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FAQS

Listed below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Abell Award in Urban Policy. Should you not find the information you are seeking here or on the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies website, please contact abellaward@jhu.edu. Please do not contact the Abell Foundation for additional information.

WHO CAN APPLY?

The contest is open to all full-time students at the following schools:

  • Coppin State University
  • Goucher College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Loyola University Maryland
  • McDaniel College
  • Morgan State University
  • College of Notre Dame in Maryland
  • Towson University
  • University of Baltimore
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • UMBC
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • Stevenson University

MAY A SUBMISSION HAVE MORE THAN ONE AUTHOR?

Yes, up to two students may submit a paper to the contest. Both co-authors must be full-time students.

WILL MY PAPER BE ACCEPTED IF I HAVE NOT SUBMITTED AN ENTRY FORM AND AN ABSTRACT?

No, only papers with a completed Entry Form received by 4:00 p.m., Friday, October 18, 2013 and an approved abstract received by 4:00 p.m., Friday November 18, 2013 will be accepted for the contest. Once your Entry Form has been received, it will be reviewed for completeness and suitability. A representative of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies will be in contact if additional information or clarification is required.

HOW DO I KNOW IF THE TOPIC I'VE CHOSEN IS SUITABLE?

Your paper should be about a critical problem facing the city of Baltimore. Examples of these problems include, but aren’t limited to: addiction, crime, education and schools, population loss, neighborhood decay, job loss, low-skill workers, transportation, abandoned housing.  These are illustrative topics only.  It is strongly suggested you review Winning Papers from prior years for examples of past topics.

CAN I SUBMIT A TERM PAPER I PREPARED FOR ONE OF MY COURSES?

The answer to this question is most always "no."  While you may wish to leverage the research you have done for a term paper, the specific goals, focus and writing style required for the Abell Award submission differ substantially from the typical term paper.  You should arrive at this conclusion yourself by carefully reading the previous winning papers of the Award.

DOES THE PAPER HAVE TO BE ABOUT BALTIMORE?

Yes.  The paper is not eligible if it is not about Baltimore.

 

WHAT ARE THE JUDGING CRITERIA?

There are four key criteria:  (1) the importance of the issue; (2) the quality of the analysis; (3) the quality of the writing; and (4) the feasibility of the proposed solutions.

 

HOW LONG SHOULD MY PAPER BE?

Papers should be a maximum of 25 double-spaced 8 1/2 x 11 pages, not including tables, references, or appendices. Type font must be 12-point. Please consult the Submission Guidelines for more detailed information.

HOW MUCH OF MY PAPER SHOULD FOCUS ON PROPOSED REMEDIES VS. PROBLEM ANALYSIS?

At least 20 percent of your paper should focus on proposed remedies that are feasible for the city of Baltimore.   Please consult the Submission Guidelines and Winning Papers from prior years for more specific information and examples.

WHAT TYPES OF DATA AND RESEARCH METHODS SHOULD I USE?

All papers should include a literature review. Your analysis may be quantitative, qualitative, or a combination of both. Examples of sources of information include Census data, administrative data (e.g. Citistat and program data); interviews with city officials or other informed sources; and other relevant sources. Please be sure to include a detailed reference list at the end of your paper as well as an addendum containing definitions of any unavoidable technical language used in the paper (see Submission Guidelines).

A special note about the World Wide Web: Use of web resources can facilitate your research, but please be aware that many organizations publish data that are inaccurate or biased toward a particular agenda. You should be careful to ensure that any statistics or data you use are from a verifiable primary source.

HOW SHOULD I CITE MY SOURCES?

Using numerical endnotes for citations to references is the preferred method.  If you choose to use in-text citations, please provide the author's name and publication year in parentheses (Name, Year) and include a Reference List.  Please see the Submission Guidelines for an example.

WHO PICKS THE WINNING PAPER(S)?

All papers will undergo a “blind” review by a panel of judges comprising Baltimore policymakers, opinion leaders, and practitioners and IPS faculty. Note that the judges reserve the right not to make an award if none of the contest entries meets the criteria for importance to Baltimore, quality of analysis, quality of writing, and feasibility of the proposed solution.

WHO CAN I CONTACT IF I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

Additional questions can be addressed to contest sponsors at abellaward@jhu.edu. Please do not contact the Abell Foundation for additional information.