Call for Papers and Panels




November 8-11, 2018
Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Palace Convention Center

Deadline for Submissions: Wednesday, March 28th at 11:59 P.M. PST

Submission Deadline Dates: Mon, 1/15 2018 12:00 AM – Thu, 3/29 2018 3:00 AM EDT

Program Planner: Aimei Yang, University of Southern California (

The Public Relations Division (PRD; @PRprofs) of the National Communication Association (NCA) invites submissions of individual papers, research paper sessions, and panel discussion proposals that investigate key issues in public relations. Only completed papers and fully developed paper and discussion panel proposals will be considered.

Submissions should promote a greater understanding of contemporary issues in public relations theory and practice. All methodological approaches are acceptable: qualitative, quantitative, rhetorical, critical, historical, pedagogical, etc. Fully developed paper sessions and panel discussions with an interdisciplinary focus that might be of interest to members from other divisions and interest groups will receive special consideration. Please note that the same individual paper, paper session, or panel discussion can only be submitted to one division.

The 104th Annual Convention theme is “Communication at Play”, which directs attention to research that is imaginative, creative, strategic, engaging, and fun, which can be applicable for the public relations research and applied sectors. We are looking for research that examines the nature of play as it intersects with strategic communication practices. Research that looks at how public relations can help solve puzzles of society. In addition, research should explore playfulness and engagement in shared experiences between organizations and their publics. In addition, exploring our current and future relevance in the community, profession, and in society. We need to be able to identify, discuss, and apply our work in both practice and in research to help identify the gaps, rising issues, and help create bridges to help connect our work to everyday communities and new audiences.

Papers that explicitly address the convention theme “Communication at Play” will be given special considered. Subjects related to the convention theme might include (but not limited to) the role and presence public relations has in the following areas:

  • The State of Public Relations: Past, Present, and Future Directions for Theory, Research, and Applications
  • Community building initiatives to help bridge the gap
  • Civil society, social capital, and public relations
  • Crisis and risk communications
  • Emerging technology risks, challenges, and benefits of social and digital media
  • Exploring the connection between new ways to play (e.g., AR, VR, gaming, etc.) and PR
  • Fake news, ethical challenges, and opportunities in PR
  • Health and public relations campaigns
  • Local, national, and global public relations efforts for advocacy
  • Political, social and ethical initiatives
  • Polarized society and public relations ethics
  • Public relations measurement and research
  • Social networks and public relations
  • Sports communications


Students are encouraged to submit papers. The Top Four student papers have traditionally received recognition and may receive a cash award (depending on funding availability) from the University of Alabama’s Betsy Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. The top student paper will also be submitted for the NCA Cushman Award.

To be considered for these awards the submissions must be authored solely by students. If a student paper is based on a larger work (e.g., thesis or dissertation), please revise it to adhere to generally accepted standards for convention papers/research articles regarding length, organization, style, etc. (follow the guidelines below).

Submission Information

  • Papers, sessions, and panels must be submitted electronically to the NCA
  • Convention Central website via the 2018 NCA Convention home page.
  • Emailed and paper submissions will not be accepted.
  • For a definition of submission types, please refer to the step-by-step “How to Submit” instructions (

Requests for specific equipment must be submitted online at the time of submission. Failure to do so may result in being scheduled into a room with no A/V equipment.
Please note the NCA Convention Resource Library website has additional information about the convention, including a guide for how to submit to NCA Convention Central and a description of alternative formats including Scholar-to-Scholar.

Instructions for Submitting an Individual Paper

Submitted papers must be original and should NOT have been previously presented, published, and/or scheduled for presentation at any other conference or submitted.
To ensure blind review, authors MUST remove personal information from documents before uploading papers. No information identifying the author should appear anywhere on the paper, including personal information in the File/Properties field. If you are unaware of how to remove file properties from a Word or Adobe PDF, please refer to the Additional Information section below.
Write a 100–150-word abstract for the paper (as part of the title page). Do not put your name on the title page or anywhere else in the paper.

Indicate if the submission is a student-only authored paper prominently on the title page. Student papers must be entirely written by student authors to be considered for the student paper competition, or to receive special “student paper” consideration.

The body of the research paper should not exceed 8,000–9,000 words. The maximum paper length is 25 double-spaced pages, excluding title page, references, figures, and tables. Papers that exceed the page limit may be eliminated from consideration.
Submissions should adhere to the standards of the latest edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA). Standard formatting includes 1-inch margins, all double-spaced text including references, ragged-right margins on body text, and 12-point Times New Roman or similar serif font.

Indicate whether you are interested in being considered for a Scholar-to-Scholar session.
Papers that have been submitted to other conference, divisions, and journals will be automatically disqualified. Papers with track changes still present will be automatically disqualified. Papers that are incomplete will be automatically disqualified. Papers that are submitted later than the official NCA deadline will also be automatically disqualified.
Instructions for Submitting Paper Session Proposals

A paper session is submitted as a pre-conceived and complete session of papers. The papers are not submitted or reviewed individually and are not submitted by the author(s) but rather by the person submitting the paper session. The entire paper session proposal (rather than individual papers) is reviewed for consideration as a whole. Submission requirements:

  • A title for the paper session.
  • A session description (150 words maximum).
  • A session chair (required) and respondent (optional).
  • Enter paper title, paper description (250–500 words), and paper author(s) for each paper to be presented.
  • A fully developed session rationale (500–750 words).
  • In the rationale, clearly indicate whether the session will introduce completed research and completed papers.
  • All papers should be completed by the time of presentation at NCA. If appropriate, include suggestions and a rationale for appropriate co-sponsors and/or interdisciplinary collaborators on the Special Requests tab. Paper session proposals that explicitly address the conference theme are preferred.

Instructions for Submitting Panel Discussion Proposals

A panel discussion is submitted as a pre-conceived and complete session of presenters discussing a topic/issue. Papers are not presented at a panel discussion. Submission requirements:

  • A title for the panel discussion
  • A panel description (150 words maximum).
  • A session chair (required) and respondent (optional)
  • A list of the panel participants, including their names, titles, and affiliations.
  • A fully developed session rationale (500–750 words).
  • In the rationale, provide details about the significant issues and debates in the field of public relations that will be discussed.
  • Panel discussion proposals that explicitly address the conference theme are preferred.

Additional Information

All submitters are encouraged to review the Professional Standards for Convention Participants:
( prior to submission.

Helpful resources, including live and recorded step-by-step instructions on how to submit, are available in the Convention Library (

Instructions for Removing Personal Identifiers from Document Properties

Word 2013 for Windows

Click on “File” in the upper left
Click the “Check for Issues” icon and select “Inspect Document”
Select “Document Properties and Personal Information” and click “inspect”
If personal identifiers are found, select “Remove All”
Save and submit the document

Word 2013 + 2016 for Apple/Mac

In the menu, go to “Word” => “Preferences” => “Personal Settings”
Select the “Security” tab
Under Privacy options, enable “Remove personal information from this file on save”
Click “OK” to save the preference settings
Save and submit the document

 See the full call for participation at the NCA website:

See also the NCA Public Relations Division Statement of Principles for Reviewing


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