How to submit a proposal for the 2017 voluntary sector and volunteering research conference

This is an open invitation to all researchers, not just those working or studying at a university.  The deadline for submitting proposals is 2 May 2017.

Aims and themes for proposals

We are inviting proposals, either for individual papers or panel sessions (three or four papers on the same topic or research), that are relevant to the conference aims of:

  • contributing to evidence and theory building in the field
  • developing emerging research
  • informing the work of practitioners
  • informing and influencing policy.

This year, we are particularly interested in proposals that relate to one or more of the following themes:

  • civil society, democracy and grassroots voluntary action
  • volunteering, participation and social action
  • sectoral boundaries: private, voluntary and public sector relations
  • funding, fundraising and philanthropy
  • organisational management and governance, including regulation and charity law
  • historical perspectives on the voluntary sector and voluntary action
  • advances in theory and methods.

The above list is only indicative. We welcome proposals on all topics relating to the voluntary sector and volunteering.

Types of proposal

We welcome two types of proposal for the conference: an individual paper or a proposal for a themed panel session or workshop. Any topics relating to the voluntary sector and volunteering are welcome.

  Session description Submission
Individual paper Grouped by theme, these will include several 15–20 minute paper presentations, followed by discussion. A 400–600 word summary of your proposed paper. We welcome submissions discussing preliminary findings and completed projects. References are not needed at this stage.
Panel/ workshop session A series of linked papers, a round-table discussion of a topic or research introduced by a panel of commentators, or a themed workshop. Please submit a list of the panel or workshop contributors, with a 400–600 word proposal providing an overview of the topic to be discussed and the contributions to be made by each panel/workshop member. For a series of linked papers, the proposal should include brief abstracts for each contribution.

Submitting a proposal

You can submit a proposal for either a single paper presentation or a panel session. You may submit only one paper as a lead author but you can still be a coauthor for papers submitted by others. For paper proposals, please consider the contents carefully. Please ensure that where appropriate you refer to:

  • research context
  • research question(s)
  • research method(s)
  • research findings
  • policy, practice or academic implications.

You can also read one of our model proposals from previous years to help you formulate your proposal. Proposals that do not contain sufficient detail will not be considered for inclusion in the conference.  

Once you have drafted your abstract or proposal, please complete one of our online forms:

Submission deadlines

If your submission is successful, you will be asked to send a 2,500–4,500 word paper for inclusion in the conference. We will advise on the format of the paper when we confirm acceptance of your abstract. Papers presented in parallel sessions will be made available online during the conference.

2 May 2017                             Proposal of 400 - 600 words to be submitted
3 June 2017 Notification of accepted submissions
1 July 2017 Short abstract of 150 words to be submitted for the conference proceedings
30 July 2017       Full paper to be submitted

If your proposal is accepted you still need to book a place at the conference. We will contact you about payment.

Delegate rates

All delegates at the conference must pay the conference rates in order to participate, including those presenting a paper.

  Early bird price (until 5 July)Regular price
Two-day member* rate £265 £296
Two-day non-member rate £354 £384
One-day member rate £176 £198
One-day non-member rate £237 £256

*To qualify for the member rate, delegates must be members of either VSSN or an institution which is a member of NCVO.

The Campbell Adamson Memorial Prize

Each year NCVO awards a prize for the best paper submitted to the conference, in memory of the late president of NCVO’s advisory board. All papers submitted by the deadline of 30 July will be considered.

The prize will go to the paper that best meets these criteria:

  • research quality
  • relevance to practice or policy
  • accessibility of style and approach.

Contact us

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