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Research Commons: Consultations with specialists and help with software

SFU graduate students are encouraged to book consultations with Research Commons staff and partners.

Liaison Librarians

To book a consultation with your Liaison Librarian, see Liaison Librarians.

Data Services Librarian

The Research Commons provides resources and services to address the growing use of statistical and numerical data by SFU graduate researchers across many disciplines.  Services include:

  • data access
  • data preparation
  • custom subsetting
  • mentoring

For assistance with research data, contact Carla Graebner.

Digital Scholarship Librarian

To book a consultation for assistance with developing a digital project, open access publishing, or developing an online academic presence, please contact the Digital Scholarship team at

EAL/ESL Specialist

Tim Mossman can assist with:

  • Academic writing: word usage, grammar, sentence structure, making connections between ideas, elaborating and expanding arguments, logical reasoning, paraphrasing  techniques, and more.
  • Academic reading: skimming and scanning, critical reading, comprehension and analysis, and more.
  • Conversational and academic speaking and listening: comprehensibility, presentation techniques, pronunciation, pragmatic competence, and more.
  • To book a consultation with the EAL/ESL Specialist, use our Consultation Request form.

GIS consultations

GIS consultations (typically 30 - 60 minutes) are available to provide in-depth assistance to researchers from any discipline. A consultation can be focused on topics such as the following: introducing GIS, technical issues, searching for geospatial data, answering questions specific to your project, and demonstrating features and techniques.

Consultations are facilitated by the GIS & Map Librarian or the Graduate Peer GIS Facilitator, depending on the focus of the consultation. To book a consultation, please fill out the GIS consultation request form.

Graduate NVivo Facilitators

Graduate NVivo Facilitators can assist with:

  • Orienting researchers to NVivo software for organizing, coding, and analyzing textual, audiovisual, social media and other data.
  • Other uses of NVivo such as organizing literature reviews, and handling survey data.

To book a consultation with a Graduate NVivo Facilitator, use our NVivo Consultation Request form.

Important: Graduate Peer NVivo Facilitators can use sample data to demonstrate the software. If you would like to bring your own project file, please review these pre-consultation guidelines prior to your appointment.

'R' Help and consultations

Workshops on R

Those interested in learning R from an introductory perspective should attend one of the Research Commons workshops on R before booking a consultation.

Help using R software for data analysis

The Research Data Peers for R can help researchers who have questions about using R for analyzing their data. Peers provide support related to code writing -- they do not offer advice on methodological approaches.

To book a consultation with a Research Data Peer for R, please contact

Data anonymization: Please note that any data needs to be suitably anonymized if working with sensitive subjects before meeting with the Peer. 

Graduate Writing Facilitators

Graduate writing facilitators provide support for graduate students working on their theses, term papers, journal articles, grant applications, and other writing related to their graduate studies.

Facilitators work with students one-­on-­one through in-­person consultations and online support at all three campuses and for students working at a distance.

For more information on graduate writing consultations, see Writing Services Offered by the Research Commons.

Visual Analytics consultations

Visual analytics (VA) combines interactive data visualization and analytical reasoning to enable richer insights into many types of data. VA consultations (typically 30 - 60 minutes) are available to provide in-depth assistance to researchers from any discipline. A consultation can be focused on topics such as the following:

  • introducing exploratory data analysis using interactive visualization
  • determining what kinds of additional data might be useful
  • technical issues
  • integrating different types of data
  • answering questions specific to your project
  • demonstrating features and techniques of common visualization methods and tools.

Consultations are facilitated by a member of the  Vancouver Institute of Visual Analytics, part of the SFU KEY Big Data Initiative, either a faculty member or a Graduate Peer Va Facilitator, depending on the focus of the consultation. To book a consultation, please email

Assistant for Theses

To book a consultation for assistance with thesis formatting and submission, use our booking system.