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Practical Tips from Award Reviewers

Below are some tips to improve your chances of submitting a winning entry, compiled by the Award reviewers who select the award winning projects:

  1. Keep notes on your research process as you proceed. This will assist you with your research as well as with writing your essay. Once you have completed your project, it is often difficult to remember the kinds of decisions you made and the strategies you developed along the way. The UW Libraries provides online access to a research management tools such as Zotero and Refworks and offers help on how to use them.
  2. Take time writing the essay, as this is the most important aspect of your application. Your project will show how you used your references; your personal essay should explain your strategies for finding and evaluating the information sources you identified. It should also indicate what you know and what you have learned about finding and using a variety of types or genres of information relevant to your topic or research problem.
  3. Don’t just use Google™. As effective as it can be for finding certain types of information, there are many more resources available via the UW Libraries. Ask your subject librarian for help.
  4. Provide references in your media presentations and posters as well as in your paper. PowerPoint presentations and other media are excellent visual organization and communication formats; but for this award you will need to show how you used the library and other information sources.
  5. If you are staking a claim or advocating for a point-of-view, discuss both sides of an issue. The richness and persuasiveness of your case may rest on your knowledge of the “other side’s” perspective and your ability to anticipate their objections to your argument.
  6. Cite the source when you make a definitive statement that doesn’t follow from evidence you provide in your paper.
  7. Include a title page with your project and number your pages. Your work should aspire to a level of formal academic work that ranks with the best at the University. Don’t make the readers struggle to navigate your work.