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Win $1000 for Outstanding Research! Enter A Paper/Project in the Annual AU Library Undergraduate Research Competition

This spring, the American University Library is offering two prizes for high quality undergraduate research papers or projects. Each year we receive a number of excellent submissions from students—and once again, we are looking forward to seeing more of your innovative and intriguing work. The prizes that will be awarded this year are:

  • University Library Prize for Best College Writing Research Paper or Project
  • University Library Prize for Best Undergraduate Research Paper or Project

Submission Dates & Prizes

We will begin accepting submissions in January. The deadline for submission is 5:00pm, March 21, 2014.

One prize of $1,000 will be awarded in each of the two prize categories.


The purpose of the prize is to recognize and award American University undergraduate students who make extensive use of the University Library’s collections and show evidence of critical analysis in their research skills, including locating, selecting, evaluating, and synthesizing information.


You must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate at American University to be eligible. Groups and teams are not eligible.
  • Undergraduate papers or research projects that have been completed for a registered American University course, including study abroad courses, are eligible for consideration for the Best Undergraduate prize. Papers or projects prepared for a College Writing class are eligible for the Best College Writing prize.
  • Papers written for Spring, Summer, or Fall 2013 courses are eligible.
  • Honors students may apply, but Capstone Projects are not eligible for this award.
  • Projects may be in any format as long as the creator can demonstrate significant inquiry in the development of the work that involved use of the Library’s resources and collections.
  • The professor teaching the course for which the paper or project was submitted must submit a letter of support, see application procedures.

Evaluation criteria:

Successful projects will demonstrate:

  • Substantial use of Library resources and collections in any format, including but not limited to printed resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media;
  • Ability to locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize Library resources and to use them in the creation of a project
  • Evidence of significant personal learning and the development of a habit of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future;
  • Originality of thought, mastery of content appropriate to class level, clear writing, and a high quality of presentation.

Application Procedure:

Applications may be submitted beginning January 13, 2014 and must be received by March 21, 2014 at 5pm.

To apply, you must submit the following as .doc or .docx files to LibAward@american.edu:

  1. Completed application cover sheet with your name, title of project, title of course, name of professor, date of submission to competition.
  2. Letter of recommendation from the faculty member who taught the course for which the paper or project was prepared. (Refer faculty to the list of evaluation criteria.)
  3. A 500 to 700 word reflective essay describing research strategies and application of library tools and resources in completion of the project.
  4. A bibliography or other listing of sources consulted, if not already included in the paper.
  5. A final version of the project. Written papers should be double spaced and may be of any length. Digital projects should be submitted on a DVD or CD. For other formats, contact LibAward@american.edu

Evaluation Committee:

A committee composed of American University faculty from the library, the College Writing program, and other academic units will evaluate submissions.


Winners will be announced in late spring semester. Awardees will be honored at a special event and will receive a prize of $1000. Awardees may be acknowledged in Library publications and recognized at other appropriate university events, such as the Undergraduate Research Fair. Copies of the research papers may be held in the AU Digital Repository.

Additional Information

You may submit more than one paper, but only one award will be granted per individual. If you have questions about the award, the nomination or application process, contact librarian Mary Mintz or LibAward@american.edu.