An ADR Research​ Network Roundtable Success Story

An invitation to submit a paper for the 7th ADRRN Roundtable on the Sunshine Coast in December this year was posted on our blog in April.  The function and aims of Roundtable are described in the invitation as:

The Australasian Dispute Resolution Research Network brings together leading dispute resolution scholars and provides a collaborative environment to foster, nurture and enrich high quality research and scholarship. The Network is inclusive and forward-looking and seeks to bring together emerging, mid-career and established scholars to build excellence in the field and provide peer support. Network activities are expressly designed to provide a supportive and collegial presentation environment in which meaningful discussion and constructive feedback are provided to the presenter.

I have been fortunate to attend 5 of the 6 Roundtables to date. There are many positive outcomes of the Roundtables, not least of which is the opportunity to meet and engage with people of like interest who are dedicated to the principles and objectives of ADR. The atmosphere is informal and decidedly collegial. Of critical importance is the opportunity to present a paper for supportive and constructive feedback. Papers are expected to be works in progress and not finished products already accepted for publication. In this respect, the Roundtable presents a golden opportunity to gain input from other scholars in a non-competitive and pointedly helpful environment. Those who give feedback are expected to do so respectfully and constructively. It is a particularly helpful opportunity and environment for HDR students, many of whom have attended Roundtables to date.

I can give you an example. I had put together a paper about the meaning of impartiality in mediation based upon interviews with mediators. I thought it was interesting and useful but it was rejected when submitted to a peer reviewed journal. I thought “don’t they get it?” and then “what do I need to do to improve it?” Apart from rethinking the choice of journal, I became aware that the paper lacked an explicit theoretical framework. I presented the paper at the Roundtable. I was able to ask questions about how it could be improved and in particular what theoretical framework I could use to ground the data I had collected. I was given excellent feedback. A reviewer suggested that to them the central issue and possible framework was justice in mediation – how obvious! Yet I had been too close to the material to see this perspective. In addition, I was able to hear and gather ideas from wider discussions which helped me place my work within other current themes considered by researchers. I reviewed and rewrote my paper. I then presented it at the Non-Adversarial Justice Conference in 2017 and became eligible to submit it to the Journal of Judicial Administration. It was accepted:

Susan Douglas, ‘Constructions of Impartiality in Mediation’ (2017) 26 Journal of Judicial Administration 232.

A researcher’s work life can mean long hours of inward focus – reading, thinking, reading, thinking, talking to one’s self. A HDR student’s lot can feel isolating and daunting.  I have always come away from the Roundtables feeling invigorated by the discussions and nurtured by the collegial atmosphere. I encourage you to send in a proposal for a paper. See details below and …. flowers from Dunedin where the 2017 Rountable was hosted by Otago University.


Deadline for paper proposals: 13 July 2018

(300 word maximum plus short bio, to

Date for notification of acceptance: 31 July 2018

Draft (full) papers + blog post due: 30 October 2018 (to send to participants early Nov.)

For further information, please contact:

Conference Convenors and 2018 Network Presidents:

Sue Douglas and Lola Akin Ojelabi via twice weekly)


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