Each student submitted a paper to the conference, presented the paper with a twenty minute talk, and presented a poster that summarises the research at a poster session.
For this symposium the papers include the research problem and motivation for solving it (the background to the problem), the aims and objectives of the research (there has to be a reason for doing the research -- why do we want to solve the problem?), the research methodology (the research needs to be done appropriately), work completed to date, the work plan to completion (the purpose of doctoral research is to gain an academic qualification -- there must be an end to it!), and the contribution of the research to academia (what the research adds to the "body of knowledge" is a vital part of doctoral research).
For those interested, my paper is titled "Reconciling architecture and agility: how much architecture?". The abstract is:
"Software architecture design is an exercise in planning ahead, while one of the key philosophies of agile software development is to not plan ahead. These opposing needs between planning ahead and not planning ahead create an apparent paradox. This research is exploring that paradox, focusing on the effects that the architectural skills, judgement and tacit knowledge of the development team, and the methods that they use, have on the level of up-front architecture design in their agile development projects."...and the full paper is available.