Awards are given annually to currently enrolled undergraduate students who submit a research project that has been completed for a university credit course and demonstrates significant and meaningful use of the library services and collections at The Catholic University of America.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Lower Level (freshman and sophomore students): one $500 first prize; one $300 second prize
  • Upper Level (junior and senior students): one $500 first prize; one $300 second prize

Submissions must include an essay that describes how the undergraduate used library resources to complete the project. In this context, "library resources" include, but are not limited to, print resources, databases, archives and special collections, and consultation with a liaison librarian. This essay carries the greatest weight in the judging process and effectively demonstrates the library research process. 

Student submissions shall demonstrate clear and effective communication of ideas, superior breadth and depth in the use of library resources, exceptional information literacy skills, and evidence of research potential.

Students should submit the one project that reflects their best work during the calendar year (e.g. January 2020 to December 2020). Team projects are ineligible.

Submissions will be reviewed by a committee comprised of librarians, faculty, and staff.

All winners will receive a cash award and campus-wide publicity.

Award winners will be announced on Research Day, April 21, 2021.

Winning students will submit their projects for inclusion in the University Libraries' Research Repository.

Deadline for submission of application materials: March 6, 2021.

  • Eligibility Requirements

    • Currently enrolled undergraduate students of the Catholic University of America.
    • Research should be conducted for a credit course during the past calendar year (e.g. January to December 2020).
    • Project must be completed prior to submission.
    • Scheduled and attended a library consultation with a CU liaison librarian.
    • Research project submissions limited to English language (or an English-language translation, if the original was done in a foreign language).
    • Allow paper to be hosted in the University Libraries Research Repository site.
  • Selection Criteria

    • Papers will be evaluated on the strength of the student's use of information resources, research strategies, and ability to find and evaluate information.
    • Research should demonstrate creative thinking skills, as well as originality and sophistication in the use of library collections.
    • Research should be organized and presented in a clear and consistent manner.
    • Sources, quotations, facts, and data should be cited correctly and be relevant to the concepts presented. Citations should be formatted correctly and consistently.
    • Research should demonstrate a creative and thorough approach to information discovery, showing an awareness of search techniques (e.g., use of controlled vocabulary, subject headings, filtering, and sorting).
  • Application Process

    Completed applications include 6 parts:

    • Cover Sheet/Application Form: Completed application cover sheet with student name, title of project, title/number of course, name of professor, name of librarian, date of submission to this competition, and a brief abstract describing the project.
    • Reflective Research Essay: A 750-1000 word reflective essay describing research strategies, application of library tools and resources in completion of the project. For an example of questions to address in your essay, see
    • Bibliography: A bibliography or other listing of sources consulted, if not already included in the paper. Follow one of the recognized styles (MLA, APA, Chicago).
    • Liaison Librarian Letter of Support: A letter of support from the liaison librarian who assisted you with the research. (To be sent separately by the librarian; it is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that the statement of support has been emailed or mailed by the deadline.)
    • Faculty Statement of Support: A statement from the CU faculty member or instructor for whose class the research was completed. (To be sent separately by the faculty member/instructor; it is the applicant's responsibility to make sure that the statement of support has been emailed or mailed by the deadline.)
    • Final Version of the Project: Projects in all media and formats are encouraged. All materials will not be returned to the applicant and will become property of the University Libraries collections. The applicant will retain ownership of the intellectual content.

    Digital projects: If web-based, include a URL of the digital project in your Application form (next to the Title of the research/project) along with the other application components.

    If the project is in a format that cannot be submitted electronically, such as an architectural model, CD or DVD, deliver it by the due date in person to Joan Stahl, 315 Mullen Library.

    All necessary documents must be in .pdf or .doc format. Save your files using your last name, Cardinal user name, and the name of the document. For example:


    The Undergraduate is responsible for submitting the 4 parts listed above AND is responsible for directing his/her instructor and the liaison librarian with whom he/she met with to submit the Faculty Statement of Support and Liaison Librarian Support forms by deadline.

    The application is to be submitted to; all questions may also be directed to the same address.

    You will receive a confirmation e-mail after you complete your application process. To be considered for the award, applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on March 6, 2021. Late applications will not be considered.

  • Deadline

    • Applications will be accepted starting November 2, 2020.
    • Final deadline for receipt of applications is March 6, 2021.
    • Winners will be notified by April 10, 2021.
    • Award winners will be announced on University Research Day on April 21, 2021.