2018 CSUF/CSU Student Research Competition

Information and Guidelines

Application Deadline: Feb. 4, 2018 at 11:59pm

The CSUF Student Research Competition is open to CSUF undergraduate and graduate students from across 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 system.

The contest consists of two phases:

  1. CSUF will hold a research competition for students on campus Feb. 27-March 1, 2018
  2. 10 students from the CSUF competition will be selected to represent the university at the CSU system-wide competition, which will be held at Cal State Sacramento, May 4-5, 2018.

Undergraduate and graduate students will compete together at the CSUF competition, but separately at the CSU system-wide competition (unless there are too few students competing in one of the 10 categories, below).

At the CSU system-wide competition, students will compete in one of the following categories:

  • 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


Presentations from all disciplines are invited. Undergraduate or graduate students enrolled currently at any CSU campus, as well as alumni who received their degrees in spring, summer or fall 2017 are eligible. Research presented should be appropriate to the student’s discipline and career goals (proprietary research is excluded). Applicants in the arts are encouraged to apply and may present an audio and/or visual record of a performance or a work they created; the oral presentation should focus on the rationale and historical context underlying their work (i.e., what previous works influenced your artistic or creative activity).

Student teams are welcome to apply, but cannot exceed two students. Both students must be present and participate in the 10-minute oral presentation.

IMPORTANT: You must be able to attend the entirety of the CSU system-wide competition to enter the CSUF competition. Be sure and check the dates so you know you can attend if selected.

Application Process

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

To Apply:

  1. Send the application form and written summary to scar@fullerton.edu by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.
  2. The subject line of your email should be “Your last name SRC Application 2018.” For example, “Patchen SRC Application 2018.” Student teams should send one email with each team member’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_SRC_App_2018.docx” and the written summary as “Your last name_SRC_Summary_2018.docx.” Student teams should send one application and written summary (with each team member’s last name in the document title). See below for information on how to prepare the written summary.
  4. Wait for an email from Student Creative Activities and Research (scar@fullerton.edu) with your presentation time. You will receive an email by Feb. 12.
  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:

  1. The purpose of your project. Clearly describe: What is the problem or aim of this project? Why did you do this project? What were the objectives?
  2. How your project fits in your field or discipline (cite previous studies or locate your creative work in relation to its artistic antecedents)
  3. Methods you used to test, assess or analyze your project; or artistic mediums
  4. Your research findings or artistic results
  5. A discussion of why the findings/results are meaningful (e.g., Why does this project matter?)
  6. Practical applications or artistic breakthroughs

The format of the written summaries will vary based upon your discipline. Please speak with your faculty mentor on how best to structure your written summary, or attend one of the workshops.

The written summary must follow these guidelines:

  • Include title and name(s) of the student(s)
  • Do 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) do not exceed three pages
  • Research using human or animal subjects must have appropriate institutional review approval (include IRB/IACUC number)

Click here for the required format for the written summary.

CSUF Oral Presentation Competition Preparation

You (or your student team) will have 10 minutes to present your research or creative activity. Do not read your written summary. Instead, present using PowerPoint (or a similar software program) and aim to memorize your presentation (to the best of your ability). You may use note cards to aid in your presentation at the CSUF competition level, but you will not be able to use cards at the statewide competition. Use the structure of the written summary to shape your oral presentation. At the end of your presentation, judges will have five minutes to ask questions about your work.

Suggestions for Presentation:

  1. Speak to a general audience
    1. Define key terms that someone outside of your discipline may not know. Judges may not be from your particular discipline, so you need to be sure and clearly articulate your ideas. Avoid discipline-specific jargon, when possible.
  2. Presentation structure
    1. State your name, class standing (undergraduate/graduate) and field of study (include this information on your first slide, along with your project title)
    2. State your topic or project focus
    3. Provide a general background on your topic and describe how your project fits into your field/discipline
    4. Explain your objectives or research questions
    5. Describe your methods or artistic medium(s)
    6. Describe key findings or project results. If you have multiple small findings, provide a general summary of findings
    7. Explain why the findings or creation are important and how they can be applied to your field (e.g., can your project results help in preventing disease? Do your findings help better educate children? Does your choreography push past disciplinary obstacles? Does your drawing challenge conventional notions?)
  3. Presentations for creative activities
    1. 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, artistic medium(s) 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 or too small text (aim to keep the font larger than 22 point)
  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

Judges at the CSUF competition will be from a broad range of disciplines. Judges at the CSU competition will be from students’ general academic or professional disciplines, but they may not be familiar with your specific area of study. For example, civil engineering students may be judged by mechanical and electrical engineers. 

You will be judged on the following criteria (at the CSUF and CSU system-wide competition):

  • Clarity of purpose of research or creative activity
  • 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

Workshops, Important Dates, Prizes, Additional Information


There will be two workshops to learn more about the competition, the written summary and preparing a winning PowerPoint presentation. You are strongly encouraged to attend one of them:

  • Nov. 28, noon-1 p.m., EC-605
  • Jan. 29, noon-1 p.m., EC-605

Important Dates

  • Application and written summary deadline: 11:59 p.m., Feb. 4, 2018
  • CSUF Research Competition: Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2018
  • CSU System-Wide Competition: May 4-5, 2018, Cal State Sacramento

Prizes for Winners of the CSUF Competition

The CSUF Office of Research and Sponsored Projects will award $75 for each of the 10 finalists who advance to the CSU system-wide competition. Student teams will split the $75.

CSU Competition Travel Costs

Travel costs for students selected to participate in the CSU system-wide research competition will be paid for the CSUF Office of Research and Sponsored Projects (ORSP).

Contact Information

Please contact Drs. Nathalie Carrick or Terri Patchen, Faculty Fellows for Student Creative activities and Research (SCAR), with questions.

2017 Student Research Competition Winners