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Write an essay of 500-750 words in which you describe the research process you employed as you crafted your paper or project. In the essay, summarize your research strategy, planning process and personal learning. Judges will evaluate your work primarily on the strength of evidence in these three categories. (The quality of the research paper or project, while significant, is secondary).

In addition, judges will evaluate your submission on the following:

  • sophistication, originality or unusual depth or breadth in the use of library collections, including (but not limited to) databases, primary sources, printed resources and materials in all media
  • thorough use of library services, including (but not limited to) Document Delivery Services, librarians' office hours, reference librarians' face-to-face or virtual assistance (IM/text/email) and research consultations with appropriate subject librarians
  • exceptional ability to evaluate, locate, select and synthesize library resources and then use them in the creation of a project in any media that shows originality and/or has the potential to lead to original research in the future
  • significant personal learning and the development of a habit of research and inquiry that shows that the student has acquired information literacy skills that will serve him or her in the future

Questions to consider as you develop your essay

Do not feel that you must explicitly answer each of these, but do think about each before writing your essay.

  • How did you think about and refine your research topic?
  • What specific strategies did you develop for finding relevant information?
  • What specific library search tools did you use, and why?
  • What specific library services (e.g. Interlibrary Requests and research consultations) did you take advantage of, and how did these services support your research? 
  • Did you have trouble finding some types or formats of information and, if so, how did you overcome this challenge?
  • Did your assumptions about what information would be available change throughout the research process?
  • Did you have some reasons for discarding selecting specific resources, even though they appeared promising?
  • What did you learn about finding information on your topic or in your discipline? Was it necessary to move outside your discipline to find sufficient sources?
  • How much did your sources provide support for your thesis or conclusions?
  • How did you balance the evidence that you found?
  • What did you learn about your own research process and style?
  • What expertise have you gained as a researcher?
  • What do you still need to learn?
  • What would you change about your strategies and process if given another chance to conduct this research?