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Research Guides

Global Studies Task Force: Information Flow: Semi-formal Communications

A visual map to resources

semi-formal communications

semi-formal communications : presenting research-in-progress

working and occasional papers | conference papers | association newsletters

Description: Research data and communication that has not (and may never) make it to formal publication and appears as conference papers, reports for various audiences (including funding sources), working papers, Web pages, etc. 

Types of Semi-formal Communication

Working and occasional papers
Documents such as briefs, essays, white papers, rough notes, calculations, or drafts, assembled or created and used in the preparation or analysis of other documents.  Many of these kinds of papers are prepared by think tanks -- groups that perform research and develop reports and recommendations on topics relating to strategic planning or public policy, and which are usually funded by corporations, interest groups, or governments.

Conference papers
Papers prepared for and presented at professional conferences, conventions, or symposia. These may vary from descriptions of research-in-progress to fully articulated essays or presentations on topics related to the central focus of a research project.

Association newsletters
Communications targeting the members of an organization or professional association, apprising them of the latest events, trends, issues, etc. affecting them.  These are sometimes print version of intranets, blogs, and discussion lists.

Keep in mind ...


  • These tend to be works-in-progress, snapshots of research as it proceeds, not fully-fleshed-out analyses.
  • These sources allow researchers to expand on areas of their work that do not fit neatly into their current project but demand further exploration at another time or by other scholars

  • May be difficult to locate.
  • Conference papers are not always published, and those that are do not always include for publication all papers presented at a given conference. Titles of collected papers may vary from the name of the actual conference, as well.
  • Some papers may be found linked to the presenter's personal or professional Web page as part of their curriculum vita or resume