Research Awards FAQ


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 the library catalog, library databases and online resources available through the McConnell Library website. Students are also encouraged to use books, videos, and other physical items found within the library building.

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 articles 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 finalist and winning essays.

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: 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: Should I apply for the upper division or lower division award?

A: It depends on what your class standing was according to your credit hours at the time you completed your paper or project. The upper division award is for papers and projects written by juniors and seniors, while the lower division award is for freshmen and sophomores. 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: Can graduate students apply for these awards?

A: No, the Winesett Awards are for undergraduates only.

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.

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 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 no more than one semester after completing your project, and meet all other eligibility requirements, your project is eligible for the award.

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: 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 entry will employ exemplary use of McConnell Library 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 McConnell Library.

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: I’m a part-time student at Radford University. Can I apply for the award?

A: Yes.

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: I am an undergraduate, but I completed my project for a graduate class. Can I apply for the award?

A: Yes, your project is eligible because you are an undergraduate.

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 am a distance education student taking courses at another site (Abingdon, Roanoke, etc.) Am I eligible to apply?

A: Yes.