Writing Your Global Forum Paper


So your paper abstract has been accepted to present at SAS Global Forum?  Better get to writing it!  Do not put it off or delay. Remember you have a paper AND a presentation to put together.  Depending on how you plan to write the paper, you may have some SAS coding to do, which also means you need to prepare an example and possibly create some demo data.

Get Your Data Organized

Take it back to grade school - write your outline first.  This keeps your paper in scope and gives it structure.  Programmers like structure. J  Your abstract should start the paper.  Follow the abstract with an introduction of your idea.  In most cases, a sample dataset or scenario is very helpful with getting your points across and helps the reader relate to your topic.  Stick to three or four main points in the body of your paper.  End the paper with a nice conclusion that summarizes the purpose and provides any helpful reference materials.  Don’t forget your contact information either at the very bottom so people can network or ask questions!

Let Your Example Code Do the Talking

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  Be sure to take screenshots of sample data output or include diagrams to help get guide the reader through your paper.  Include code snippets as well. Your code needs to be as readable as possible.  Use extra spacing, indent sections, and add comments to guide the reader along.

Sloppy code is never easy to read.  Be sure to highlight code or images with arrows or call outs to make sure the reader understands your points.  As you discuss the main points of your paper, continue to walk through the working example recommended in my December post as if you were using your concept.

Use the Conference Template

Be sure to use the conference template to format your paper and presentation.  These templates can be found in the conference materials section of the SAS Global Forum website.

Use the template from the beginning.  It is easier than trying to retrofit your content afterwards – especially if you have figures and tables.

Keep It Simple!

My last tip is to keep your paper concise.  Remember this isn’t a competition on who can write the most in-depth paper on using the DATA step.  Long papers lose a reader in a heartbeat.  Note:  the guideline is 12 pages maximum for contributed papers and 20 pages maximum for invited papers.

  • Let your outline guide the paper.
  • Keep sentences as concise as possible.
  • Use bulleted lists if possible to get key points across.
  • Use informative section headers that represent the main points of each section.

These are some of the things I have learned from presenting in previous conferences.  What suggestions do you have?


About Author

Steve Overton

SAS Business Intelligence & Data Integration Consultant

Steve Overton is an independent consultant specializing in SAS Business Intelligence and Data Integration solutions. His company, Overton Technologies, is based out of Raleigh, NC. Steve has presented various concepts at SAS User Group conferences. Please share your feedback!

1 Comment

  1. Andrew T. Kuligowski on

    nice summary.

    There are actually a couple of papers that have been done on "How to do a paper"; you can find them in the Proceedings archives for further details. (There's also at least one Poster on "How to do a poster".)

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