2020 Library Research Awards Offer Prize Money

Library Research AwardsThe Guggenheim Memorial Library has announced the 2020 Library Research Awards, in which any undergraduate or graduate student can submit a completed research project for a chance to win $250.

Submitted projects must fulfill the requirements of a Monmouth University course, according to the official submission instructions. Research papers must exceed 10 pages and include a works cited page. Applications must also include a cover sheet, a 100 word abstract or summary, and 500-750 word essay describing the different research strategies and application of library tools the student used to complete their project.

Eleonora I. Dubicki, professor librarian, detailed the contest’s expectations of students looking to apply.

“It’s really just the essay that’s additional,” Dubicki said. “We’re asking students to write about sources they’ve used. The essay is only 750 words, which is about 2 pages or so, but it really is meant to explain what [resources] you used.”

Starting back in 2008, the awards came as inspiration from other institutions with similar student evaluation contests.

“The Dean got behind it right away and said it was great,” Dubicki explained.

A panel of 3 librarians view the submissions, utilizing the rubric to evaluate individually before coming together for a final decision, Dubicki explained. Originally, faculty needed to nominate any submitted papers, but now students are free to submit their work regardless of professor approval.

“The first few years it was moreso history and english [majors], as their traditionally the ones to write a lot of papers. We’ve gotten a whole range in recent years, however,” Dubicki said. “Now we’re getting a lot from the psychology [students], but we’ve also had nursing and health studies [submissions], as well as biology.”

Besides the 10 page paper, students can also submit other forms of work such as posters, presentations, performances, artwork, and multimedia, according to Dubicki. The inclusion of extra submission options comes as an effort to better diversify the competition.

Devon Kelly, a junior year criminal justice major, explained the different types of projects he has considered submitting for the awards.

“Once I found out I could submit something that wasn’t a paper, my options really opened up,” Kelly said. “‘I’ll most likely do some type of multimedia project, since I feel like that works best for the type of information I want to get across.”

The essay evaluation rubric considers the process, search strategies, and research use of the submitted work. Individual’s papers can be considered “developing,” “competent,” or “exemplary”.

In order to receive exemplary status on their submitted work, students must commit to a process that “explains or recreates the search process with clear detail and offers in-depth insights on how the project contributed to overall growth as a scholar,” according to the rubric. Students must also have a “research topic or thesis [that is] focused and clearly stated” during their search strategies, as well as having utilized a “[wide-range] of research tools/services with clear explanation of the impact on their project.”

Jerry Meyer, a senior year English major, discussed his plan to submit work within the confines of the rubric.

“I think the best way to meet the criteria of the rubric will be to speak with different professors,” Meyer said. “I could even go speak to different librarians and see their opinions on it. As long as I have a decent pool of resources to receive critique from, I’m confident I’ll be able to create something that’s still true to myself but also hits the different requirements to have an excellent submission.”

“We want students to be proud of the work they’ve done and all the effort that’s gone into it,” Dubicki said. “Hopefully as they’re writing papers they’ll consider their next one, and the resources that they can use [at the library]. I would like to encourage students to come and speak to a librarian. If you’re doing a major paper, you can make appointments with any of the librarians and talk about the research that you’re going to conduct and then we can help you identify some of the databases.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University