Library About Research Prize

Library Research Prize

The Library Research Prize recognizes exemplary scholarship through effective research strategies and demonstrated use of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library’s resources, services, and staff expertise.

There are two $1,000 prizes, one for undergraduate students and one for graduate students. They are awarded annually at the conclusion of the Spring semester.

Selection Criteria

Research projects should demonstrate:

  • Sophistication, originality and/or unusual depth or breadth in the use of Library collections and/or services.
  • Exceptional ability to locate, select, evaluate, and effectively use resources in the creation of a project in any format that shows originality and/or has the potential to lead to original research in the future.
  • Evidence of significant personal learning in the methods of research and the information gathering process, and the development of a habit of research and inquiry.


Individual or Team Applicants must:

  • Complete a research project for a credit course at Fairfield University during Summer 2024, Fall 2024, Winter Intersession, or Spring 2025 semester. A draft version of the project is acceptable if final version is not completed by application deadline.
  • For team projects, all members must contribute towards the project. If a team project wins, award will be split equally among members.
  • Be currently enrolled Fairfield University undergraduate or graduate students during the time the research project was created for the assignment. 
  • Agree to contribute research projects and essay to a display about their research mounted by Library staff for public exhibition (in the Library and online). Winners may be contacted for permission to add their submission to Fairfield University's institutional repository, DigitalCommons@Fairfield.

* Cannot be work done as a formal collaboration with a faculty member (with the exception of independent studies) or other non-student researcher, or be research commissioned by an organization or business.

Application Procedure

Application must include the following:

  • Completed online application.
  • A 500-700 word essay describing your research strategies and use of Library tools and resources. The essay is the most important piece of your submission. See the judging rubric. While the content and quality of your final project are important, the selection committee is more interested in the investigative journey you undertook to create that project and how your research skills and understanding/use of Library services, resources, and collections have improved as a result.
  • A draft or final version of the research project, submitted electronically. For media projects, submit a word document or pdf with link(s), if appropriate.
  • A statement of faculty support from the instructor of the class for whom the work was prepared. When you upload your application online, an email with a link to an electronic form will automatically be sent to the instructor named in your application. This form is how the statement of faculty support is provided. It is your responsibility to speak with your instructor well in advance of the deadline so that they are aware that you are applying for the Library Research Prize and that a link will be sent to provide their statement of support.
  • A bibliography or other appropriate listing of sources consulted. Include all sources you used, even if you did not directly quote from them or cite them in your project. Note: The bibliography may differ from your Works Cited or References List since it will include not only your quoted and cited sources, but also your background reading material.


Submissions will be judged based on how well they meet the selection criteria and scored using a rubric.

A panel composed of Fairfield University librarians and faculty will judge entries on the evidence of the applicant's research strategy, process, and personal learning, which will be summarized in the 500-700 word essay. The research project and bibliography are also reviewed and scored using the rubric.

Separate judging will occur in the undergraduate and graduate categories.

In the event the judging panel determines that none of the applications submitted for the research prize is meritorious, no prize will be awarded.

Library Research Prize Reception

Prize winners will be honored at a reception held in the Library, which is attended by University administration, faculty, and staff. Family and friends of the winners are encouraged to attend.

  • The Dean of the Library will present the awards on the first reading day of the Spring semester.
  • The winners (individuals or groups) will give a 10-15 minute presentation about their research projects, followed by a Q & A session.
  • A reception will follow.


Thank you to Fairfield University's Charles F. Dolan School of Business, College of Arts & Sciences, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies, and the School of Engineering for their financial support of the prizes, in addition to the Library's financial commitment.

The DiMenna-Nyselius Library thanks the University of California at Berkeley Library for their guidance in the development of our Library Research Prize, as well as the University of Washington Libraries for their judging rubric.

2024 Winners

Win $1,000

2025 Student Application Deadline: TBD
Faculty Support Deadline:TBD
Winner Notified: TBD
Reception: TBD