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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Western Libraries open research award applications

Western Libraries has been offering the Undergraduate Research Award for the past three years. // Photo by Connor Jalbert
Western Libraries has been offering the Undergraduate Research Award for the past three years. // Photo by Connor Jalbert

Western Libraries is now taking applications for their Undergraduate Research Award, with the winners receiving a $500 cash prize and the opportunity to display their research in Western’s Contributing to Education through Digital Access to Research — an online database that publishes intellectual and creative works from Western students and teachers.

Elizabeth Stephan, one of the judges for the research award, said publication in CEDAR can give student’s work great exposure to people who would not be able to access it otherwise. 

“[CEDAR] gets their work out there. It makes it available and that is really what we want for our students,” Stephan said.

The award is an honor given out annually to three Western students who produce exceptional research papers. The award focuses on students who show skill in “significant inquiry using library resources and collections, and learning about the research discovery and information synthesizing process,” according to the Western Libraries website.

Works published in CEDAR include books, articles, book contributions, presentations and more.

Students’ work will be judged off of their use of multiple library resources, the effective implementation of sources and a demonstration of their skill in researching, according to the evaluation checklist.

Jeff Purdue, a Western librarian and research consultant, will be another judge reviewing submissions.

“Basically, what we are looking for is coherence, the effective use of evidence, the structure of the argument and originality,” Purdue said. 

To qualify for the award, the participant must be an undergraduate student enrolled at Western and must have completed a research paper which demonstrates an original thesis supported by ample research as cited in the paper’s bibliography, according to the award’s selection criteria.

The paper must have been completed for a Western class in 2016 or the fall quarter of 2015. Papers from any field of study are eligible for the award.

Past winners of the award have researched a variety of different topics. Last year’s winners included papers from the fields of sociology, chemistry and human rights. 

One of last year’s winners Ashley Weyers wrote a sociology paper titled “Taking back Birth: Alternative Birth Professionals Empowering Women in Childbirth.” Weyers said in an e-mail she  would reccomend students to put up their research papers.

“Students don’t take advantage of scholarships and awards as much as they should,” Weyers said. “In this case, the work has already been completed, so you might as well submit it for a chance to garner recognition for all of your hard work.”

The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. April 15. The three winners will be announced Sunday, May 15. A ceremony open to friends and family will be held a few weeks after the winners are announced.


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