Hello, I have a question I’m hoping you guys can answer. I have to present a paper at a conference on HR management about the relationship between the implementation of novel HR practices and their effect on employee motivation and efficiency. Most of the other presenters at the conference (which is on 15th Feb) will be from the same field, and will be presenting papers based on advanced research in Management and HR. My concern is that my research will appear as too simplistic, since it is based on basic data analysis through SPSS software. I am worried about the kind of questions that will be asked in the Q and A session, following my presentation, and about my ability to defend my research paper. Can anyone help me out with suggestions on how to prepare for the post presentation questions?
You could also be asked about how your findings from the present research fit in with the existing research/studies in the subject, do they contradict or agree with existing research. Additionally questions could be based around the core methodology of your paper and the implications of your research for the wider field. In one conference that I attended, a scholar asked the presenter about the limitations of his/her research, so you should be aware of the limitations and shortcomings of your research too. Other questions or suggestions could be about aspects that your research failed to explore or theoretical considerations that your research paper did not explore.
You shouldn’t worry a lot about the nature of the questions you are asked, instead look at them as valuable feedback which you can use to make your research more rigorous and refine it further. Even if a question seems to poke holes in your arguments and focus on the deficiencies of your research, I would advise looking at it constructively, as valuable criticism that you can turn around to your advantage and improvement. As an academic, I have been on both sides, on the receiving, and firing end of such questions, when faced with questions that appeared to be hostile or intended negatively, I tried to respond with civility and in a friendly tone. All the best for your conference!
The best way to prepare for the questions about your paper would be to thoroughly familiarise yourself with all aspects of your research, this would include being familiar with any existing studies resembling your topic and the background to your research. Here are some links to pages that discuss what to expect from questions asked at conferences by fellow academics:
The six best conference questions: Or, how not to paper-bomb at a conference