The Master of Scholarly Resources Award (MSRA) is presented annually to an undergraduate student who has shown outstanding achievement in research methodology and writing. This competitive award is jointly sponsored by the Reinert-Alumni Library and the College of Arts and Sciences. MSRA Recipients are honored with a plaque and a cash prize of three hundred and fifty dollars ($350).
Any undergraduate student may submit a paper written for a course in the College of Arts and Sciences during the spring, summer, or fall semester of the calendar year. Papers must be at least seven pages long, use standard documentation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, or other style specified by the instructor), and include a complete bibliography or works cited list.
This year the due date for submissions has been extended until Friday, May 17th, to include papers submitted for the 2012 calendar year plus papers written during the 2013 spring semester. This is a transitional year that will include allow us to bring the award in line with the traditional academic year instead of the calendar year. Submissions should be delivered to Mike Poma in the Reinert-Alumni Library. All applicants will be notified of the outcome by email when judging is complete, probably by the end of May.
There are three items of documentation required to complete your Master of Scholarly Resources Award submission, in addition to the research paper and bibliography itself:
- Application form (PDF)
- Cover essay
- Letter of support from your instructor
Cover essay - Your cover essay should describe your research process in approximately 700 words (1-1½ pages). Discuss any aspect of your research that you feel is relevant. For example, how did library resources help you focus your topic? What did you learn about the nature of the literature pertaining to your topic? If you used a research strategy, how did it evolve? What if anything surprised you? How much of your research was planned, and how much resulted from unexpected discoveries? How did you evaluate and choose the sources you used?
Letter of support - The letter from your instructor should address characteristics of your paper that distinguish it as an example of outstanding student scholarship and writing. You will need an original, signed copy of the letter to complete your submission package, together with the application form, cover essay, and a copy of the paper itself.
Submissions are evaluated by a panel of judges consisting of two librarians from the Reinert-Alumni Library and two faculty from the College of Arts & Sciences. Additional faculty with expertise in the topic may also be consulted.
The judges consider two broad questions in evaluating submissions. First, does the paper demonstrate excellent and innovative use of library research sources? Second, does it exhibit excellent writing style, with correct bibliographic documentation appropriate to the discipline? More specifically, the judges will look for evidence of:
- skill in selecting and evaluating the sources used;
- appropriate use of an array of primary and secondary sources, including hard copy and electronic formats;
- understanding of appropriate research methodologies;
- ability to synthesize sources used to create an original, well-focused, and coherent text;
- superior ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively; and
- command of standard written English.
The Reinert-Alumni Library and the College of Arts and Sciences welcome all student submissions, and appreciate the faculty who support them with a letter of recommendation.