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Library Research Award

Information about the University Libraries research award for students.


The Dean's Leadership Council recognizes exemplary scholarship and creativity through effective research strategies and demonstrated use of resources, including collections, services, equipment, staff or facilities with the Library Research Award (LRA). 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.


Individual or team applicants must:

  • Be a Wichita State University undergraduate or graduate student at any level.
  • Start a research project or creative work for a credit course at WSU during the previous year (summer, fall and spring of the current school year)*. 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.
  • Agree to contribute research projects/creative works and application essay to a display about their research for public exhibition (in library and online, possibly on the LRA library web guide or SOAR). 

*NOTE: The project cannot be work done as a formal collaboration (i.e. not a published paper or conference proposal) with a faculty member or other non-student researcher, or be research commissioned by an organization or business outside classroom work.  


The LRA application should provide evidence that you used library resources and services for your research or creative project. The application must include: 

  • Completed online application.
  • A 500 word essay describing how your use of library collections, services, equipment, staff or facilities was integral to the process of your project/creative work*.
  • A draft or final version of the research project or creative work, submitted electronically. OR
    • For media and creative projects: submit a printout of the first "page" of the project or a thumbnail of the image, URL of the web project, and any other necessary documentation. 
  • A statement of support from the instructor of the class for whom the work was prepared, emailed to by the Statement of Support deadline. See the For Instructors page for details. 
  • One application per person per year will be accepted.**
  • The application must be in English, although the project or creative work may be in another language.

*The essay is the most important piece of your submission! The selection committee is interested in the investigative journey you undertook to create that project and how your research skills and understanding/use of library services, resources, collections, and staff improved your project.

**Students whose name is on more than one application may forfeit the second application. 


Essay Criteria

  • Identify specific library collections, services, equipment, staff, or facilities that were used.
  • Communicate how library resources were relevant to the project.
  • Present evidence in a compelling and persuasive manner.
  • Utilize relevant and convincing information effectively
  • Any quotations or copyrighted material used in the essay must be identified properly. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.
  • For those who used AI Assistance for the research or creative project: Describe how effectively you utilized AI tools to enhance the quality and depth of your project without compromising authenticity or creativity.
Writing Style:
  • Demonstrate strong organization and focus throughout the piece.
  • Effectively introduce and conclude the discussion.
  • Writing style and structure should complement the tone and content seamlessly.
  • Devoid of grammatical errors. 
  • Employs authoritative language with appropriate vocabulary and tone.
  • Essay must be in English. 


Submissions will be judged based on how well they meet the criteria as listed above. A panel composed of WSU librarians will judge entries on the evidence of the applicant's research strategy, process, and personal learning, which will be summarized in the 500 word essay. Research projects should demonstrate: 

  • High level use of library collections, materials/resources (in any format) and staff.
  • Exceptional ability to locate, select, evaluate, and effectively use library resources in the creation of a project in any format.
  • Evidence of significant personal understanding of the information gathering process that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future.

2024 LRA Reception

May 1 at 3:00-4:00 pm in the Digital Scholar Commons, Ablah Library. 

2025 LRA Reception

During week of May 5, 2025; details to be announced.

Terms and Conditions

  • All decisions made by the judges regarding the winners are final.
  • By submitting, you agree to all contest rules.
  • Contest rules are subject to change.
  • Essay winners waive any and all claims of liability against WSU for any damages, injuries, or other losses which relate directly to the prize winnings.

This award will be reported to the IRS as income to the winning student(s) and could affect subsequent Financial Aid eligibility.  

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Wichita State University (WSU) does not discriminate in its employment practices, or in its educational programs or activities on the basis of age (40 years or older), ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a veteran. WSU also prohibits retaliation against any person making a complaint of discrimination or against any person involved or participating in the investigation of any such allegation. Sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking are forms of sex discrimination and are prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, other federal law, and WSU policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding WSU’s non-discrimination policies: the Institutional Equity and Compliance Director (Telephone: (316) 978-3205), Title IX Coordinator (Telephone: (316) 978-5177), or Equal Opportunity Coordinator (Telephone: (316) 978-3186), each located at Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260, Human Resources Building.

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