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Wyndham Robertson Library Undergraduate Research Awards: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't see your question answered here, please contact Maryke Barber at


Question: I want to enter a project I completed as a sophomore at Hollins. I am now a junior. Which category will I enter in, junior/senior or first year/sophomore?

  • You will be entered in the first year/sophomore category.

Question: I graduated from Hollins last year and would like to submit a project for consideration. Can I do so?

  • No, only current Hollins students are eligible for the award.

Question: I was previously a finalist for the Research Award. May I apply again?

  • Yes! You are encouraged to do so.

Question: I am a previous winner of the Research Award. May I apply again?

  • We welcome an application for you in the other category, but you may not enter again in the same category. Thus, if you won the first year/sophomore award, you may apply again in the junior/senior category -- but you could not apply again as a first year/sophomore. The same applies for the junior/senior category -- if you win as a junior, you may not apply again for the award.


Question: I have two or more projects I would like to enter. May I do so?  

  • Yes, you may enter multiple submissions. 

Question: I would like to enter a project that I completed at another school. Can I do that?

  • No, you must have completed the project as part of course work (or independent study) at Hollins.

Question: I would like to submit a project that I completed while studying abroad. Is my work eligible?

  • Yes, if you are studying and earning credits as part of a Hollins-approved abroad program, your work may be entered.

Question: I'd like to enter a paper that I completed last spring. Can I enter that in the competition?

  • Yes, projects completed in any of the three previous semesters, and J-Terms are eligible.

Question: I did a great deal of research for a fiction story I wrote for my creative writing class. Can I enter the story?

  • Yes, you can. We welcome any project that required research, whether it led to a classic research paper, an activism project, a play, a video, or any other creative work.

Question: I'd like to enter a project that I delivered as a presentation. Can I enter that in the competition?

  • Yes, oral presentations may be entered. You will need to provide a video or transcript and/or PowerPoint slides of the presentation. If you did not tape the presentation when you did it for the class, you may tape the presentation at another time and enter it.

Question: May I submit a group project?

  • Yes, group projects may be submitted under the following conditions:
    • All who worked on the project should also collaborate on the entry essay.
    • The entry essay should be submitted in an email cc'd to all group members.
    • The Faculty nomination must also include all group members.
    • If chosen as winners, group members will share the prize.

Question: May I submit a project I worked on as an Undergraduate Research Fellow?

  • No, because the Research Fellowships are a paid position and a collaboration between students and members of the faculty; finally, unlike courses or independent study, the fellowships are only accessible to a small group of students every year.  



Question: My original project did not require a bibliography of my sources. Can I enter a project without a bibliography?

  • No. If you didn't do a bibliography (or works cited page, or reference list) for the original project, you will need to create one to enter the competition. This is required so that the judges can see what sources you used.

Question: I used Interlibrary Loan extensively for my project, and used very few resources from the Hollins library. Would my project be considered for the award?

  • Yes, the research does not have to have been done with HU library resources.

Question: May a project be revised before it is submitted?

  • Yes, you may revise your work before submitting it.

Question: May a project be submitted in a language other than English?

  • Alas, we are currently unable to accept submissions in a language other than English.


Question: How many finalists are there every year?

  • It is up to the awards committee to determine the number of projects designated as finalists.

Question: Are the awards given every year?

  • It is up to the awards committee to determine whether any project is to receive the final award.

What happens when a faculty member who has recommended a student for the award also serves as a judge?

  • The following measures are taken to avoid conflicts of interest:Faculty members on the judging committee may write an initial letter of recommendation for students for the award. However, in all deliberations of the judging committee, those faculty who have recommended a student for the research award (in either a faculty or advisory role) must recuse themselves when there is discussion or voting involving the application in question.

    • Faculty shall not be present during discussion of whether finalist status will be granted to the application, or any follow-up discussion regarding winners.
    • In voting for winners, faculty members may not vote for an application they have recommended.


Critera Used in Evaluation of Entries

  • Originality, depth and extent of the use of research collections and services, including (but not limited to) print and non-print materials, primary or secondary sources, and databases;
  • Demonstrated ability to locate, select, evaluate and synthesize resources in the creation of an original project;
  • Clear and effective communication skills;
  • Ethical use of information, including appropriate and accurate citations and credits;
  • An essay that provides evidence of significant personal growth in methods of research and critical inquiry.

Advice for Submitting Your Application

The Application Essay

The 250-500 word essay is a critical piece of your application. Here are some suggestions:

  • Tell us about your research process.
    • Why did you approach your research in that way?
    • How did you respond to challenges?
    • Why did you make the research choices you made? 
  • How did you evaluate the sources you found while researching?
  • What have you learned about the process of research?
    • Would you do anything differently if you were doing a similar project now?
    • What tips might you share with other students?
  • Please do not just tell us that you love the library. Please do not just give us a list of databases you searched.

Tip from the judges: errors in your citations and  bibliography can put your submission at risk of being disqualified. Make sure : citations are complete and allow for full identification of sources;   All sources cited in the text of the paper are included in the bibliography (if required by the citation style you are using. Thank you!


The Bibliography

Check your bibliography and correct any errors before you upload your project. 

If your original project did not include a bibliography, you will need to also create a bibliography to accompany the project.


Contact us

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Maryke Barber
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Office: Wyndham Robertson Library, 1st floor, Room 102

B.F.A., Music Theatre, Shenandoah College and Conservatory
M.F.A., Theatre, Virginia Commonwealth University
M.S., Information Science, University of Tennessee
Subjects: Art, Dance, Film, Music , Theatre