Undergraduate Forum: Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of participating in the UTSC Undergraduate Research and Creative Forum? 

The UTSC Undergraduate Research and Creative Forum gives students an opportunity to gain experience disseminating research, scholarship, and creative activities to an academic community, share their research experience with peers and develop their presentation skills. The forum also provides the perfect opportunity for students interested in becoming involved in research to learn more about the accomplishments and research interests of other students. 

All selected finalists will also receive a Certificate of Participation and will receive a notation on their transcript as part of Co-Curricular Record program. Cash prizes of $1000 will be awarded to winners of each presentation stream. Finalists will be invited to have a digital version of their work available in TSpace

What is considered a research or creative project for the purposes of the Forum? 

Acceptable submissions for the Forum can vary widely by discipline.  

Examples of research projects may include lab-based, field-based, experimental or theoretical projects that answer basic and applied questions in your field of study.  

Examples of creative projects may include visual art pieces, creative writing, and performance-based projects.  

If you're not sure if your project is appropriate for this event, check with your liaison librarian

How do I write an abstract? 

Creative Projects: 

Students should submit creative statements as their abstracts.  Creative statements should be introduced to the art, performance, or creative work and include information on media and methods in creating the pieces.  The statements should also include a description of the inspiration for the work, the meaning the work signifies to the student, the artistic influences, and any unique methods used to create the pieces. Students are encouraged to explain the connections of the work with their inspirations or themes.  The statements should be specific to the work presented and not a general statement about the students’ artistic philosophies and approaches.  Effective creative statements should provide the viewer with information to better understand the work.  If presentations are based on previous performances, then students may include reflections on the performance experiences and audience reactions. 

Research Projects: 

Abstracts should include a short introduction or background to put the research into context; purpose of the research project; a problem statement or thesis; a brief description of materials, methods, or subjects (as appropriate for the discipline); results and analysis; conclusions and implications; and recommendations.  For research projects still in progress at the time of abstract submission, students should include their anticipated main findings and indicate that results and conclusions will be presented at the Forum. 

Please see U of T's page on writing abstracts for additional tips. 

What kind of help is available to students who want to participate in the Forum? 

Students are welcome to attend one (or both) of our informal online drop-in information sessions in late January if they have general questions about the proposal or the Forum in general. 

Contact your liaison librarian for help with research skills, writing your abstract and developing your final submission.  

Are group assignments or projects eligible? 

Groups or teams may participate in the Forum. All students that contributed to the assignment must be listed and the prize money will be divided equally among all group members.

Are part-time students eligible? 

Yes. All students registered and completing an undergraduate degree at UTSC are eligible to apply. 

May I apply to the UTSC Research and Creative Forum if I work at the UTSC Library? 

Yes. All students registered and completing an undergraduate degree at UTSC are eligible to apply. 

May I submit multiple submissions for the Forum? 

No. You may only submit one application to the Forum. However, if you are submitting a group poster application, you may also submit an individual application. 

The person who knows the most about my research is not the course instructor, but a teaching assistant. Must the faculty support come from the instructor in charge of the course? 

The faculty support letter must come from either the faculty member or the instructor teaching the course. 

What if my research is taking place off-campus? Does the faculty support letter have to come from a UTSC professor? 

As long as a student is pursuing their undergraduate degree at UTSC, the work being done can be with a professor (PI) off-campus. We will accept the support letter from a U of T professor or PI, or your professor at UTSC, whichever you feel is best. 

I am a faculty member and have been asked to provide a letter of support for a student. Are there guidelines? 

Please refer to the faculty support form.  

I am a finalist, what do I need to submit for the Forum? 

See our Guide to Research Posters & Creative Displays. Finalists will also receive information from the Scholarly Communications Librarian and have the opportunity to discuss their final submission during optional drop-in sessions March 8 and March 16 (Details will be emailed to finalists). 

What is the best way to present if we have a group of two or more students? 

Only one student may present a poster on behalf of a group of students but all students in the group should be at the presentation. 

How do I submit my research poster or creative display?  

You will send your final submission as a PDF document (following the criteria above) via email.  Additional details will be sent to the finalists. 

What are the time limits for my online presentation? 

This year your presentation will be recorded followed by a live Q & A by the judges in Zoom.  Since there will be an interactive component or opportunity for you to provide additional information to the judges during the 3 minute question period, your presentation should be 3 minutes in length. 

Video component questions: Is it just a video of us talking only and we send the PDF or should we be able to superimpose a video of us on top of the poster and walk through it? Are we supposed to just have the poster in presentation view and then our voice over the frame? Should it be my face presenting or just audio? Any particular background setting?

We recognize that not everyone is comfortable with ambiguity but in an effort not to limit your creativity and recognizing that you may all have differing levels of comfort and access to software and video recording capabilities at home during these unprecedented circumstances, we’re leaving how you choose to create your presentation video recording flexible. Regardless of how you decide to present your poster or creative display in your recording, remember the focus is on communication and knowledge translation.

Here are a couple of options for you to consider:

  1. Record your presentation video using a camera, smartphone, or webcam on your computer mimicking a ‘live’ poster presentation as much as possible. If you choose to record yourself standing next to your poster on a screen, you make wish to consider projecting it to a larger screen such as a TV instead of your computer monitor.
  2. Record your video using screen capturing software. Two software options for you to consider are Snagit which is licensed for the University of Toronto or the PowerPoint recordings feature available in Office365. 

How do I use my TV as an external monitor?

If your TV has an HDMI port and your computer has an HDMI port, your TV can then be an external computer monitor.

If your TVhas a USB port, you could also try saving your poster as an image file on a USB, insert the USB into your TV and display your file on the screen.

Google’s Chromecast allows you to send anything you can view in a Chrome browser tab to your TV.  You can also mirror your entire desktop display if desired. Screen mirroring should also work with a phone or tablet. 

Similarly, you can mirror the display of an entire Mac or Apple device to an AppleTV or smart TV that is compatible using AirPlay. 

How should I save/share my video recording file?

Save you video in any standard video file format and email your file to nina.adamo@utoronto.ca with your poster PDF by the submission deadline. If the file is to large to send via standard email, you may choose to use UTSend or upload your file to your OneDrive and then share the link to the file.

May I submit the same research or creative project to the UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Prize or the Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize? 

No. UTSC students cannot submit the same assignment to both the Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Prize and the UTSC Undergraduate Research and Creative Forum and UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Prize

However, UTSC students may submit the same project to both the UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Forum and UTSC Undergraduate Research & Creative Prize. Please refer to their respective websites for additional information on eligibility and submission criteria for each initiative. 

Who are the judges? 

Submissions to participate in the Forum will be judged by a committee composed of UTSC librarians and staff and a representative from the Office of Vice Principal Research and Innovation. 

Judges for the final URCF will be comprised of UTSC faculty and librarians who will evaluate the posters, exhibitions and presentations and select the winners based on the criteria listed below. 

How will the research posters and creative displays be judged? 

A panel of judges from a variety of disciplines will evaluate each submission based on students' presentation of their work, based on the pre-determined evaluation criteria. Presentations, posters and displays should take into account that they may evaluated by judges who are not familiar with their field. The detailed judging rubric and additional information to follow. 

How many prizes are offered? 

There will be one $1000 cash prize offered to the winner of each presentation stream (research project, creative expression project). 

What are the important deadlines for the Forum? 

  • February 17, 2022, 11:59pm EST (firm deadline): Submission of proposals online 
  • Week of March 1, 2022:  Finalists contacted by email 
  • Week of March 1, 2022:  Research Skills & Poster Presentation to be distributed and reviewed by finalists (asynchronously) 
  • March 8, 2022: Finalists must confirm their participation 
  • March 28, 2022, 11:59pm EST: E-Poster & presentation recording submission deadline 
  • April 5, 2022, Time TBC:  Event Day (Presentations & Q & A) 
  • April 2022:  Winners announced 

How will the winners be notified? 

Forum winners will be announced via email, the UTSC Library website and social media channels in April, 2022.  

Any other questions? 

Please email your liaison librarian or s.forbes@utoronto.ca