2012 AER Conference: What You Asked Us to Improve

by Maeve Luthin, JD, Project Coordinator

We are sending out a big, belated thank you to those who completed the 2012 Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference evaluation, and we want to share with you some key feedback we received. Today I’ll be tackling the top five items that you named as most in need of improvement for 2013.

    1. You are cordially invited: We hosted many events during the AER Conference, and many of you told us you enjoyed the social aspects of the meeting. However, you also told us that our repeated invitations to these gatherings were confusing. So we’ll be doing our best to smoothly disseminate information about the events you need to sign up for prior to arriving onsite, while making sure that we don’t send out our invitation emails too often.


    1. Did I RSVP to the wrong session?: Some attendees expressed frustration after attending sessions that covered material tangentially related to what the program indicated would be addressed.  There were also instances in which attendees felt that sessions marked “advanced” only focused on basic content. We understand that this isn’t an efficient use of your valuable time, and we are working on ways to make sure that these miscommunications do not occur in the future.


    1. Hide-and-Go-Seek: We heard from many of you that there was a scarcity of sessions exclusively about social, behavioral, and educational research (SBER). We also understand that some of the sessions designated as SBER went off-topic and addressed biomedical issues. We will definitely work on improving offerings for our SBER friends who will be attending the 2013 AER Conference in Boston .


    1. Party Favors: We know that the best “gift” we can share with you, our attendees, is reliable information—such as session handouts and related resources—that will help you work more effectively. Many of you prefer to receive your handouts before your arrival onsite, so you can read them through in advance. However, sometimes these materials are not available until the session begins (or even after), which we understand can be frustrating. We’ll be making a concerted effort to find a better balance in the timing of these “treats” going forward.

  1. Posters, Posters Everywhere: Those of you who attended poster presentation sessions shared your enthusiasm for the posters and their presenters, and asked us to make sure that they are given a more prominent place on the program in 2013. We chose to hold the moderated poster discussions during an evening reception in 2012 to increase attendee awareness about the posters, and it turns out there was probably too much hustle and bustle for listeners to fully appreciate the presentations. Therefore, we’ve already put a plan in place to address this concern in 2013. 

Look for another post from us tomorrow about what you liked at the 2012 AER Conference, and thanks again for sharing your feedback!