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Christopher Center Library

Library Award for Undergraduate Research

July 2019 update: The research awards have been discontinued, for now. The money is being reallocated to support Valparaiso University faculty's efforts to create open access textbooks, with the goal of reducing student book fees.

Undergraduate students will write a 500 - 750 word essay that demonstrates how they used information literacy instruction and/or library information resources to develop and complete a research project. Students will discuss how they applied information literacy concepts and skills to the research process.



To be eligible for this award, applicants must:

  • Be a current Valparaiso University undergraduate (in any class or discipline)
  • Have completed an individual research project. Group projects may be eligible if either a) both authors submit, and then share the award or b) there was a clear division of labor in the project and the applicant can easily define and talk about their portion. Eligible projects include papers, poster sessions, or any research project that resulted in a presentation.
  • Have completed the project for a credit course at Valparaiso University during the previous calendar year (2018).
  • Allow their work to be publicly displayed in the library and online.

Application Requirements and Procedure

Applications will include the following:

  • Application cover sheet
  • Letter or email sent directly to from supervising instructor indicating that the student was enrolled in the class and completed the research project
  • Essay (500-750 words) describing research process and use of library resources and services (essay tips)
  • Final research project (please do not include your name or class on the paper)
  • Bibliography of sources used in a standard bibliographic format (e.g. APA, MLA)

Do not include research logs or copies of articles.

Submit application documents electronically to:

Application deadline is 5:00p.m. on Friday, March 22, 2019. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.


Evaluation Criteria

A panel of VU library and departmental faculty will judge the entries based primarily on their research essay and how well they demonstrate the following:

  1. Sophistication as well as depth or breadth in the use of the library’s offerings – such use might include, but is not limited to: journal articles, books, and materials ordered through interlibrary loan.
  2. Outstanding ability to locate and evaluate the best-possible library resources in support of the assignment.
  3. Evidence of significant personal advancement in understanding the process of research and inquiry.
    1. Do the resources cited actually support the paper’s thesis, or are they simply included to meet some minimum number of sources required?
    2. Is there clear evidence that the student understands the role of research in crafting a well-written and strongly supported paper?
  4. Complete and accurate citation of all resources used in the paper.

Please click here for more information concerning evaluation criteria.

Past winners:

2018, Jewan Attallah
2017, Leena Aljobeh and Kathryn Fogleman
2016, Emily Lueder
2015, Jared Townley
2014, Lucas Phillips
2013, Holly Buckman
2012, Melanie Mosher
2011, Nicholas Derda
2010, Kristy Shew
2009, Ruth Moberg Foster
2008, Kiersten Camp

Please click on the name of our past winners to see an example of an award winning essay!