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Eckles Prize Research Process Essay

As part of the application for the Eckles Prize, please include a 2-3 page Research Process Essay. This essay should be double spaced and use size 12 font. The page limit must be strictly observed. This essay informs the Eckles Prize Committee about the steps you took to develop your research topic, what research strategies you used, and how you identified and evaluated the sources that you used. This essay reveals what you learned from the overall research process and how the experience has helped shape you as a scholar.

Since the Eckles Prize is first and foremost a research prize, the Research Process Essay is the first work that will be assessed by the panel and will be used to push candidates into the second round of judging. 

In order to keep the judging process as impartial as possible, please do not include any identifying information in your Research Process Essay, including;

  • Your name
  • Name of professor associated with this research
  • Name of class for which you completed this research

Below are some questions to help you think about this 2-3 page essay. You do not need to address each one. They are meant to serve as a guide as you reflect on and write about your research experience.

Research Topic

  • Why did you choose your research topic, and how did your topic become an argument? Why did you think this was an important topic or argument for research?
  • Describe the interaction of your research and your developing argument.  For example, where did the main ideas of the argument come from? How did you use those ideas in unusual or original ways? Did your argument change as you researched and, if so, how?
  • Who is the audience for your research?  Why?  How does this essay appeal to the intended audience(s)?

Research Resources

  • What criteria did you use to evaluate the authority, validity, and accuracy of sources?
  • How did you determine which sources addressed your research question most effectively?
  • Describe your strategies for effectively and consistently incorporating and attributing your sources.

Research Strategies

  • Describe your initial research strategy.  How did it change or evolve over time?
  • What challenges, frustrations, successes, or highlights did you experience, and how did you respond to each?
  • How would you use what you learned during this process when conducting research in the future?