Honorees: Amanda Lauren Serafin, honorable mention; Corinne Rose Smith, winner; Gabrielle Allen, winner; and Alexis Angstadt, honorable mention
George Aulisio, Dean of the Library at The University of Scranton, awarded the 2022 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Undergraduate Foundational category to nursing major Corinne Rose Smith; the 2022 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Undergraduate Upper-level category to Gabrielle Allen, a junior occupational therapy major; and the 2022 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Graduate category to Doctor of Physical Therapy students Colleen Berry, Jamie Hreniuk, Bryan Gorczyca, and Nicholas Capobianco.
Currently celebrating its 11th year, the Weinberg Memorial Library inaugurated the Library Research Prize in 2011 to recognize excellence in research projects that show evidence of significant knowledge of the methods of research and the information-gathering process, and use of library resources, tools, and services. In 2017, the prize was named for Professor Emerita Bonnie W. Oldham, who founded the prize at the University in 2011. The Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize was fully endowed in 2019 and consists of a prize of $500 awarded to winning projects in each of the three categories: Undergraduate Foundational (100-level projects), Undergraduate Upper-level (200- to 400-level projects), and Graduate.
Smith, winner in the Undergraduate Foundational category, submitted to the competition her paper, “Aspirin: Your Body’s Best Friend or Enemy?,” completed in Professor Dawn D’Aries Zera’s WRTG 107: Composition course. Tasked with researching an argumentative contemporary issue related to her major, Smith chose the topic of aspirin and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
During an information literacy class taught by a faculty librarian, Smith learned to combine brainstormed keywords in her database searches; apply search filters to limit the source criteria to scholarly, peerreviewed articles published in the last eight years; and critically evaluate the sources she found. In her description of research, Smith explains in doing this she “decided what the purpose of each source was, where it was published, and why it was useful.” She then created a source log, in which she documented the information she learned from each source and which precise portions of the source gave her that information.
These demonstrated methods of research and the information-gathering process led Smith to meaningful insights into the role of research in writing and her wider academic career. In her description of research, she shares: “I have learned a stronger researcher makes a stronger writer. … While I initially felt overwhelmed at the start of my research process, I found the Library’s extensive resources, tools, and services eased the process tremendously.” She offers the metaphor of a traveler to describe the research process, describing “a traveler who journeys from source to source to discover new insights.” She notes the role of curiosity in the research process when she admits, “The more information I found, the more intrigued I became with the topic.” And she shares how work on this paper will extend to her further academic research pursuits when she says, “I believe my ability to write a strong paper has improved tremendously,” where for her the research process is like “taking part in an adventure that could potentially change the face of the future.”
Sponsoring faculty Professor Dawn D’Aries Zera comments on Smith’s project and shares, “As Corinne accumulated knowledge during her research process, she also became more conscientious of the importance of knowing the entirety of an issue … Corinne’s dedication
to applying lessons learned throughout her first year at the University has resulted in a well-researched, timely paper which appeals to a general audience.”
An Honorable Mention award in the Undergraduate Foundational category was presented to Sarah Boyle, a counseling and human services and accounting major, for her paper, “The Population Below the Poverty Line” completed in her CHS 111: Intro to Human Adjustment course for Dr. Paul Datti.
Allen, winner in the Undergraduate Upper-level category, submitted to the competition her paper, “The Effects of Exercise on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: An Evidence Review,” completed in the course OT 350: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods, taught by Dr. Ann Romanosky. For her research, Allen relied on what she had learned about database research starting in her first year at the University. She needed to consult 50 primary research studies, scholarly articles, or peer-reviewed papers about her topic on the effect of exercise on attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; to do this, she identified three sub-topical areas of research which she could target in her searches. She also tracked her research using a spreadsheet designed to organize where she found the source, topical keywords for the source, inclusion and exclusion criteria, the APA citation for the source, and any directly quoted evidence she identified as useful to her review.
Through the research process, Allen discovered new insights into her topic, as well as the related research in her field. In her description of research, she shares: “I soon realized that there is not a lot of research [about this topic] authored by occupational therapists.” Rather than this being a deterrent to gathering evidence on the topic she identified, Allen demonstrated persistence and saw it as an opportunity to further understand the ways her topic is researched in the field. She notes, “I learned that it is common for research teams to be interdisciplinary, rather than just focusing on one aspect of the team.” Allen comments on her “trial-and-error mindset” as a researcher when “figuring out what method of research” worked for her, demonstrating flexibility and an open mind when researching. She concludes her description of research with her plans to design a research study on this topic, and when she does she “plan[s] to utilize the Library’s resources to ensure [her] success in future research.”
Sponsoring faculty Dr. Ann Romanosky comments on Allen’s work on the assignment: “This [Evidence Based Research] paper was labor-intensive and required an understanding of research-level quantitative statistics.” She goes on to share, “Gabrielle’s writing was clear and focused, [she] selected appropriate and current research, [and she] demonstrated great personal growth through this project.”
Honorable Mention awards in the Undergraduate Upper-level category were presented to Alexis Angstadt, a junior in the Occupational Therapy program, for her paper titled “The Efficacy of Combined Mirror Therapy and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation for Amputees with Phantom Limb Pain: An Evidence Review,” completed in the course OT 350: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods for Dr. Carol Coté; and to Amanda Lauren Serafin, a senior accounting and business analytics double major, who submitted her honors project titled “Integrating ESG into the Accounting Curriculum: Insights from Accounting Educators,” completed in the course ACC 489H: ESG/CSR Reporting Research for Professor Ashley Stampone.
Graduate category winners Berry, Hreniuk, Gorczyca, and Capobianco submitted to the competition their project titled “The Effectiveness of Complementary/Alternative Medicine for Pain Management in Postpartum Women: A Systematic Review,” completed in the course PT 773: Scientific Inquiry III for PT, taught by Dr. Renée Hakim. The group members used the Library’s resources to explore topics related to vulnerable populations and landed on the use of complementary/alternative medicine for pain management in postpartum women. They met with a faculty librarian to develop a search string that would capture the research they were interested in, which they used to search in the Library databases in their field, identifying 483 possible articles to review. The Library’s efficient Interlibrary Loan service was critical to their success in accessing and reviewing the articles they identified. Using the citation management platform Zotero and related strategies they also learned in their meeting with a librarian, the researchers narrowed to 22 articles which they proceeded to include in their qualitative analysis of the topic.
This group of researchers went on to have an abstract accepted for presentation at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting. In their description of research, they share the centrality of the Library in the success of their research: “The resources available through the Weinberg Memorial Library made it possible to conduct thorough research with clinically relevant applications that physical therapists may share with their patients, community, friends, and family,” and that “the process of preliminary literature review, article searching and accessing, and compilation of findings would not be possible without the robust resources available through the Weinberg Memorial Library.”
Sponsoring faculty Dr. Renée Hakim commends the student researchers who produced this project and shares, “All group members mastered the methodology through a series of progress reports and revisions which occurred over three consecutive semesters. Their work was very high quality as confirmed by the peer-review process which resulted in acceptance to a national scientific meeting. I am very proud of their accomplishments.”
Prize winners were honored at the Awards Ceremony & Reception held on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in the Charles Kratz Scranton Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library.
Information about the Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize can be found at: http:// www.scranton.edu/libraryresearchprize.
For more information about the Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize, contact Professor Donna Witek, Information Literacy Coordinator at The University of Scranton’s Weinberg Memorial Library, at donna.witek@ scranton.edu.
—Professor Donna Witek, Information Literacy Coordinator