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Ms manners

Deviation is not a good idea. Indeed, the larger the abstract or paper that was accepted, the less you should deviate. Thus, you can deviate significantly from a 300 word abstract, but not much at all from a 3000 word APA paper. If a conference program is competitive to get on, then you owe it to the organizers to deliver what you say you were going to delivery - after all, they rejected others to make space for your particular paper.

early career non-TT

Of course, details will vary based on the particular conference norms, but my sense is that the OP's suggested changes should be absolutely fine. I've many times changed even major aspects of my proposed argument after having an abstract accepted, and no one was upset (nor would there have been any reason for them to be). And so, unless an important detail about this situation has been omitted, I'd say that minor-to-moderate changes to proposed argument structure before the commentator has received the paper shouldn't be any problem.

present the best work you can

I think I agree with Early Career Non-TT (and disagree with Ms Manners). As long as you make sure that any potential commentators (or other people who may read your abstract/paper in advance) have the version you will actually present, I see no reason not to make moderate changes. For one thing, this seems to be pretty common: I have actually seen a lot of talks where speakers state at the beginning that their views have changed, and that they no longer fully endorse the abstract in the program, or even the title. For another, conferences are for presenting work *in progress*. But that entails that your understanding of the issue may still evolve, and may certainly do so in the time between submission and presentation.


Given the disagreement above (and I can see both sides), is there any reason not to just run it by the organizers of the workshop to get a sense of the norms for this particular event?


Deviation is very fine (what's under discussion here is an abstract, not a completed APA paper). It's normal for a paper to change as you actually write the paper.

Paul Carron

Workshops are almost always for works in progress, subject to change. I think you are well within professional norms, but if you're worried I agree that its always a good idea to contact the conference organizers. As a grad student this is a most excellent way to make professional connections that would be very valuable moving forward (not to mention that some of these workshops can be published as edited volumes on very good presses), so communication is key.

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