have a quick discussion with them in person.

Most people online insist that "symposium implies such" or "conference implies this" solely because that's what they've experienced in their area, analogous to language disputes. 

However, meanings can evolve over time and between disciplines and nations.



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Resurchify is an information portal for the people pursuing research. We bring to you a varied list of research gatherings like conferences, journals, meetings, symposiums, etc across multiple areas. Along with that, we also share a huge chunk of details of these events.

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