Written Submissions

Two categories for written entries are accepted for the SME symposium: a popular article or an analytic report. Please read each category carefully to determine what kind of paper your entry best matches.


All written entries must follow these requirements:

  • include no identifying information, including name or email, in the header, footer, or body of the paper
  • follow APA Format and Reference Guidelines, including appropriate spacing, page numbers, etc.
  • discuss subject matter in light of previous research, using quality source material (no less than six [6] sources)
  • present sources correctly using summary, paraphrase, and quotation with both in-text and end text citations according to APA guidelines (i.e. no plagiarism)
  • provide 10-20 pages of text (visuals do not count)

Any written entries that do not conform to the above requirement may be disqualified from receiving SME Symposium awards. Here are a few resources to get you started:


Upon submission acceptance (see How to Submit), participants must email their written entry to symposium@slcc.edu three (3) weeks before the SME Symposium (see Important Dates). Please include in your email's subject heading the entry type and your last name such as “Written: Popular Article – Brinton.” Include all contact information (name, preferred email, and phone) in your email to us. Participants are asked to register for the conference during the scheduled time. During the symposium, judges will sit down with participants to discuss the written entry and ask participants for a ten (10) minute overview of the entry as well as any needed clarifications.


A popular article explains a scientific, mathematical, or technological concept, process, product, or finding to a general audience. Participants planning on submitting the popular article should consider:

  • understanding the main purpose of the paper and main purpose for the audience
  • including interdisciplinary discourses such as history, philosophy, literature, humanities, social science, or others to help structure and explain the subject
  • making appeals to the audience's deeply held emotions, values, and beliefs through rhetorical tools such as logos, pathos, and ethos
  • providing personal thoughts and reflections on the subject matter
  • simplifying complex theories, patterns, processes, etc. through easy-to-read prose and figurative language
  • presenting information visually through photographs, figures, or charts
  • avoiding the use of jargon or other discipline-specific terminology

The popular article may take the form of a magazine-like article such as those found in National Geographic, Popular Science, or MIT Technology Review, or it may take on a more creative form like a personal essay.


A research report discusses your research methodology and outcomes on a scientific, mathematical, or technological question for a professional audience. Participants planning on submitting the research report should consider:

  • understanding the main purpose of the paper and main purpose for the audience
  • providing a clear introduction that details the subject, purpose, research question, and thesis
  • discussing key sources that have impacted the participants' inquiry and methodology
  • having a coherent organization and clear prose that illustrates methodological process, summary and discussion of results, and recommendations or conclusions
  • presenting the subject matter according to professional expectations but with an understanding that the writing may still be read or assessed by an outside audience
  • presenting information visually through standard graphic elements such as figures, diagrams, tables, or charts

The research report may take the form of other academic articles and reports such as those published in Science, Nature, or Journal of Engineering and Technology Research.


Judges will assess written reports before the SME Symposium and after meeting with the authors. Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  1. Adherence to General Guidelines (see above)
  2. Content
    • Is the purpose and main point readily identifiable?
    • Does the content follow an easy to grasp structure and order?
    • Is scientific, mathematical, or technological content explained clearly for an appropriate audience of academics, students, and lay audiences alike?
    • Are key points supported by evidence, including cited research, graphics/charts, equations, or rhetorical devices such as logic, appeals, or figurative language?
    • Is evidence relevant and crucial for contributing to one’s understanding of the subject or argument?
    • Is content student's own work?
    • Do the results or conclusions contribute to the understanding, use, or study of the subject matter?
    • Is there any indication of plagiarism?
  3. Style and Format
    • Are texts and graphics balanced, creating a sense of harmony and stability?
    • Are words and images aligned with each other to highlight structures, create content hierarchies, or improve readability?
    • Are related images and words placed into groups and kept separate from other groups?
    • Are style and format choices used consistently to create a sense of uniformity and cohesion?
    • Does color and contrast help organize or highlight content?
    • Are in-text and bibliographic citations present and correctly formatted?
    • Does syntax, grammar, or punctuation impede coherence?
  4. Overall Impression

Winners for the written entries will be announced during the SME Symposium dinner.