Award for Excellence in Oversight Research

Oversight Research Award

The award promotes, acknowledges and heightens the visibility of scholarly papers that examine important oversight issues at the national, state, local, or international levels and that contribute to efforts to improve public policy.

Submissions for the Excellence in Oversight Research Award

A core objective of the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy is to advance research on legislative oversight. This award is established to promote and recognize such research efforts. While there exists a body of scholarship concerning oversight, there is a great deal still to be learned about the workings and impact of legislative oversight including how such inquiries can contribute to effective public policy and support fact-based discourse in the public square.

When conducted well, with a commitment to finding the facts and bridging political divides, oversight investigations can strengthen the checks and balances provided under the U.S. Constitution, foster cross-party relationships and civic dialogue, build public trust in legislatures, and improve government programs and public policy. We hope to encourage research that will help scholars, practitioners, and the public define and recognize high-quality oversight and identify meaningful patterns and trends related to its practice and impact on governance and democracy.

The award carries a cash prize of $2,500 and an invitation to present the paper at Wayne State University Law School. 

Please note the award’s NEW timelines: submissions are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year with a cut-off date of June 1. The Selection Committee meets yearly in July. 

Past Recipients of the Award


“The Rise and Fall of Congressional Oversight of the Bureaucracy: The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1969-2018” by Professor Jason MacDonald, West Virginia University


House Rules: Congress and the Attorney-Client Privilege” by Professor Dave Rapallo, Georgetown University Law Center                                                                       

David Rapallo, a man with dark hair wearing a black sport jacket and white shirt.


Oversight Riders” by Professors Kevin Stack and Michael Vandenbergh, Vanderbilt University Law School                                                                                                 


Weaponizing the Office of Legal Counsel” by Professor Emily Berman, University of Houston Law Center                                                                                                             


Criteria and Process for Selection

To be selected for the Levin Center Award for Excellence in Oversight Research, a paper must meet the following criteria:

  1. The submission must include original, timely, publishable scholarly work in the form of an academic article, book chapter, or written product of similar magnitude. 
  2. The submission must be authored by one or more individuals at an educational institution, government agency, public entity, nonprofit organization or similar body.
  3. The submission must target significant legislative oversight issues at the national, state, local, or international level and may include suggestions to strengthen legislative oversight to improve public policy. Papers should examine the history, theory, mechanics, features, incentives, cross-party elements, operations, outcomes, effectiveness or other aspects of oversight conducted by legislative bodies to investigate, establish facts, and address problems in either the public or private sector.
  4. If accepted for publication, submission must occur within one academic year of notification of acceptance.
  5. The submission must not have been previously submitted for consideration.
  6. The author(s) of the submission must agree to allow the research to be promoted through academic channels, including the Levin Center’s website and list-serves.

Submit a Paper


Additional Information

All supporting documents must be submitted in English and be in .DOC, .RTF, or .PDF format.

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Accepted file types: pdf, doc, Max. file size: 128 MB.