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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, January 10 to April 6, 10:30am to 1:00pm, SFU Vancouver, Harbour Centre - Room HC 7400*
*on January 10, it will take place from 1:30pm to 4:30pm, Room HC 7000
(no session on February 21)

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.  Contact data-services@sfu.ca for more information or to book a consultation.

NVivo support

Graduate Peer NVivo Facilitators are available to assist graduate students by email (nvivo-rc@sfu.ca) 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. R consultations are available by appointment.  Contact data-services@sfu.ca for more information or to book a consultation.

Graduate workshops at SFU Vancouver

Introduction to Spatial Thinking and ArcGIS (in computer lab)

  • Which areas in Ontario are susceptible to drought? Which areas are susceptible to longer periods of drought and which to shorter periods?
  • What is the travel route of the Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)? Does it pass close to areas where predators are present, specifically those which prey on eggs?
  • Are neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status spatially correlated to high morbidity rates?

Many of these questions ask about the spatial relationship between two or more phenomena. This workshop is an introduction to spatial thinking and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This workshop assumes attendees have no previous experience with GIS.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • think spatially about their research;
  • understand the elements of GIS;
  • use a leading industry software (ArcGIS);
  • create simple maps using geospatial data;
  • look for and find geospatial data and resources.

Workshop page (SFU Canvas): GIS workshops page includes workshop descriptions and suggested streams for different disciplines, handouts, slides, and example datasets

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 2:30pm to 4:30pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Lab 1350

Hands-on with Tableau: A Data Visualization Masterclass

Tableau allows you to easily visualize data without having to know programming. This one day workshop will give you the fundamentals to effectively analyze and visualize your data enabling you to tell stories with your data.

Hands-on with Tableau will cover:
  • An introduction to Data Visualization best practices
  • Getting started with Tableau:
    • Saving and publishing
    • Static charts
    • Interactive charts
    • Stacked bar charts
    • Highlight tables and heat maps
    • Scatterplots
Notes: 
  • Please bring your own laptop and power cord.
  • Please install Tableau Public on your computer BEFORE the workshop begins. Detailed instructions for installing Tableau Public can be found here.
  • This workshop is not catered. You will get a 60-minute break at approximately half way through the session.

Instructor: Chad Skelton

Chad Skelton, an award-winning data journalist, is a consultant and trainer based in Vancouver. Chad worked as a data journalist at The Vancouver Sun until 2015. In 2014, Chad won an international Data Journalism Award for his portfolio of work in the previous year. He has received the Jack Webster Award, British Columbia's top journalism prize, six times. Chad created The Sun's public-sector salary database, which has received more than 20 million pageviews, and has built popular interactive tools on everything from commuting patterns to income inequality. He also made a Twitter robot that checks court judgments (@BCCourtBot). Chad has been an instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University since 2005, where he teaches the popular Citizen Journalism (JRNL 1220) and Data Visualization (JRNL 4165) courses.

 

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Friday, January 24, 2020 - 9:00am to 5:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 1600

Write Conversations: Finding Your Voice

Academic writing can be more than boring readers and emulating stuffy styles. In fact, expressing complex ideas in your own voice can be one of the best ways to make your work stand out. Join us for a conversation on conformity, creativity, and originality and begin your journey toward discovering your academic voice.

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Friday, January 24, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Making Literature Reviews Easier with NVivo for Windows

This interactive workshop introduces importing and coding of literature review materials and key tools that can be particularly helpful when reviewing literature in your area of research.

Topics covered include:

  • introducing NVivo and setting up a project
  • working with your information
  • identifying themes, topics and ideas and collecting data to support them
  • using tools such as text search query, matrix coding query, and Framework Matrix.

What will you achieve from this session? You will have the knowledge to set up a literature review in NVivo, and begin to work with your information. You will also be able to use NVivo to organize your content and begin to identify themes, topics or ideas. It is appropriate for those who have had some experience with NVivo. For more information about NVivo at SFU, please visit NVivo Software for Research Analysis.

Participants should also have some familiarity with citation management software (Zotero, Mendeley, Refworks, EndNote, etc). Zotero will be used during this workshop.

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Monday, January 27, 2020 - 4:30pm to 6:30pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Lab 1350

Using Concept/Mind Mapping for Brainstorming and Organization

A concept map is a tool that can be used to support learning and writing through visualizing the relationships between concepts. Concept mapping (or mind mapping) at any stage of the writing process can help clarify how ideas, terminology, themes, etc. relate to each other, to your research questions, and/or the main points of your project. Concept mapping is for everyone, but can be especially helpful for those trying to manage a longer writing project for the first time (like a thesis), those who rebel against outlining, and those who want to benefit from deconstructing (or reconstructing) the linear form that writing ultimately must take. For many, concept mapping is a writing process game-changer.

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Friday, February 7, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Using “Free Writing” to Generate Quality Text

You might already be aware of “free writing” as an exercise that can aid the drafting process, but does this task ever seem too free to help you produce quality text that you can use in academic writing? Join this workshop to practice some helpful guidelines for free writing. We’ll provide just enough structure so that your “free” writing doesn’t instead simply feel “lost.”

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Friday, February 14, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Intro to Geospatial Data with R

The lessons in this workshop will cover how to open, work with, and plot vector and raster-format spatial data in R. Additional topics include working with spatial metadata (extent and coordinate reference systems), reprojecting spatial data, and working with raster time series data. This full-day workshop will be guided through parts of the Data Carpentries' syllabus, parts from Robin Lovelace's Geocomputation with R workbook, and parts from the Rspatial.org workbooks.

This lesson assumes you have some knowledge of R. If you have never used R before, or need a refresher, you could take one of the R workshops offered through the Research Commons or you could start with the Carpentries' Introduction to R for Geospatial Data lesson. This lesson also assumes you have some knowledge of geospatial data types and common file formats. If you have never worked with geospatial data before, or need a refresher, start with the Carpentries' Geospatial Project Organization and Management lesson.

Software

  • The most recent version of R and RStudio (participants will need their own computer).
  • For installation instructions and to download the data used in this lesson, see the workshop homepage
  • Make sure you have set up a RStudio project for this lesson, as described in the setup instructions.
  • If you don’t have an RStudio project, you will need to manually set the working directory with setwd([your-directory-name]) so R can find the data files to load.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • import and export raster and vector data from R;
  • analyze and edit raster and vector data;
  • explore spatio-temporal data in R.

Core competencies
spatial analysis, aligning data, plotting data, publication quality graphics

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 10:00am to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 1315

Cite your sources easier and faster with Zotero

Want to make your research and writing more efficient? Hate the last minute rush of trying to create a correctly formatted bibliography? This workshop is for you! We will introduce Zotero, a citation management tool that can help you import, organize, share, and manage your citations and documents, as well as create correctly formatted in-text citations and bibliographies in almost any style -- in seconds.

Bring your laptop: this interactive workshop will cover registration, installation, and everything that you need to know to get up and running with Zotero.

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 - 11:00am to 12:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 1315

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

DatesLocation
Friday, March 6, 2020 - 1:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Lab 1350

Paraphrasing with Purpose and Integrity

A concept map is a tool that can be used to support learning and writing through visualizing the relationships between concepts. Concept mapping (or mind mapping) at any stage of the writing process can help clarify how ideas, terminology, themes, etc. relate to each other, to your research questions, and/or the main points of your project. Concept mapping is for everyone, but can be especially helpful for those trying to manage a longer writing project for the first time (like a thesis), those who rebel against outlining, and those who want to benefit from deconstructing (or reconstructing) the linear form that writing ultimately must take. For many, concept mapping is a writing process game-changer.

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Friday, March 6, 2020 - 2:00pm to 3:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7400

Citation Management Drop-in Lab

Have questions about using citation management software, like Zotero or Mendeley? We can help! Our citation management experts can introduce you to citation management tools, answer questions, and demonstrate features and techniques. Bring your laptop and your questions!

Upcoming Workshops

DatesLocation
Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 4:30pm to 6:30pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7027 (Consultation Room)

Composition Clinic: Learn to use Lay Language

Strategies for using lay language will help you 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

DatesLocation
Friday, March 20, 2020 - 2:00pm 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

DatesLocation
Monday, April 6, 2020 - 10:00am to 12:00pmVancouver, Harbour Centre, Rm 7027 (Consultation Room)

Other services

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