Winesett Library Research Awards

The Winesett Awards for Library Research recognize creative and original library research completed by Radford University students. Six $800 awards are split evenly between three categories: undergraduates in upper and lower level divisions, and graduate students. These are awarded during the Spring semester for course-related projects undertaken at Radford anytime in the past 12 months. Applications will be due in April 2023. Winners will be announced during the awards ceremony. In addition, the winners' works will be published in the Archives of the Winesett Scholars.


Applicants must:

  • Be a student enrolled in a degree program in any discipline at Radford University. 
  • Have started or completed a research paper or project for a Radford University credit course offered the prevous Spring semester through the current semester: for the Spring 2023 awards, projects completed Spring 2022 through Spring 2023 works in progress will be accepted. 
  • Print, web, and other media projects are welcome.
  • Agree to the exhibition of their projects online and in McConnell Library.

See the Research Awards FAQ for more information about eligibility and other frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What should I include in my essay?

A: This award is meant to recognize student achievement in library research. The judges will be looking for entries which detail how the student used SuperSearch, subject-specific databases, and/or other resources available through the Radford University Libraries. What information-seeking skills did the student learn through the process?  

Judges will also be looking for the essay’s contents to match the research completed for your submitted paper or project. If your essay talks about how useful the library databases are, then your bibliography should reflect sources retrieved from these databases. The more detail you can provide about your research process, the better your essay will be judged.

See the Archives for the Winesett Scholars for examples of winning essays and the judging rubric.

Research done in a laboratory setting and research studies conducted by students would not count for this award. If the student has done extensive library research in conjunction with such a project, however, they are encouraged to apply

Q: I'm an undergraduate: Should I apply for the upper division or lower division award?

A: It depends on what your class standing was according to your class standing in credit hours at the time you completed your paper or project.

  • The lower division award is for freshmen and sophomores.
  • The upper division award is for papers and projects written by juniors and seniors, while
  • The graduate award is for students in a graduate degree program.

If you are submitting a paper written as a sophomore during the previous spring semester, you should submit it for the lower division, even if you are currently a junior. We will confirm class standings with the Registrar’s office.

Lower division and upper division awards are identical, so there is no advantage to applying for one division versus another.

For group projects, the division will be assigned to the highest-ranked student. For example, a project written by two sophomores and one junior will fall into the upper division because of the junior’s rank.

Q: I have graduated from Radford University but completed my research project during the semesters indicated under Eligibility. Is my project eligible for the award?

A: If you graduated in the Fall semester and meet all other eligibility requirements, your project is eligible for the award.  

Q: I’m a part-time student at Radford University, or attending a extended campus (Abingdon, RHEC). May I apply for the award?

A: Yes.

Q: I won a Winesett Award as a lower-division student, but would like to enter to win as an upper division student now.  Is this allowed?

A: Yes; as long as you are entering into a different division and with a different project, you can enter again. Students cannot win the Winesett Award for Library Research more than twice.

Q: I submitted my paper or project last year for the award. Can I submit it again?

A: No, but you can submit another paper or project.

Q: Can I submit more than one paper or project?

A: While not prohibited, we’ve found that students who submit more than one application tend to have less time to work on the essays, resulting in weaker entries. We recommend you choose your strongest item.

Q: My project was completed for a course that took place before the semesters indicated under Eligibility. Can you make an exception and consider my project for this year’s award?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot consider projects completed before the semesters specified.

Q: I co-wrote an article with a faculty member. May I submit the research I did for the article?

A: No, all papers/projects must be completed by students.

Q: I will not have finished my project by the prize deadline. Is it necessary to submit a finished project? Would a draft version be acceptable?

A: Draft versions are given the same consideration as finished projects. However, for the purposes of judging, the more complete a project is the better.

Q: I dropped the class, but did the research and completed my project. Is my project eligible?

A: No, you must have already gotten, or be in the process of getting, credit for the class in order to be eligible for the award.

Q: Are team projects eligible?

A: Yes, as long as all team members are undergraduates. Teams should submit a single application for their project, listing all team members, and all team members should contribute to the essay. Your application will be placed in lower or upper division based on the highest-ranked member. For example, if the project was created by two sophomores and one junior, it would be put in the upper division. If a team project wins, the money will be split equally among the team members.

Q: My project was written in a foreign language. Do I need to translate it to apply?

A: No, you do not. The required 300-500 word essay describing your research strategies must be written in English, but your project itself can be submitted in its original language. An abstract or summary in English might be helpful, but is not required.

Q: I am not a Radford University undergraduate, but I am studying here as part of a Special Registration Program (e.g., cross-registration, education abroad, exchange scholars, intercampus exchange). Am I eligible to apply?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications from visiting students. Applicants must be Radford University undergraduates, meaning students who have officially been admitted to the University.

Q: I wrote a paper for a class that I took at another school, but for which I received Radford University credit. Can I submit this paper for the award?

A: Technically, your paper is eligible, but note that the winning entries will employ exemplary use of Radford University Libraries resources and tools. Although your research may be supplemented by using other libraries, the intent of the award is to highlight our collection and promote Radford University Libraries.

Q: What does my faculty sponsor need to do?

A: The faculty sponsor must complete the online support form. The form’s content will only be seen by the judges. Faculty members with questions may contact one of the Library Research Awards Committee Co-Chairs, Alyssa Archer or Lisa Dinkle.

Q: I can’t contact my professor. Can I submit my application without a faculty sponsor?

A: No, only complete applications will be considered for the awards.

Q: Why is the deadline before the end of the spring semester?

A: In order to award the prizes before students leave for the summer, the deadline must come before the end of classes. If a graduating senior or non-returning student were to win, it would be very difficult to give them the award after they have left campus. Please know that we have set the deadline as late as possible so that students wanting to submit spring semester projects can make as much progress as possible.

Also, keep in mind that while the finished product is certainly important, the library research process is the focus of the awards. For judging purposes, the most important part of the application is the essay describing your research strategy and process, not the project/paper itself. Draft versions will be given the same consideration as completed projects.

Finally, if you are returning to Radford University for the next academic year, you can submit your spring project for next year’s award.

Application Process

Applications for the Spring 2023 open on Wednesday, March 1.

Applications are due on Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

They must include:

  • A draft or final version of your research project, in Word, PowerPoint, or PDF format. The project must include a bibliography of sources used in its creation. 
  • A 300-500 word essay describing your research strategies and use of any library tools and resources in completing your project. Please provide evidence of personal learning and development of research skills. This essay is given the greatest weight in the judging process (see criteria below).
  • A Statement of Support completed by your class instructor. This is a separate form your instructor must fill out in order for your application to be considered complete.

Submit your research project and essay. Please do not submit any other materials, such as portfolios or full-text of sources used.

Selection Criteria

A panel composed of three librarians/library staff, two teaching faculty, and a McSLAB or STAT student representative (when available), will judge entries based on how well they demonstrate the following:

  • Originality, depth, breadth, or sophistication in the use of library collections
  • Exceptional ability to select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources and successfully use them in the creation of a project or paper
  • Evidence of personal learning and development of research skills

The essay describing your research techniques will be given the most weight in the judging process.

Expectations for achievement will be commensurate with the applicant’s class year and the requirements of the discipline.

Helpful Hints

Ask your professor at least one week before the deadline if they would be willing to complete the online Statement of Support form. Your application will not be considered without the completed form.

Your essay is your best opportunity to showcase your use of the library. Make sure the essay reflects work completed for the submitted paper or project. For example, don’t write about your extensive use and love for the library catalog if a quick check of your bibliography reveals you didn’t cite any sources that can be found through the catalog.

Not sure what to write? See essays from past winners at the Archives of the Winesett Scholars and the judging rubric.