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Research Commons services at SFU Vancouver

Writing support

SFU Vancouver graduate students can access various types of writing support through the Research Commons. Graduate Writing Facilitators are available for one-on-one writing consultations, or you can meet with a facilitator to get feedback on the content of an upcoming presentation. Read Ahead consultations provide intensive and extended support for graduate students writing theses, projects, or other longer papers.

Please visit Writing services to find out more or to request an appointment.

Our Graduate Open Writing Lab: Write Time, Write Space provides a quiet, dedicated space for graduate students to work on their writing at SFU Vancouver. A Graduate Writing Facilitator will be available for consultations and to answer questions. Registration not required - please drop in!

Graduate Open Writing Lab - Fridays, May 10 to August 16, 2019, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, SFU Vancouver, Harbour Centre, Room HC 7400. Note: on May 10, the session will take place in Room HC 1425, from 1:30pm to 4:30pm.

Writing workshops at SFU Vancouver are included in the list of graduate workshops below.

Thesis support

The Library's Assistant for Theses is available to meet with graduate students for formatting and thesis submission assistance.  Appointments can be made using the Research Commons' consultation booking software.  In-person appointments are available at all three campuses.

ESL/EAL support

Please use our Consultation Request form to book a consultation for help with academic reading and writing, speaking, pronunciation, presentation techniques, and more.

Data/GIS support

The Research Commons provides Research Data support for faculty and graduate students downtown.  During the spring 2019 semester, data and GIS consultations are available by appointment or drop-in on Tuesdays, 1 - 4:30 pm in room HC 7027 (no consultations February 5 or 26).  Contact for more information or to book a consultation.

NVivo support

Graduate Peer NVivo Facilitators are available to assist graduate students by email ( or in one-on-one consultations. To schedule a meeting, please use the request form on the Consultations page. The Research Commons also offers workshops and other training on the use of NVivo software.

At SFU Vancouver, NVivo is installed on computers in the Belzberg Library. Please see NVivo: Getting Started for information on downloading NVivo to an individual computer.

R software support

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

Please contact for more information.

Graduate workshops at SFU Vancouver

Data visualization with Tableau: The painless, programming-free way to build charts and graphs

Tableau is a data visualization tool that can help you analyze your data and illustrate the patterns and insights behind them. This interactive workshop will introduce researchers to Tableau Public, a free access version of Tableau.

You will leave this workshop with an understanding of how to:
  • connect datasets to your Tableau workbook;
  • create a variety of basic chart types (including bar charts, line graphs, and maps);
  • use Tableau's built-in analysis features, like reference lines, trend lines and calculated fields; and
  • publish and share publication-quality interactive charts and graphs.
Requirements: Participants will need to bring their own laptop and charger. Before the workshop, please download and install the latest version of Tableau Public to your laptop.


Upcoming Workshops

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - 12:00pm to 5:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Hands-On with the Library’s Thesis Word Template: Open Lab

Bring your laptop (either PC or Mac), your document(s), and your questions to this open lab session to get some hands-on, practical help and suggestions with the Library’s thesis template. Join the Library’s support staff anytime during the open lab to learn how to:

  • populate the Table of Contents so that chapter headings and subheadings automatically show up with the correct pagination
  • insert table or figure/image captions so that they are auto-numbered and automatically populated into the List of Tables & List of Figures sections of your document
  • fine-tune the formatting of your tables
  • create very large tables to fit onto a landscape or tabloid (11x17) page
  • apply appropriate styles to make your thesis look consistent, professional and acceptable for Library submission and publication
  • other formatting tips & tricks

Please register so that we know you’re coming.

Upcoming Workshops

Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:30pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:30pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Introduction to NVivo for Windows

NVivo is a qualitative data analysis software program, but what does that mean -- and what does it mean for your research? Find out what NVivo is, when to use it, and how to get started.

In this hands-on introductory workshop, you'll take a tour of the NVivo software environment, using sample data. You’ll be introduced to NVivo’s functions and you’ll leave equipped with the basic info you need to begin working with NVivo. Topics introduced may include importing files and beginning coding.

This workshop is suitable for those with little or no experience using NVivo or other qualitative data analysis software.

Upcoming Workshops

Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 5:30pm to 7:30pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Lab 1350

Make Waves: Raise Your Research Profile

Are you looking to raise the profile and impact of your research? If you have a thoughtful, curated, and professional academic profile, your research is more likely to be found, read, discussed, and shared online. Building your online research profile can connect your research with relevant communities and increase uptake and application of your work. Bring your laptop to this facilitated drop-in session. Librarians will be available to support you with any of the following:

  • Depositing your work to Summit, SFU's Research Repository
  • Creating, updating or refining your online profiles in ORCID, Google Scholar, or ImpactStory
  • Leveraging #AcademicTwitter
  • Discussing options for going public with your work
  • Developing strategies for building or enhancing your personal website to host your online bio and CV

Upcoming Workshops

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 12:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

NVivo Drop-in Lab

Bring your laptop and your NVivo questions to this drop-in lab session! Our facilitators are experienced NVivo users, and can help orient researchers to using NVivo software for organizing, coding, and analyzing textual, audiovisual, social media, and other data. They can also support other uses of NVivo, such as organizing literature reviews and handling survey data.

Upcoming Workshops

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 1:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Write Conversations: Don't Plagiarize: Understanding how to Paraphrase

Learning how to accurately and skillfully use our own words to describe other scholar’s ideas remains a challenging process for many graduate students, and understandably so. While practicing and improving paraphrasing is guaranteed to level-up your writing, doing so without plagiarizing can and should be an ongoing concern. Come to this discussion to learn more about that foreboding beast "plagiarism," and its lesser known version "patch writing," so that you are better able to both spot it in students' writing and avoid it in your own.

Upcoming Workshops

Friday, July 5, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30amVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Write Conversations: Getting the feedback you need and applying it

Our professors’ feedback can be one of the most valuable tools we receive as graduate students, leading to deeply meaningful change in our thinking and writing – if we can figure out what to do with it! Don’t let those teachable moments go to waste. Let’s talk about how we can improve incorporating (and accepting) others’ feedback into our writing process.

Upcoming Workshops

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30amVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Write Conversations: Lay Language

Lay language is needed in order to convey technical and advanced ideas in ways that are more effective than “dumbing it down”. You may be preparing a grant or fellowship proposal, writing for online purposes or fine tuning your “job talk”— all of which require you to translate your work and research to persons outside of your core field of study.

Upcoming Workshops

Friday, July 19, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30amVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Write Conversations: Open topic (free for all)

Have some burning writing questions? Need to get something off your chest? These open topic Write Conversations discussions are an opportunity to have a free flowing conversation about writing with your peers and a Graduate Writing Facilitator.

Upcoming Workshops

Friday, August 2, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30amVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Write Conversations: The Home Stretch: Revising and Proofreading

Knowing when to revise, what to look for, and when it's time to proofread will help you edit your own writing more effectively.

Upcoming Workshops

Friday, July 26, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30amVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Write Conversations: What is a Literature Review?

Believe it or not, it’s not just a long summary of relevant literature. Your literature review serves many purposes including improving your research, focusing your thesis or project, and perhaps most importantly, aptly demonstrating your new-found expertise to your reader while providing a strong first impression for your final written product.

Upcoming Workshops

Friday, July 12, 2019 - 10:30am to 11:30amVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Other services

Other learning, general writing, and EAL services and workshops are available at SFU Vancouver through the Student Learning Commons.