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Armacost Library Undergraduate Research Award: ALURA

Two Awards


  • Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • STEM

Recognizing significant differences in research practices, we've decided to provide two award opportunities for undergraduate researchers. Humanities and Social Science scholars value drawing on both a breadth and depth in evidence (books, government documents, scholarly articles, films, news sources, etc.). Science scholars value depth in secondary sources (research/scholarly journal literature) and primary research.  We want to honor both practices equally.

Important Dates

Submissions due: Friday, March 11, 2016

Winners notified: Friday, March 25, 2016

Award Ceremony: (TBD)

Honors Convocation: Friday, April 22, 2016

Winners' research projects due in final form: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

2015 ALURA Winner

The 2015 ALURA Selection Committee recognized Mary Simms for her paper titled "Disease and unrest: The demise of the Iranian monarchy."

Previous Winners

In 2014 the ALURA Committee recognized two scholars.

Michelle Hahn with faculty advisor Dr. John Glover (History)
Michelle Hahn and Dr. John Glover (History)

Mounika Parimi with faculty advisor Dr. Katherine Baber (Music)
Mounika Parimi with Dr. Katherine Baber (Music)

Checklist for Submission of Application Materials

  1. Award Application Form
  2. Research Reflection Essay
  3. The Research Product
  4. Bibliography or other appropriate listing of sources consulted
  5. Letter of Support from Faculty Advisor/Course Professor

How do I apply?

Submit Application Form, Research Reflection Essay, Faculty Statement of Support, and your research project for consideration for the award. Send your application package via email to:

Armacost Library Undergraduate Research Award Committee


2016 Selection Committees

The Armacost Undergraduate Research Award (ALURA)

The proliferation of electronic information has made undergraduate research a much more complex process than in the past. This award was established to reward those students who demonstrate thoughtfulness and creativity in their approach to research and whose work exhibits excellence in critical thinking. We seek submissions from undergraduate students across the curriculum whose research journeys have resulted in a research-based project (paper, poster, exhibition, performance, or other non-traditional research project).

In previous years the ALURA Committee has awarded $500.00 to a single scholar or has split the award between two scholars.

What do we mean by "research"?  For this award we define research as an investigation into the existing scholarship and/or creative production in a particular subject area or in relation to specific research questions.  If the primary focus of your project is lab experiments or data gathering and analysis, your Research Reflection Essay should discuss the current state of scholarship related to your research and how that work helped shape your hypothesis, methodology, etc. 

Who is eligible?

Currently enrolled University of Redlands undergraduate students may submit completed research (or made significant progress toward completing) that

  • was completed (or made significant progress toward completing) while an enrolled student at the University of Redlands.
  • was completed (or made significant progress toward completing) during the application period: January 1, 2015 - March 11, 2016. 

How will you evaluate my research?


The ALURA Committee is looking for evidence of the following in both the research project and Research Reflection Essay:

  • Demonstrate that you know how to form a strategy to identify, locate, select, evaluate and synthesize information in order to form a creative and original research project.
  • Provide a clear explanation of significance of research.
  • Exhibit clarity in organization and presentation of project.
  • Demonstrate that you are able to effectively utilize a wide variety of tools to find and use information (especially library staff, services and resources).
  • Demonstrate responsible use of information by providing appropriate and accurate citations using a citation manual, e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian.
  • Show evidence of significant and meaningful growth in the methods of research and inquiry.

Carefully review the ALURA Rubric so that you know how the selection committee will be evaluating your research project and Research Reflection Essay.

*In the event the Selection Committee determines that no research project meets the criteria outlined above, there will be no award given for that year.

Tips for Writing the Research Reflection Essay

The Research Reflection Essay is a 750-1000 word document is the most important part of your application.  Please note that due to the nature of this award, the Reflection Essay portion of your submission is heavily weighted, and therefore we encourage you to provide us with a thoughtful and thorough reflection of your research experience.

The Reflection Essay provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate the ways in which library research has supported, enhanced, and broadened the academic work you are submitting. Tell us about your research process and how your discovery, choice, and use of sources fit into that process.

The Reflection Essay is a place for you to talk about your engagement with the resources you used.  We want to know how your interactions with library staff, faculty, fellow students, and others, and with library services and collections made a difference in your research.

The research process will vary by discipline, and not every student will interact with library staff, services, and collections in the same way. While the traditional text-based academic genre of the research paper may have more obvious library connections, we encourage students engaged in other kinds of research to think carefully and creatively about how you have searched for, evaluated, and synthesized various information sources throughout your overall research journey. Your lab or field research is likely grounded in a comprehensive literature review, how did gathering and processing that information reinforce or change your research methods in the lab or field? Your research may have culminated in a performance or exhibit, likely informed by background investigation and inquiry; if so, how is that reflected in the final product?

Carefully review the ALURA Rubric so that you know what the selection committee will be looking for in your Reflection Essay.

Meet with your subject librarian to discuss how to write an effective, award-winning Reflection Essay.

Information for Faculty

Each student application must include a Faculty Statement of Support as part of the application package. Your expert disciplinary assessment is an important consideration in the evaluation process. In your letter of support please specifically comment upon quality (including merit within the discipline and student ability); student engagement with library staff, services, and collections; and their collaboration with faculty, peers, and/or community experts in developing and completing the project.

We also ask that you commit to attending the Award Ceremony that will take place the week of April 4-8, 2016 (TBD). At that ceremony student winners and their faculty sponsors speak about the research project and their experience of the research process.

Your letter should include:

  • Your name    
  • Department
  • Contact information: email and phone
  • Title of research paper/project
  • Name of student
  • Course alpha (if applicable)
  • Paper/Project was completed Spring, May or Fall of 2015, or Spring 2016?                                                           

The paper/project and Research Reflection Essay will be judged according to the evalutation criteria outlined on the ALURA Rubric.

Please comment:

  • on the content and quality of the research paper or project, addressing both its merit within the discipline and how it reflects the student’s ability to select, evaluate, and synthesize sources;
  • on the extent to which you think the student's engagement with library staff, services, and collections contributed to an exceptional research paper/project;
  • and on the ways their collaboration with faculty, peers, and/or community experts contributed to the project.