$500 Award | Applications due 3/08/2024 | Winners published in Digital Commons
Information Services is excited to announce the winner of the 8th annual $500 Connecticut College Prize for Undergraduate Library Research:
Caitlin Boyd '24
For the project:
"What’s in the Fridge?: Risk of Food Insecurity as an Intersectional Issue"
Written in the Spring 2022 semester for Professor Ana Campos-Manzo's course, Sociology of Health (SOC 238).
An excerpt from Caitlin Boyd's application:
"Before landing on the topic of food insecurity, I was also interested in studying prosthetics or the health of medical professionals. Because these three topics are very different I consulted articles from sociological journals, medical journals, psychology journals, and physiology journals. In order to find these background articles, I used the Connecticut College Library online databases including JSTOR, PubMed, and PsycINFO. It had been through consultations with the librarians during other courses that I learned about these important resources."
"In order to narrow in on my topic, I used search strategies such as the 'find sources cited in this' and 'find sources citing this' features. This allowed me to stay close to my research topic while finding sources that don't match the key word search perfectly."
"In the advanced search function on OneSearch, I have the option to search with an 'and' or an 'or'. Using the 'or' function allowed me to get one search that included 'food insecurity', 'hunger', and 'malnutrition' so that I did not have to worry about missing an important source because of slight differences in vocabulary. Using the "and" function allowed me to search for articles that existed at the intersection of food insecurity and mental health that I was interested in. This project also allowed me to use the Inter Library Loan system available to Conn students for the first time. Through ILL, I easily gained access to two additional articles that would be important to adopting a more global perspective on this topic."
"In order to select which dataset I wished to use, I scoured many databases that I found through Professor Campos-Manzo's recommendations, as well as the Data and Statistics section of the library database. From the library resources, the data.gov search page was extremely helpful in learning what datasets are available for public use. I ended up using the National Survey of Children’s Health, which I discovered through research on CDC-endorsed datasets. Being able to search through raw datasets for relevant data to support my topic was a skill I developed during this research project."
The full-text of winning research statements is available in Digital Commons.
There were many outstanding applications this year and the library prize committee had a hard time separating out individual winners. As a result, a second place runner-up winner was selected in addition to four honorable mentions:
This year's applications were submitted from a variety of departments — including Africana Studies, Biology, Botany, Economics, English, Government, History, Human Development, and Sociology — and once again, from students in all class years, including first years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
The annual prize was awarded for the first time in 2016. It is the first award at Connecticut College specifically created to recognize excellence in the research process. Its purpose is to honor students who have demonstrated excellence in research, and to motivate students to learn and deploy sophisticated research strategies. The competition is judged by a team of librarians and faculty (see Library Prize Committee).
All currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible for the prize, and any student work for a grade (excepting work for honors projects) was accepted. Entrants submitted a copy of their work and a research statement describing their process, along with a bibliography and a note of recommendation from a faculty member.
Students are encouraged to consider applying, and faculty, similarly, are encouraged to suggest that students apply.
The Library Prize Committee is grateful to the Friends of the Connecticut College Library for their generous sponsorship of this award.
The Connecticut College Prize for Undergraduate Library Research is adapted from UC, Berkeley, Library Prize for Undergraduate Research; Temple University, Library Prize for Undergraduate Research.