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Research Commons: Consultations with specialists and help with software

The Research Commons is pleased to offer specialized support in the following areas. SFU graduate students are encouraged to book consultations with the Research Commons staff and partners detailed on this page. Not finding what you're looking for? Please get in touch with us at so we can discuss your research support needs. 

Liaison Librarians

Liaison Librarians are subject specialists who work closely with SFU departments, providing personalized assistance to graduate students and serving as expert guides to SFU Library's services and information sources, as well as scholarly publishing in your subject area. For more information, and to book a consultation with your Liaison Librarian, please visit this page

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 searching and access
  • data preparation
  • custom subsetting
  • mentoring

For assistance with research data, contact

Data/GIS consultation hours for students and researchers are offered at SFU Vancouver during Spring Term 2020.

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

English as an Additional Language (EAL) Specialist

Dr. Timothy 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 this Consultation Request form.

GIS help and 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 and accessing geospatial data, answering questions specific to your project, and demonstrating software features and techniques.

Consultations are facilitated by the GIS & Map Librarian or the Graduate Student GIS Peers, depending on the focus of the consultation. To book a consultation, please use our GIS consultation request form.

NVivo help and consultations

Graduate Student NVivo Peers 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 Student NVivo Peer, please use our NVivo Consultation Request form.

Important: Graduate Student NVivo Peers 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 Graduate Student Research Programming Peers 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 Graduate Student Research Programming Peer, 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 help and consultations

Tableau is a data visualization package that allows users to manipulate views of datasets and present them in different ways. Tableau allows you to easily visualize data without having to know programming. Graduate Student Data Visualization Peers can assist with orienting researchers to Tableau software. Peers provide support related to working with Tableau software—they do not offer advice on methodological approaches.

To book a consultation with a Graduate Student Student Data Visualization Peer, please email Visual analytics consultations are typically 30 - 60 minutes and are available to researchers from any discipline.

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

The Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics (VIVA) also provides in-depth assistance for data visualization research projects. To book a consultation, please email

Assistant for Theses

To book a consultation for assistance with thesis formatting and submission, use our booking system. Learn more about this service and thesis writing in general on our Thesis assistance pages