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First-Year Program Library Research Prize

In partnership with the First-Year Program Writing Showcase, DePaul University Library offers its Library Research Prize to honor First-Year Program authors whose essays best exemplify the application of information literacy skills during the research process.

Interested in applying? Read below for more information.


Current DePaul students may enter a researched essay for the Library Research Prize. Researched essays written in Spring '19, Summer '19, Autumn '19 or Winter '20 Quarters for the following First-Year Program courses are eligible: 

  • FYSW 102
  • WRD 102, 103, 103x, 104 and 104x
  • Focal Point Seminars, LSP 112
  • Discover and Explore Chicago, LSP 110 & 111
  • Honors 100, 110, 111, and 180
  • Quantitative Reasoning & Technical Literacy, LSP 120

When & How to Enter

The deadline for entry is April 3, 2020
Entrants should indicate their intention to be considered for the Library Research Prize on the First-Year Program Writing Showcase Entry Form and follow the submission instructions. 


What to Enter

Entrants to the Library Research Prize must submit their researched essay along with a personal "Research Statement"—a 500-1000 word essay reflecting on the author's use of library research tools, sources, and services at each stage of the research process, emphasizing what was learned.  See the Research Statement Guidelines tab for more details about what to include.

Research Statement Guidelines

To be considered for the First-Year Program Library Research Prize, your essay must be accompanied by a “Research Statement” in which you will reflect on your use of library research tools, sources, and services at each stage of the research process, emphasizing what you learned.


Your research statement should be written in the form of a narrative essay and be 500 - 1,000 words in length.  
It will be evaluated on how well you address ALL the following questions:
  • What is your research topic, thesis, or question?
  • How did your research inform or shape your research topic, thesis, or question?
  • What research tools did you use? How did you decide which research tools to use?
  • What search terms or search strategy did you use?
  • How did you decide which sources to use for your essay?
  • What challenges or successes did you encounter during the research process? How did you deal with challenges? 
  • What did you learn from the process?
You do not have to answer these questions in order but your answers should be woven into your statement. Be as detailed as possible and incorporate specific examples from your experience.


Additional Considerations

Below are additional questions you might consider as a way to help you answer the required questions above.  This is not a checklist and you do not need to answer all the questions. Instead, use these questions as prompts to help you identify what were for you were the most significant decisions, strategies, discoveries, and things learned during your research.

  • How did you identify or develop your research topic, thesis, or question? 
  • Did you decide to change or modify it in any way (e.g. narrow or broaden the scope; change it slightly or completely)? If so, how and why?
  • How did you decide what types of research tools to use (e.g. databases; catalogs; reference books; directories)?
  • Which specific research tools (e.g. the names of individual databases or reference sources) did you use, why did you use them, and how well did they cover your topic?
  • How did you decide which search terms to use? Describe the process of developing your search strategy: did you incorporate synonyms, variant spellings, subject terms, or boolean operators (AND/OR) into your search strategies?
  • Did you use any filters, limits, or advanced search features in the databases? 
  • How did you determine which sources were of sufficient or appropriate currency, authority, accuracy, purpose, relevance and scholarliness to use in your essay?
  • To what extent did your search results help support your thesis or answer your research question?
  • How and when did you get help with your research?
  • Were there any steps of the research process that struck you as being significantly more or less challenging than expected? How did you address the more challenging steps?
  • What aspects of your research process did you consider to be the most successful and productive?
  • What did you discover about your own personal style of conducting research?
  • How did your personal style of conducting research change or improve as a result of this project?


Attend an information session to learn more.

  • Information sessions TBD.

The Prize

Up to three authors will receive the Library Research Prize, a personalized certificate and a $50.00 award. Authors will also be invited to share their work at the First-Year Program Writing Showcase.

The Event & Awards Ceremony

Library Research Prize winners will be honored at the First-Year Program Writing Showcase ceremony, 6:00-8:00 p.m. May 20, 2020 in Cortelyou Commons.  Winners will be notified in early May.

Judging of Essays

Entries for the Library Research Prize will be judged by a panel of three DePaul University librarians. Judging and judges for the Library Research Prize will be entirely separate from and independent of judges and judging for prizes administered by the Writing Showcase or any First-Year Program courses and associated departments.


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