Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Tips for Writing the Reflective Essay

The reflective essay is the centerpiece of an application for this prize: It unites the research paper or project, resources, and intellectual and creative efforts that brought your work to fruition.

The essay allows you to explain your engagement with and passion for your subject and your material. What drew you to the resources you used? How did you find the material? Keep in mind that books, articles, archives, technical reports, standards, patents, diaries, images, maps, data, and library spaces are all examples of library resources. Did faculty, librarians, classmates, or others help you on your journey, and if so, who and how?

In writing or creating your paper or project, how did you determine what materials were most suitable? What strategies did you employ as you searched collections or gathered data? How did you winnow and refine the resources you found into a meaningful bibliography to support your work and inform your readers?

The reflective essay is the narrative that gives life to your scholarly process.