More than half of the registered delegates (318) to the April 2016 PCST Conference in Istanbul Turkey responded to an online survey seeking their feedback about the conference.
What did participants like? What suggestions do they have for future conferences?
Despite the lower numbers, or perhaps because it was a smaller conference, the majority of survey respondents said networking, meeting people and interacting with colleagues were conference highlights. They also enjoyed the discussions, dialogue and feeling of community.
The diverse and global nature of participants and topics, and the mix of practitioners and theoreticians were the best things about the conference and indicate a growing maturity and depth of thought amongst the PCST community. Twenty percent of participants had attended at least three other PCST conferences, indicating a developing collegiality amongst PCST participants.
As with past PCST conferences, the main motivations for people attending the conference were to present a paper (46%) and to network (28%).
Participants were most satisfied with the plenary organisation (80%), the welcome reception (77%), the accommodation (76%), the plenary content (74%), the parallel session and panel session content (both 73%) and the parallel session organisation (72%).
While the majority of respondents were satisfied with most elements of the conference, there were suggestions for improvement:
Reduce the number of parallel sessions to avoid low audience numbers and conflicts in what people can attend. Suggestions for achieving this were to extend the time of the conference, choose papers more selectively, and increase the number of panel sessions.
Increase time for discussion in sessions by including more panel discussions and less one-way presentations in both plenary and parallel sessions.
Increase opportunities for networking by including sessions like 'meet the experts' and having a special session for first time participants.
Provide clearer guidelines for poster presentations and link oral presentations with physical posters.
Communicate about the program more clearly before and during the conference, including making any changes to the program clear.
Make sure the Internet is functioning well, livestream plenary sessions and make better use of social media, especially in parallel sessions.
Link social events to local culture and ensure there are opportunities for people to cost- effectively network with each other at these events.