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Celebration of Inquiry
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Undergraduate Research (UGR)
Competition and Evaluation Criteria

Proposal Submissions and Competition

UGR Draft Program
If you intend to submit your undergraduate research to be entered into the UGR Competition, then you must check “yes” in the box labeled “Is this for the Undergraduate Research Competition? on the Celebration online proposal form.

Each UGR presentation will be approximately eight to ten minutes in duration and followed by a five to seven minute question and answer session with the audience and/or reviewers.  For your UGR presentation, please indicate “Other” for SPECIFY LENGTH of presentation and note “UGR” for the specification. Your presentation will be scheduled for this length of time.

The best undergraduate presentation in the UGR competition will earn $500. Also, there will be a $300 and a $100 award for second and third place.

Evaluation Criteria

Each faculty reviewer will use 6 criteria for evaluation of the undergraduate students’ presentations.   The reviewer will evaluate the presentation in each criterion on a point scale of 1 to 5 (Unacceptable, Poor, Average, Very Good, Excellent).  Then, each criterion is assigned a weighting factor as shown below by which the points will be multiplied to calculate the final score.

Criteria (see explanations below)

(1 – 5)

Weighting Factor
Total Score
Originality/Creativity   X   4 =
Methodology/Design/Argument   X   4 =
Evidence of Research   X   3 =
Importance to the Audience   X   2 =
Clarity/Organization   X   1 =

Explanation of Criteria

Presentations should contain seeds of originality – through research methods, new interpretations of text or data, innovative approaches or methodologies, or creative ventures in the arts.

Each presentation should succinctly explain the research methods used in the project, the design approach(es) applied to the research, or the sound argument format utilized to study and present the topic. At least one of these approaches must be explained as it applies to the discipline of the presentation topic. For example, “methodology” may be more appropriate for scientific research, “design” may be more appropriate for applied research or the arts, or ‘argument” may be more appropriate for topics in the humanities.

Evidence of Research
The student presenter should be very clear about the research completed for his/her project up to the point of the presentation, whether complete results or outcomes have been gathered to date or not.  It is acceptable to indicate the research started, but is not yet finished.  While projects are not expected to look like Ph.D. projects, they should indicate significant research done on the topic.

Importance to the Audience
The importance of the research conducted should be made clear to the audience. For example, Why is this type of research or its results valuable to humankind or to a particular group or discipline? The presentation should be convincing in its importance to the audience.

Presentations should be clearly presented and well organized. Good writing skills should be evident in any handouts, PowerPoint slides, posters, or other related presentation tools.  Unclear or poorly organized presentations may hold the promise of the same in the written paper.

Some helpful definitions:

Research paper - This is a paper which includes first-hand data from experiments and surveys. It may include laboratory or field-work and/or research including human subjects (with the guidance of an adviser trained in human subjects research and formal approval of the research project).

Scholarly paper - A paper that uses original and secondary published sources to formulate a question and make a creative contribution to the literature. The paper may be a review and synthesis of the literature or an original paper.

Business plan – Primarily for students in the Wall College of Business. The student conceptualizes a business, including a plan for marketing, finance, and implementation. Students who are interested in entrepreneurship often choose this format that must include applied research.

Educational pedagogy – Primarily for students who are student teaching as part of their education certification. Students create an additional (beyond what is required for student teaching) educational “unit” that includes lesson plans, instructions, and pedagogy. This option will include a formal reflection paper that identifies a unique or new approach, topic or outcome.

Fine arts display or performance - Presentation of a student’s creative artistry (e.g., dance, music, and vocal recitals; art, film, theatrical performance, and photography exhibits). This option will include a formal reflection paper

Portfolio – Primarily for fine arts majors. A formal compilation of a student’s artistry created as part of their fine arts classes. This option will include a formal reflection paper.

Oral presentation Guidelines:

The formal oral presentation should draw upon the informative and persuasive speaking skills developed in core and other courses. Presenters must pay particular attention to:

  • writing, reviewing, and revising a complete sentence outline of the presentation;
  • developing a much shorter “bare bones” outline for the actual extemporaneous presentation; •introducing the presentation in a way that captures audience attention and interest, and previews the main points;
  • developing a main body that presents key points (ideas) and perspectives, analysis, arguments, and results;
  • focusing on a delivery that is well-organized and clearly presented;
  • ending with a summary and conclusion; and
  • using PowerPoint is acceptable as long as the presentation is formal, extemporaneous, and follows the above presentation guidelines.
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