PhD Pre-conference seminar

The day before the NISPAcee conference begins, a PhD seminar will take place where the NISPAcee conference also takes place, enabling PhD students to improve their paper concerning structure and content. The seminar aims to discuss ways to improve their papers with the students.


The PhD Pre-conference Seminar, "How to Improve the Quality of Your Research Paper?" took place on Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024, a day before the 32nd annual NISPAcee conference in Tbilisi. Two chairs, Michiel de Vries from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands and Iwona Sobis from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, conducted the seminar. Two PhD students presented their papers in person, and one student participated online with an abstract of a planned paper.

The seminar was divided into three sessions. The first session focused on the role of introductions and conclusions in papers. The second session explored the significance of the methodological chapter and its presentation. The third session delved into the role of theory, its presentation, and its impact on applied methods and the presentation of conclusions.

Michiel de Vries began each session with a brief lecture on the respective topics. Subsequently, the PhD students actively discussed potential improvements to their papers with both chairs and other participants based on the recommendations provided.

The interactive nature of the three sessions offered valuable opportunities for the PhD students to rethink their research and how to organise their papers to meet international publication standards. The chairs encouraged the students to engage in self-criticism in their writing, fostering further improvements. The main objective of the pre-conference was to enhance the structure of PhD theses or scientific articles by analyzing the differences between various types of research papers, including empirical and theoretical research, and empirical research based on quantitative and qualitative methods, and highlighting how these distinctions should be reflected in theses respective scientific articles. Additionally, the seminar discussions emphasised the importance of empirical research in the everyday practice of public administration.

Based on our impressions, the PhD students participating in the pre-conference greatly appreciated the open discussions, constructive criticism on the weaknesses and strengths of each paper, and the pragmatic solutions provided by both chairs to improve their texts.


Michiel S de Vries

Chair of the department of Public Administration, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Michiel S de Vries holds the chair in Public Administration at the Radboud University of Nijmegen and is visiting professor at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He is president of IASIA, full member of the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe and member of the editorial board of numerous journals on Public Administration. His research concentrates on local government, public sector reform, policy evaluation, policy change and comparative public administration.

Iwona Sobis

School of Public Administration, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Her research over the period 1995-2010 can be summarised as a collection of in-depth case studies on Western assistance to Central and Eastern Europe during the transition from socialism to a market economy, seen from the perspective of recipients, foreign advisors, donor organisations and responsible politicians. 

Her later empirical research concerns: public sector reforms with a special focus on care for the elderly, performance management, policy evaluation, job satisfaction, and free movement of EU citizens. She lectures on leadership, management, and governance in public administration.

    Invitation to the 33rd NISPAcee Annual Conference 2025