Submission Guidelines

Application Materials

The Library Research Award for Undergraduates requires you to submit a reflective essay, a research project, and a bibliography. You must also ask a faculty advisor to submit a recommendation for you. The following information is intended to help you develop your application and improve your chances for success.

Reflective Essay (30 points)

A critical piece of your application is a 500-1,000 word reflective essay describing your research strategies, and use of library tools and resources. The essay is one of the most important parts of your application and is worth just as much as the research project and bibliography combined! This essay should provide the reviewers with information about your research process and the way you approached your research, responded to challenges, and redirected inquiry, as necessary. Additionally, the essay serves to communicate the specifics about the growth in your understanding and use of information tools and resources in the discipline appropriate to your project.

Your essay must address three broad themes: your process, your search strategy and your use of resources. Consider the following questions and suggestions as you draft your essay. To see the specific criteria used to evaluate the essay read the Evaluation Rubric.



  • What strategies did you use for conducting your search for information? How did you begin, and how did you proceed?

  • Did your approach for finding information change as you learned more about your topic? If so, how? Did anything cause you to redirect or rethink your strategies?

  • What did you learn about the research process as a result of this experience? How will it inform your work moving forward?


Search Strategy:

  • What was your overall approach to finding information on your topic?

  • If you encountered any “roadblocks”  or “dead ends” in finding information, how did you navigate them?

  • If you had difficulty finding sources for information you needed, how did you fill in those gaps?

  • What specific search techniques and vocabulary did you use?

  • How thorough were you in searching for information?  Were you able to uncover unique or hard-to-find sources on your topic?


Resource Use:

  • What specifically did you discover about tools and techniques for research?

  • What library resources or services did you utilize for this research project?

    • Library resources and services may include but are not limited to: research guides, article databases, UW Libraries search, monographs, media, archives and special collections, reference and consultation services (in person or online), subject librarians, and interlibrary loan.

  • What did you learn about finding and evaluating information on your topic or in your discipline? How did you go about selecting the most appropriate sources for your research project? What criteria did you use?

Research Project (20 points)

We accept a variety of research projects for consideration for the Library Research Award. Accepted project formats include but are not limited to:

  • Written research essays or papers

  • Senior thesis or capstone projects

  • Multimodal projects

    • Infographics

    • Podcasts

    • Websites

    • Documentaries

    • Digital Stories
  • Digital scholarship projects

  • Literature Reviews, especially those from the Sciences/STEM

  • Artwork

  • Music composition

  • Performances (video submission)

  • A speech

  • Research posters


To see the specific criteria used to evaluate the research project read the Evaluation Rubric

Bibliography (10 points)

When preparing your bibliography keep in mind these points:

  • Format your bibliography using a style guide appropriate to your project's discipline. See our Citations and writing subject guide for guidance using APA, CBE, Chicago and MLA style guides.
  • Cite all sources you used, even if you did not directly quote from them.
  • Review your project and make sure each in-text citation has a corresponding reference in your bibliography.
  • For long bibliographies, subdividing your sources into categories may be helpful, although an alphabetical list is also acceptable.

To see the specific criteria used to evaluate the bibliography read the Evaluation Rubric