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Library Research Prize

Friends of the Bethel University Library
Library Research Prize

The Library Research Prize concluded in the 2021-2022 academic year and is no longer offered. The Library is discussing new ways to feature excellent student scholarship with Academic Department partners in the future.

The criteria for past awards is below:

The Friends of the Bethel University Library annually awards research prizes to three students who have completed Inquiry Seminar or Humanities III, nominated by faculty members, for excellence in research and use of library resources.

Eligibility and Qualifications

Any student who completes a research paper in Inquiry Seminar or Humanities III is eligible to be nominated. Research by the student should show evidence of substantial use of library resources and indicate academic excellence, including employing effective library research and information literacy skills, constructing arguments supported with evidence, and citing sources appropriately.


$600 to be divided as follows:

  • 1st place $300
  • 2nd place $200
  • 3rd place $100

Three finalists will be announced at the beginning of the following fall semester.

The finalists and their nominating faculty will be recognized at a ceremony during Family Weekend. The finalists will receive their monetary awards during the ceremony, and the first place winner will have his or her name added to a plaque displayed in the library. All finalists agree to have their work added to the Bethel University Digital Library as an example of excellent scholarship.

Students who do not return the following year are ineligible to receive the prize.

Faculty Nomination

Any faculty member who teaches an Inquiry Seminar or Humanities III course during the academic year can nominate one student per semester for the prize using the Faculty Nomination Form.

The faculty support comments included with the nomination should address the following:

  • Student's use of diverse library resources and collections in any format, appropriate to the length of the paper
  • Student's ability to select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources into the creation of the paper
  • Student’s ability to correctly cite their sources in the assigned form of documentation (APA, MLA, etc.)

The deadlines for faculty nominations are listed below:

  • Fall Semester: December 15
  • Interim: January 31
  • Spring Semester: May 15

Student Submission

Nominated students will be contacted by a librarian and then have one week from the contact date to submit a copy of the nominated paper, and a 1 page reflection of their library and research experience. Paper and reflection document files should be in PDF format.

The following questions should be addressed in the reflection in 1 paragraph responses:

  • How did you begin your research? Explain how you came up with your research topic.
  • How did you discover your sources? Which library databases or other information sources did you use? Explain particular techniques or strategies that you used while searching and discovering information. Did you need to get materials from other libraries?
  • Did you seek research assistance from a librarian, a professor, or someone else? If so, how did this interaction impact your research process?
  • How did you select and evaluate the sources you found? Explain which criteria you used for selecting sources.
  • What did you learn during the research process that will help further your academic or professional career?

Criteria for Evaluation

The nominated papers will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Sophistication, originality and/or depth or breadth in the use of library collections, including, but not limited to, printed resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media
  • Exceptional ability to locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources that shows originality and/or used appropriately in support of the topic
  • Citations for all materials done correctly in a standard format appropriate to the discipline
  • Evidence of the applicant's research strategy, research process, and personal learning

Judging Panel

  • Librarians
  • Academic Dean


For more information, please email refdesk@bethel.edu