Submission Guidelines for SWPA Student Research Competitions


Currently enrolled students may submit their original research as entries in the Psi Chi or SWPA Student Research Competitions.  All competition finalists are scheduled as 20-minute talks in the SWPA program.

Psi Chi Regional Research Award Competition

Students who are Psi Chi members should submit their abstract to the Psi Chi competition in the submission process. Psi Chi gives at least twelve $300 Psi Chi Regional Research Awards. This is the largest monetary award given at SWPA’s student research competition, so all students who are members of Psi Chi should submit their work to that competition. Students who receive the Psi Chi Regional Research Award will be scheduled as 20-minute talks. All submissions to the Psi Chi competition that are not selected as Regional Research Awards will automatically be forwarded for inclusion in SWPA Student Research Competition.

Send questions regarding the Psi Chi Regional Research competition to Dr. Shawn Charlton:

SWPA Student Research Competition

Students who are not Psi Chi members and wish to be considered for an award should submit their abstract to the SWPA Student Research Competition, which is open to both graduate and undergraduate students. This will give twelve $100 Finalist awards. Finalists in the SWPA Student Research Competition will be scheduled as 20-minute talks. Each of these presentations will be judged by at least three SWPA professional members according to a common rubric. The ratings of these judges will be combined to determine a “best paper” winner for the SWPA student research competition (one each at the graduate and undergraduate levels). These “best paper” awards will earn an additional $100 award.

A portion of undergraduate submissions to the SWPA Student Research Competition that are not selected as Finalists, but are identified as exemplars of high quality student work, will be selected for inclusion in an Undergraduate Research Showcase poster session. Students who are members of Psi Chi will be provided a badge to include on their poster when they make their presentation. Selection for the Undergraduate Research Showcase comes with a certificate and $25.

Submission to the SWPA Student Research Competition that are not selected as Finalists or for the Undergraduate Research Showcase will be evaluated for inclusion on the program. Those that are accepted will be placed in general SWPA Student Poster sessions, or as talks, depending on availability. Submissions that fail to meet the guidelines for submission will be rejected for inclusion in the program.

Send questions regarding the SWPA Student Research Competition to Dr. Scott Bailey:

Guidelines for Submissions

The guidelines for submission are the same for both the Psi Chi and SWPA student competitions. A faculty member must sponsor each entry, but cannot be listed as a co-author. The student author(s) will be listed as such and the faculty sponsor will be listed separately as the sponsor. Faculty sponsors may serve as collaborators as the project is carried out, but the writing of the abstract and the creation of the presentation must be the student’s effort. If you wish to have a faculty co-author, then you should submit your work to the SWPA general program, not to the student research competition.

At least one author on the submission must have paid their student member registration fee to be eligible to submit (Do this in the Members Only section)

Submissions must consist of the four following clearly delineated sections: Problem, Method, Results, and Conclusions. Every summary should specify the importance of the problem to the current literature, the procedure used or planned for use to collect data, the preliminary findings of the research or the plan for analysis if data collection is not yet complete, the relevance of the findings or predicted findings to the original problem, and the implications of the research.  Do not include Tables and Figures, but describe results in the submission.

Word length: the summary should be 500 words. Submissions longer than 500 words will not receive consideration. Previously presented or published work is ineligible.

Deadline for submission is Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. 

Remember to apply for the Psi Chi award if you are eligible. If you are not selected for a Psi Chi Regional Research Award, your submission will automatically be included in the SWPA Student Research Competition. There is a separate check box on the student competition form for such students to indicate they are Psi Chi members.  Please check this box to ensure that your abstract is included in the Psi Chi competition, and forwarded if necessary.

Policies for Competitions

  • SWPA will cancel a given competition if the competition in question receives an insufficient number of entries.
  • Psi Chi submissions that are not one of the 12 Regional Research Award winners are automatically included in the SWPA Student Research Competition.
  • The Awards Committee for SWPA Student Research Competition will select 12 Finalists. Non-finalists will be evaluated for the Undergraduate Research Showcase poster session.
    • Qualifying criteria for the Student Research Showcase are:
      • Submissions must adhere to all the criteria in the “Guidelines for Submissions” above
      • Summaries must use past research to pose a novel question in the “Problem” section
      • Summaries must describe in the “Method” section a research design that is suitable for answering the question raised
      • Summaries must present either preliminary data that have already been collected with some initial analyses of those data, or a clear plan for analysis of the data that is appropriate. Preference will be given to completed projects.
      • Summaries must indicate how the results or expected results speak to the question raised and link to future research.
      • The summary must be well-written.


      • Award levels:
        • Psi Chi  Regional Research Awards
          • At least 12 awards given
          • $300
          • Scheduled for 20-minute talk at SWPA
        • SWPA Student Research Competition Awards
          • 12 Finalists selected (proportional among undergraduate and graduate submissions)
          • $100
          • Scheduled for 20-minute talk at SWPA to be judged by 3 professional SWPA members
          • One graduate and one undergraduate talk will be selected for “Best Paper” awards, which also comes with $100
        • Undergraduate Research Showcase Posters
          • Present in the Undergraduate Research Showcase Poster session
          • $25
          • Certificate
      • Non-qualifying papers: Papers that are not selected for any of the above awards will be evalauted to determine if they are acceptable for general presentation at SWPA. Such papers will carry the designation Student Research Submission in the published program. All Psi Chi poster presenters will be given a badge to include either in their PowerPoint (for talks) or on their poster. This badge is given regardless of how the submission places in the competition.

      Principles of Fair Judging:

      • Three judges will screen all summaries and evaluate any talks under consideration for an award.
      • Any judge who has another relationship with the student will recuse him/herself from all aspects of judging that paper. Such a person will not comment to other judges about the student or the paper during the review process, and will not chair any review session during which that paper is considered.
      • “Another relationship” exists when a student is pursuing academic work under the direction of a judge, or when a student is in an academic program in which the judge has supervisory responsibilities for the faculty member who is directing the student’s work. “Another relationship” also exists when there are personal connections between the student and a judge that others could perceive as producing bias.
      • Any student or other SWPA member who perceives the possibility of bias should communicate that concern to the Awards Committee Chair (Dr. Scott Bailey: who will then adjust the review process to eliminate the bias.