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 California State University, Fullerton

CSUF/CSU Student Research Competition

    The California State University Student Research Competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines. Its purpose is to promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity by recognizing outstanding student accomplishments throughout the 23 campuses of the California State University. The contest consists of two phases.

Phase I: CSUF will hold a research competition for students on campus, which will be judged using the following criteria:

  • > Clarity of research or creative purpose
  • > Appropriateness of methodology
  • > Interpretation of results
  • > Value of the research or creative activity
  • > Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity
  • > Organization of the material presented
  • > Presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and general audience

Phase II: Selected students from the CSUF competition will represent the university at the CSU system-wide competition, which will be held this year at California State University, East Bay. Undergraduate and graduate students will compete separately within 10 categories (see below).


    Presentations from all disciplines are invited. Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at any CSU campus, as well as alumni who received their degrees in spring, summer or fall 2013 are eligible. Research presented should be appropriate to the student’s discipline and career goals (proprietary research is excluded). Applicants in the Creative Arts and Design category may present an audio and/or visual record of a performance they have given or a work they have created; the oral presentation should focus on the rationale and historical context underlying their interpretation of the material.

    There are separate undergraduate and graduate divisions for each of the following categories (unless a division has four or fewer entrants, in which case undergraduate and graduate divisions may be combined). Additionally, the CSU East Bay steering committee reserves the right to combine or subdivide these categories or move an entrant from one category to another, as necessary. The 10 categories are:

  • > Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • > Biological and Agricultural Sciences
  • > Business, Economics and Public Administration
  • > Creative Arts and Design
  • > Education
  • > Engineering and Computer Science
  • > Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences
  • > Humanities and Letters
  • > Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • > Interdisciplinary

    Student teams are welcome to apply. But, because of the 10-minute time limit for presentations, it is recommended (although not mandatory) that teams include no more than three students.
    Applicants must be able to attend the CSU system-wide competition to enter the CSUF competition.

Application Process

    Complete an application form and a written summary, plus give a 10-minute presentation at the CSUF Student Research Competition.

To Apply:

1. Send the application form and written summary to by 5:00 p.m. Monday, February 10, 2014.

2. In the subject line of your email, include your last name and “CSUF Research Competition 2014.” For example,
    “Patchen CSUF Research Competition.” Student teams should send one email with every student’s last name in the
    subject line.

3. Attach the application and written summary as two Word documents to your email. Save the application as “Your last
    name CSUF Research App 2014.docx” and the written summary as “Your last name CSUF Research Summ
    2014.docx.” See below for information on how to prepare the written summary. Student teams should send one
    application and written summary.

4. Wait for an email from Student Creative Activities and Research ( with your presentation time.

5. Present your research at the CSUF Student Research Competition. See below for more information.

Application Form

    Click here for the application form.

Written Summary

    The written summary is a description of your research/creative activity (not to exceed five pages). It details the purpose of your project (e.g., what is the problem? Why did you do this project? What are the objectives?), methods you used to test/assess/analyze your project, findings, and a discussion of why the findings are meaningful (e.g., why does this project matter?). The format of the written summaries will vary based upon your discipline. Please speak with your faculty mentor on how best to structure your narrative.

Narratives must follow these guidelines:
> Include title and name(s) of the student(s)

> Must not exceed five doubled-spaced pages.

> Use 12-point font and one-inch margins all around

> Appendices (e.g., bibliography, graphs, photographs, or other supplementary materials) may
   not exceed three pages

> Research using human or animal subjects must have appropriate institutional review approval

CSUF Oral Presentation Competition Preparation

    Each student (or student team) will have 10 minutes to present his/her research or creative activity. It is expected that you will not simply read your narrative. Instead, it is highly recommended that you present using PowerPoint (or a similar software program). The presentation can follow the structure of the written summary. And at the end of 10 minutes, judges will have five minutes to ask questions.

Suggestions for Presentation:

1. Presentation “voice”

a. Be sure your presentation speaks to a general audience. Define key terms that someone outside of your
    discipline may not know. Judges will not be specifically from your discipline, so you need to be sure and clearly
    articulate your ideas. Avoid discipline-specific jargon, when possible.

2. Outline of Presentation

a. Provide a general background on your topic and describe how your project fits into your field/discipline

b. Explain your objectives or research questions

c. Describe your methods

d. Describe key findings. If you have multiple small findings, provide a general summary of these findings

e. Explain why the findings are important and how they can be applied to your field (e.g., can your project results
    help in the prevention of disease? Do your findings help better educate children?
    Does your choreography push past disciplinary obstacles?)

 3. Presentations for Creative Activities

a. If you are presenting a creative activity (e.g., dance performance, poetry), present an analysis of your work.
    To do this, you may include a visual representation of the work (via images or videos), and provide a rationale
    for your topic, historical context and how this piece matters to your particular art discipline.

4. Make sure your PowerPoint slides are easy to follow. Do not include too much text and/or too small text

5. Represent ideas with pictures, graphs and/or charts when possible (versus only text)

6. Avoid reading from your slides. Keep the information on the slides minimal, and speak to the audience

7. Rehearse your presentation multiple times to stay within the 10-minute limit

8. Anticipate possible questions from the judges

    You will be judged on the criteria described above, which are worth repeating here again:

  • > Clarity of purpose
  • > Appropriateness of methodology
  • > Interpretation of results
  • > Value of the research or creative activity
  • > Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity
  • > Organization of the material presented
  • > Presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and general audience



    Two workshops will be offered to students to learn more about the competition and ask questions about their presentation and/or written narrative:

  • > Wednesday, Dec. 4: 1-3:00 p.m. MH-141
  • > Monday, Jan. 27, 2014:12:30-2:00 p.m. EC-605


Important Dates

  • > Feb, 10, 2014 (5 p.m.): Application and written summary due
  • > Feb. 26-28 (exact times to be announced): CSUF Research Competition
  • > May 2-3: CSU System-Wide Competition at California State University, East Bay


Cash Prizes for CSUF Competition Winners

    The office of Research Develop will award:

1st place - $300
2nd place - $200
3rd place - $100

    Faculty members whose students win the CSU system-wide competition will receive $300.

Travel Costs to CSU East Bay

    Travel costs for students selected to participate in the CSU system-wide research competition will be reimbursed by the CSUF Office of Research Development.

Contact Information

    Please contact Drs. Terri Patchen or Nathalie Carrick with questions.