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Terminology Alert: Lectures/Conferences/Seminars/Workshops/Congress/Symposia

June 2, 2017

We come across most of the below mentioned words sometime in our academic or research life.  Mostly these words are synonymously used; but there are a lot of differences between all these words as given below

  1. Lecture: According to Lecture is a discourse given before an audience or class especially for instruction. We can say that lecture is a discourse on a particular topic given by  the faculty or an expert for a short period of time in a day within the institution orienting the students/participants/attendees the basic or advanced information.
  2. Seminar: According to Seminar is a group of advanced students studying under a professor with each doing original research and all exchanging results through reports and discussions. We can say seminar has a educational connotation. It is within the institution; only the single invited speaker for that event is from outside the institution; the faculty/expert disseminates knowledge in the form of lectures. It has little or no participation from those who are attending.
  3. Conference:  According to Conference is a meeting of two or more persons for discussing matters of common concern. We can say that conferences are organized by Associations, Universities, Research Institutions, Organisations/Institutes/Companies where attendees get information about latest trends and developments in the industry where luminaries in the chosen field of study to enlighten the attendees with their expert knowledge; share opinions, innovative thought and piratical application. It can be for more than one day.
  4. Workshop: According to a usually brief intensive educational program for a relatively small group of people that focuses especially on techniques and skills in a particular field. We can say that its combination of lecture presentation followed by major chunk of time  on practicals or “hand-on-practice” or laboratory work by  practicing the actual concept or technique that was taught through the lecture and demonstration process; actively than by just listening. The number of days to hold a conference can vary from one day to spanning several days.
  5. Congress:  According to Congress is a formal meeting of delegates for discussion and usually action on some question. We can say that it is for not more than a day and attended by leaders in that field, and features a series of invited talks by eminent people from that discipline. It is typically held once a year highlighting the achievements, notable results in that field/discipline.
  6. Symposium:  According to Symposium is a formal meeting at which several specialists deliver short addresses on a topic or on related topics. We can say that  many experts present or deliver their opinions/viewpoints on a chosen single topic of discussion in a single day. Usually discussions are conducted after the experts have presented their speeches on the chosen topic. It is a small scale conference with limited number of attendees/participants/delegates.


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