NRPA Research Sessions Call for Abstracts

2022 NRPA Annual Conference
September 20-22, 2022
Phoenix Convention Center
Phoenix, Arizona
Bob Brookover and Dr. Joseph Walker, Co-Chairs


The NRPA Research Sessions (NRS) are a forum to elevate and exchange research related to the advancement and future direction of municipal parks and recreation, recreation-based agencies, and state and national parks and public lands. 

In alignment with NRPA’s three pillars (conservation, health and wellness, and equity), the goal is to fulfill the additional educational needs of the diverse NRPA constituency base by providing a selection of relevant topics addressed by top-notch research. NRS event attendees represent a broad spectrum of people who are engaged in the broader park and recreation field. NRS proposals that provide valuable practical implications for park and recreation professionals are more likely to be selected for presentation. The primary audiences for the NRS are Practitioners and Academics focused on data-based research that can inform the field.

NRS abstract proposals should consist of completed studies OR scholarly/conceptual discussions exploring a variety of research topics pertaining to the park and recreation profession and industry.  Accepted proposals are presented either as formal paper presentations or research posters. All proposals receive the same double-blind review regardless of presentation format. Proposals for all presentations are included in a published book of abstracts, in an electronic file format only.

Proposals submitted for review should contain subheadings identifying an introduction/rationale, methods, results, and application to practice. In the interest of appealing to the broad audience, proposals should provide a heavier focus on the rationale and application to practice sections of the study but with enough detail about methods and results to allow reviewers to assess the rigor of the research. Proposals should not exceed two pages, single‑spaced (see instructions to follow). Formal presentations are allowed 20 minutes and will be featured during our 20-minute “Speed Session” time slots.

Submit Now

The deadline to submit NRS proposals is January 31, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Bob Brookover or Dr. Joseph Walker.


Selection Criteria 

NRPA seeks to fulfill the educational needs of our diverse audience by creating a balanced program that is comprehensive and reflects a multitude of perspectives. NRS proposals will be reviewed for scientific and methodological coherence AND practical applicability. Submitted proposals will be selected based on their contribution to the following criteria:

  1. Overall quality of the proposal
  2. Relevance to the park and recreation profession
  3. Practical application of material
  4. Focused and well-defined topic
  5. Timeliness of topic
  6. Applicability to a national audience

Conditions for Proposals

Only completed studies or scholarly/conceptual discussions may be submitted.

Studies that have been previously published or presented at another professional conference may be submitted, but original research will be given preference. If a proposal containing material that has been published or presented elsewhere is accepted for presentation in the NRS, author(s) are required to inform us and will be asked to provide reference information, and will be responsible for avoiding copyright or plagiarism violations. 

Two or more proposals from the same study cannot be submitted for review under different titles/authorship unless substantially different aspects of the study are represented in each proposal.

All proposals will undergo a blind peer review by reviewers with expertise in the topical area(s) or a related area to which the proposal was submitted. The NRS Co‑Chairs will make the final decisions about acceptance but typically adhere to the recommendations of the reviewers. Proposals may be rejected due to time and space limitations, ineffective development of the 2‑page submission criteria, weaknesses in the study/discussions or that it does not meet the selection criteria (above), or failure to adhere to the standards of the blind review process (e.g., including name/contact information on the body of the proposal or in the properties). For further information see Section I and II below.

Author(s) who have their proposals accepted for poster or speed session presentations are expected to deliver their presentations as assigned during the NRPA Annual Conference. Failure to adhere to this guideline in 2022 will preclude an author from presenting at the 2023 NRS.

Proposals are to be submitted electronically starting October 2021, and no later than January 31, 2022. Abstracts submitted after this deadline will not be reviewed.


The dates provided for reviews and notifications are outlined below, but are subject to change.

  • Call for Abstracts:  October 2021–January 31, 2022
  • Abstract Proposal Notifications: April 2022
  • Revised Proposals Due to Co-Chairs for Book of Abstracts: September 1, 2022
  • 2022 NRPA Annual Conference: September 20–22, 2022

Abstract Preparation Details

I. Specification of Thematic Areas and Format Preferences 

During the electronic submission process, you will be asked to identify which of NRPA’s three pillars (conservation, equity, health and wellness) the proposal best fits.

A. Specify the pillar that best matches the objectives of the study in the order of preference (from the thematic areas that are listed below). Reviewers will be selected and asked to review proposals based on these pillars. Papers accepted for presentation will be re-grouped into coherent themes for the NRS at the Annual Conference.

Thematic Areas

  • Aquatics
  • Career Development
  • Conservation
  • Customer Service
  • Equity and Inclusion
  • Health and Wellness
  • Leadership and Personnel Management
  • Planning, Design and Maintenance
  • Programming
  • Public Policy and Advocacy
  • Public Relations and Marketing
  • Revenue Development

B. The author’s preference for presentation format. Indicate one of the following:

  • Formal presentation: 20 minutes
  • Poster presentation: 2 hours

Note:  Reviewers are not aware of the stated presentation preference. This information in conjunction with time and space limitations is used by the Research Session Co‑Chairs when establishing the final conference schedule.

II. Proposals

A.  Two pages maximum (92 lines total) including all written text. Tables and figures may be added on one additional page, and references may also be provided on an additional page. Abstracts exceeding this page limit or using a condensed font to circumvent page limitations will not be reviewed. A reference list is recommended but not required (see below).

  • Text (including introduction/rationale, methods, results, and application to practice): 2 pages maximum
  • Tables and figures (optional): 1 page maximum
  • References (recommended): 1 page maximum

B. Proposals submitted for review should contain subheadings identifying introduction/rationale, methods, results, and application to practice outcomes; only completed studies or scholarly/conceptual discussion should be submitted. Please limit discussion of theory, methods, and results in the proposals, paying more attention to rationale, discussion, and application to practice outcomes so as to appeal to a broad audience including practitioners and academics.

  • Use 12‑point font Helvetica or Arial (ADA guidelines) and one-inch margins on sides, top and bottom. 
  • Single-space the text.
  • Abstracts must have a title that reflects the general nature of the abstract in 10 or fewer words.

Please do not explicitly identify the proposal authors in your submission as this undermines the blind-review process that will result in a rejected submission.

Do not include any author name in the title of the document when saving (e.g., “2022 Research Session Proposal.docx” NOT “Fulthorp Research Session Proposal 2022.docx”).

Please remove all track changes or comments between authors on the submitted document. Identifying information is contained within these comments.

Add line numbering to the text. In MS Word, go to Page Layout and select "Line Numbers, Continuous.”

The lead author will be responsible for writing the learning objectives for the session for CEUs. 

Abstracts that do not meet these specifications will not be reviewed.

III. Tables and Figures (optional)

Associated tables and figures not exceeding one-page should be attached at the end of the abstract text as a separate page.

Tables and figures should follow the same font and margin format as specified above for abstracts if provided.

All Tables and Figures should be formatted according to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition).

IVReference List (recommended)

A list of references not exceeding one-page (46 lines total) should be attached at the end of the proposal as a separate page.

The list of references must follow the same font and margin format as specified above for proposals if provided.

Reference list should be formatted according to Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition).

V. Application to Practice Outcomes

Provide three observable and measurable outcomes of the research that are applicable to practice. Limit to one sentence (20 words or less) per outcome.

Application to practice outcomes should specify how the research informs practice, and what professionals will learn as a result of attending your session.  Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, or attitudes.

They help to:

  • Focus on learner's behavior that is to be changed
  • Serve as guidelines for content, instruction, and evaluation
  • Identify specifically what should be learned
  • Convey to learners exactly what is to be accomplished

When writing Application to Practice Outcomes, use verbs that are observable and measurable.

Contact Information

Principal author's name, institutional affiliation, mailing address, phone number, fax number, and e‑mail address. It is assumed that, unless otherwise specified, this person will make the presentation if the abstract proposal is accepted.

Information if the sole or the principal author of the abstract proposal is a student.

Full contact details for all co-authors. This includes full name, institutional affiliation, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address.  

The principal author's contact information over the summer (June 1 to Aug. 31), if different from above.

Send Correspondence Regarding Abstract & Timeline to NRS Co-Chairs         

Bob Brookover

Dr. Joseph Walker