The Monroe F. Swilley, Jr. Library Student Research Award

The Monroe F. Swilley, Jr. Library Student Research Award

The 2024 annual Monroe F. Swilley, Jr. Library Student Research Award application deadline is  11:59 PMon February 9, 2024. The winner and runner-up will present at the  Atlanta Research Conference taking place on  April 6, 2024. The winner will receive a $300 monetary prize and a commemorative plaque, and the runner-up will receive a $200 monetary prize and certificate. Team awards will be divided equally among all members. Apply by submitting your proposal to the Atlanta Research Conference and select “yes” for the Swilley Research Award. 


  • Discipline— Research in all disciplines studied on the Atlanta campus, Regional Academic Centers or distance programs is eligible for the Swilley Research Award. 
  • Format Submissions must document the use and application of library information resources in any format. The text must be at least 90% English.
  • Time Frame Research must have been conducted no earlier than August 2023, while a student at Mercer University and using University Libraries’ resources and services. All materials must be received by February 9, 2024 to be considered for the Swilley Research Award.  Projects previously submitted for this award are not eligible for resubmission. 
  • Research ConferenceWinners will present their research at the 2024 Mercer Atlanta Research Conference, on April 6, 2024.

Evaluation Criteria

Submissions will be judged based on the demonstration of the following: 

  1. Sophistication, originality, or unusual depth or breadth in the use of library resources including, e.g. printed resources, databases, manuscripts or archival collections, web resources, and all media; 
  2. Exceptional ability to locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources and to use them in the creation of a project that shows originality and/or has the potential to lead to original research in the future; 
  3. Evidence of significant personal learning and the development of a pattern of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future; 
  4. Evidence of reflection on your own research process. This is a very important component of the entry because it calls upon you to think critically about the decisions you made. The self-reflection about research that you do here may enhance your thinking as you undertake future research projects as a student or a working professional. In 200-700 words, describe the processes you used in doing the research for your project. This description must be in essay format to be considered by the committee. Please do not use Q & A or bullet points. 

You are encouraged to address the following issues in your reflection. 

  • How did you find your sources? (e.g. databases, bibliographies, Google, professors, friends?) 
  • Why did you select the ones you used?  What criteria did you use?  What was it about these sources that made them appropriate? 
  • Were there sources you identified but decided not to use?  If so, why not? 
  • What, if any, difficulties did you encounter in doing your research? 
  • What did you learn about research? 
  • Please feel free to present any other information that you feel will add to your description of the research process. 

Award Notification

The winner will receive a $300 monetary prize and a commemorative plaque, and the runner-up will receive a $200 monetary prize and a certificate. Team awards will be divided among all members.  Completion of a W-9 or (W-8BEN for international students without Social Security numbers) will be required to receive the prize. 

Photographs of the winners may be displayed on the University Libraries’ website. Award-winning research will be featured on the Libraries’ website and will be housed in University Research, Scholarship, and Archives (URSA).  All application materials remain the property of Mercer University Libraries. 

Application Procedure

The Swilley Library Student Research Award application is part of the Atlanta Research Conference application. Select “yes” to apply for the Swilley Research Award on the conference application. Applications submitted by February 9, 2024, will be given full consideration.    

All application packages must include a 200-700 word essay describing research strategies.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

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