Monroe Upperclass Research Project FAQs

These FAQs are for current Monroes proposing upperclass summer research projects and applicants to the Monroe Scholar Program.

Please note these deadlines:

  • The Monroe Program application deadline is 12 p.m. on Wednesday, November 9, 2016.
  • Summer 2017 upperclass proposals from current Monroe Scholars are due no later than Wednesday, November 30, 2016

** We strongly recommend that anyone submitting a research proposal make an appointment to meet with a Swem Research Librarian. **

Click on a link below to advance to that section.

General Questions
Proposal Content
Faculty Advisor 
Support / Other Activity During Research
Timeline / Post-Research

General Questions

Where do I get an application / proposal form?
-      Both the Monroe Program application and the upperclass proposal form are online. Students invited to apply to the program and current Monroe Scholars will receive an email with a link to the online form. If you did not, or you no longer have that email, contact [[lmgrim, Lisa Grimes]] as soon as possible.

Is it necessary to do my research project in the area of my major?
-      No. You just have to have sufficient academic preparation to carry out the research.

I joined the program as a sophomore and want to conduct a different research project than the one I proposed when I was admitted  to the program. What do I need to do?
-     Submit your new proposal online by the November 30 deadline using the online Upperclass Monroe application.

Can I get academic credit for my research?
-     Students have used their summer research for independent study courses in the fall following the project. Talk to your project advisor about logistics and about supervising the course.

Who should I talk to about Student Institutional Review Board / Protection of Human Subjects (PHSC) issues?
-     Read and follow the instructions on this page. Your research must be exempted and you must include the exemption information in your proposal.  Information on the required online training module is here.

Are there any requirements during my research?
-     Yes, you are required to blog about your work. The first blog post, an abstract of your project, is due before you may pick up your check. You will make five additional posts during the course of your research, the last of which will summarize the results of your work. Information for joining and submitting to the blog will be provided to you. If blogging will compromise your research in any way, or if it raises issues of ethics or confidentiality, you may request an exemption from this requirement by sending an email to [[lmgrim, Lisa Grimes]]. 

If I'm working on a scientific project that is too large for a single student to complete in one summer, is it ok to collaborate with non-Monroe scholars on the same project? Essentially, is it ok to submit a project proposal where you are working as a member of a team instead of an individual project?
-     Yes.  This happens quite often in the sciences.

Can I still apply for research if I am studying abroad in the Spring before my research? Is there a different process?
-     Yes, you may still apply. The process is all online, so no different than if you were on campus.

I am graduating in May but in a different social class. Can I still apply for the research scholarship?
-      No. These funds are reserved for students that will be returning to the College in the fall following the project.

Proposal Content Questions

How detailed does my proposal need to be?
-     Work closely with your project advisor to put together the strongest possible initial proposal with as much detail as possible.  We understand that you won't be able to include every bit of information in your initial proposal so we ask you for a Project Update Form in the spring.  

What information should be included in my proposal?
-     Your proposal should address the following and should be formatted by section. There is no word limit - you should take as much space as you need to fully address the question / prompt.

Section 1: What do you propose to do / what question(s) do you hope to answer?
Section 2: Explain why you want to do this research. What are your goals in undertaking the project, and why is the project you are proposing the best way of achieving these goals? How will this research help further your academic / intellectual development? Why do you find the work exciting?
Section 3: Explain the relevance of this work in the greater scheme of things / to people besides you and your advisor. Do not use jargon.
Section 4: What coursework or other experience have you had that has helped prepare you to conduct the research you are proposing?
Section 5: Discuss your methodology. What is your research plan? Where do you propose to conduct the research and why is it necessary to be there? Describe the timeline, making sure that the project lasts a minimum of seven full-time weeks.
Section 6: Describe your final product. Consult with your Monroe project advisor on the format that is most appropriate to your project and discipline. While the final product may be an academic paper (written in accordance with the standards, expectations, and format of the discipline), it might also be something else such as a creative work (novel, painting, etc.).
Section 7: Will this project lead to further work, such as continued lab work, an independent study during the academic year, a portfolio, or, eventually, an Honors project? Describe.

Do I need to turn in a budget with my Monroe project proposal?
-     We never ask you for a budget or for an accounting of how you spent the funds. We look at the scholarship as buying seven weeks of your summer so that you can dedicate it to full-time research. While most people use the $3000 toward completing their project, there's no requirement that you do. If you're writing a novel at home, chances are you won't need all of the funding to do so, but we've bought you out of your summer job so that you can get the project done.

Can I still make changes to my project after I submit it for review?
-     Yes, there is a “Project Update” form that advisors for all Monroes conducting research in summer 2017 must submit by March 16, 2017. You should indicate any changes there before giving it to your advisor.

Can I build on research that I am already doing?
-      Yes.

Faculty Advisor Questions

I've never taken a class with my project advisor.  Is that a problem?
-     Absolutely not. You should find the advisor best qualified in the field of your research. This is not always going to be a faculty member you've had in class before.

Can a visiting / adjunct professor serve as a project advisor?
-     Yes.  Any William and Mary faculty member may advise Monroe projects. HOWEVER, if your research involves human subjects and requires Student IRB approval, the person who serves as the PI on your protocol must be a full-time W&M faculty member.

What's the role of the faculty project advisor?
-     The role of the project advisor is to work with the student on the proposal to ensure that the student is proposing a sound research project and appropriate product according to the standards of the discipline. In approving the proposal, the advisor should comment on the strength of the application and the feasibility of the research project given the limits of time and money (seven weeks and $3000) and the qualifications the applicant brings to the project. 

Is my advisor required to work with me over the summer?
-     Monroe advisors are not obliged to work with the student over the summer / during their actual research (though of course some do, particularly those in the sciences where the student is working in their lab). 

How should I go about finding a faculty advisor if I have not taken a class in my area of research?
-     First you should do some research online. Go to the website of the department that houses your proposed area of research and look at the pages of the faculty in that department. If their areas of research are listed, look for one whose research interests match well with your project. If not, email a professor who you know or the head of the department to ask for advice on which professor you should talk to about your proposed research. After these steps, if you still need help finding or choosing an advisor, feel free to come talk to a Peer Scholarship Advisor.

During Research Questions

If my research is on campus is there housing?
-     Housing for Monroe Scholars doing research is free during the two summer school sessions. Housing is not availble before and after summer school.

Is there additional funding for housing if my research is not on campus?
-      Unfortunately, no. 

May I incorporate an internship into my Monroe project?
-     You may incorporate an internship into your Monroe project only if your time is not already committed to another undertaking, and you are able to dedicate at least seven full-time weeks to the project. For example, if you are doing a full-time, seven week, unpaid internship with an environmental non-profit organization and this non-profit permits you to dedicate full-time to your Monroe Project, you are eligible for funding. If your work with the non-profit is a fully paid job, you may not receive Monroe funding because 100% of your time is already committed. Hybrid scenarios - for example, where pay is partial and you can dedicate substantial, although not full, time to your research project - will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
May I use the Monroe scholarship for summer study abroad?
-     No. The funds are intended to support your research. If there is a program where you can take a course that is pertinent to your research, you may count the time you spend on that class toward the seven total weeks. For example, if you're doing a study on Virginia Woolf and the W&M in Cambridge program is offering a course on Bloomsbury, you may use the hours spent in that class toward the seven weeks, but you may not count the entire five weeks of the Cambridge program. You must complete the rest of the seven weeks of research either before or after the study abroad session. You should articulate the timetable clearly in your project proposal.

May I apply for other Charles Center / W&M summer scholarships to support my Monroe research?
-     No. You are not eligible to receive additional Charles Center support during the seven weeks you have identified for your Monroe project, but you may apply for Charles Center summer (or other) scholarships for the part of the summer not covered by your Monroe project. Note that most of the CC summer scholarships require a minimum commitment of seven full-time weeks.

May I apply for external scholarships to support my Monroe research?
-      Absolutely. Be sure that the external funding source is okay with you receiving the Monroe funds as well.

Can I work a summer job / take a summer school class during the time I'm doing my Monroe research?
-     This is handled on a case by case basis so ask Lisa. Remember that you must be able to show that you are dedicating at least 40 hours / week for seven weeks to your Monroe project during part of the summer designated for it. 

Is it okay if I accept REU funding for my research along with the Monroe scholarship?
-      No, with the following clarification. The Monroe grant buys 100% of your time for seven weeks, 40 hours / week at $427 / week, so you may not accept full funding from an outside source. If the REU pays for more than seven weeks of work you may accept the difference. For example, if your REU supports students at $4000 for ten weeks of research, you may work with the REU administrators to get the $1200 for the three weeks not covered by the Monroe grant.

Timeline / Post-Research Questions

Is it okay if I break the research up over the summer instead of doing it for seven consecutive weeks?   

-     Yes, that's fine. For example, you might spend two weeks travelling to collections immediately after classes end and then come to campus to research for the five weeks of second summer session in July and August.

Can I count work done on the project during winter or spring break / during the semester?
-      No. The funding is intended for research conducted over the summer.

Can I work on the research part time for more than seven weeks?
-     Yes, as long as you spend the equivalent of seven full-time weeks (at 40 hrs / week) on the research.

What if I want to spend more than seven full-time weeks on the project?
-     Go for it!

Is working on the project limited to the summer?
-      The seven full-time weeks must be conducted during the summer. In addition, it’s not unusual for students to turn their summer research into an independent study or honors project that continues throughout the fall or the following academic year.

What should be the result of the research?
-      You should work that out with your project advisor. S/he will be able to help you determine what’s appropriate for your field.  Many students finish with a research paper, but that might not be the best product for everyone. For example, if you’re doing a creative project, you might end with a painting, sculpture or novella. Students working in labs might have their lab results as their final products.

May the final product of my research be of the same form as that of a previous Monroe Project I have completed?
-     Yes, the form of the final product need only be something that you and your faculty advisor have agreed is appropriate for your research.

What happens after I finish my research?
-      You will submit your final product to your project advisor who will submit an evaluation to the Charles Center (see below).  You will also post a summary of your work as your final entry to the Upperclass Monroe blog. If appropriate, you may also submit your work to the Swem Digital Repository. All students who receive summer research funding from the Charles Center must present their work at the Summer Research Showcase in the fall following their research (or, if they are abroad, at another Charles Center event as soon as they return to campus).

Is there any evaluation of the project when I'm done?
-     Early in the fall semester following your project you will submit your product to your project advisor and meet with him/her to discuss it. After this meeting, s/he will complete an online evaluation of the project's success in relation to a) the overall goals of the Monroe Scholarship and b) the goals you set out in your proposal.