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Library Research Award for Undergraduates

Information for Faculty Nominators

Supporting Letter Overview

Students must have a faculty letter of support to submit a complete application package. The letter will become property of the library and will not be returned. You will automatically receive an email from Slate with instructions on submitting your letter when your student submits their application. You can also upload your letter at any time here

Your expert disciplinary assessment of the applicant's project weighs heavily in the evaluation process. The committee is depending on your nomination to inform the following areas of concern:

  • How the student's use of library materials, whether print, online or both, contributed to making the project comprehensive, original, and/or unique
  • The student’s research strategy – please describe the deliberate and structured attempt to develop a plan for a research project or to search various finding aids
  • The strength and merit of the research topic within the discipline
  • Demonstration of creative thought and originality with respect to the paper's or project's thesis or goals
  • The student's overall demonstrated understanding of the discipline and the appropriateness of the research topic's scope within the discipline
  • The depth and breadth of the consulted resources list (e.g., bibliography)
  • The degree to which the student synthesized the various perspectives, data, and fundamentals found in the resources
  • Assessment of how the student complies with standards (e.g. citation style), and how their performance compares to other undergraduate students

For more information, read the Guidelines for Students at

Supporting Letter Requirements

As you work with the ideas expressed above, your supporting letter needs to address the following:

  • The relevance of the project to your assignment prompt
  • The relevance of the project to your course learning goals
  • Whether the sources used were appropriate for the scope of the argument and its method
  • Whether the methods of research and argumentation were consistent with disciplinary standards
  • Other considerations:
    • Include information about any special challenges the student faced in his or her research.
    • Be specific about the role of the student from the initiation through the completion of the research. Was the series of studies conceived solely by the student, or did the student take up a new or long-standing research activity of a faculty member?
    • Ask your student to share a draft of their “Description and Explanation of the Research Process.” This document should be of assistance as you write your letter.

Questions? Email us.