Getting started with graduate research - what do you need to know?Published by Chloe Riley
Whether you’re a new graduate student, a student new to designing or running research projects, or a researcher looking for support on a specific aspect of the research life cycle - we can help!
In this post, we've collected just some of the resources and suggestions for what you need to know as you get started!
Are you conducting research that involves human participants? You are required to submit your research proposal in advance of starting your research to SFU's Office of Research Ethics (ORE).
For information on the ethics application process, including a graduate student tutorial, ethics application checklists, and more, visit the ORE website.
Watch out for research ethics workshops conducted through the Research Commons.
Reach out to our research experts with your questions anytime! Email, phone, AskAway (our online chat), or drop in or make an in-person appointment at any of our three branches.
Your liaison librarian can help with discipline-specific research support, including selecting or navigating databases or resources, identifying search strategies, search tips and techniques, finding data or statistics, citation, and more. Email to book a consultation!
Self-service resources to get started with research:
Subject research guides have discipline-specific research and citation resources.
Research skills tutorials, including how to find materials in SFU Library, finding primary sources, evaluating sources, advanced search techniques, and more.
Tips for Google Scholar research.
Information on writing and researching for literature reviews:
Research design / methodology
Questions about methodology or research design should be discussed with your supervisor. But we can help you find resources on methods in your discipline, and get you started with software tools that might help with your research.
Sage Research Methods Online includes ebooks, articles, videos, and case studies on methods in a wide variety of disciplines.
Your liaison librarian may be able to suggest some discipline-specific resources.
Research data management
Setting up a Research Data Management plan will help ensure the data you collect and use in your research is understandable, findable, and preserved long-term. We can walk you through how to create a plan! Get in touch: email@example.com
Data analysis & visualization
We offer software, workshops, and consultations in support of data analysis (qualitative and quantitative), data visualization, mapping, and more. Check out tools such as R, NVivo, Tableau, ArcGIS, and more!
Our Graduate Writing team supports grad students in all disciplines. Services include:
Read Ahead Service: submit a piece of writing and get intensive one-on-one feedback.
Drop in to the Graduate Open Writing Lab (OWL) to use the dedicated time and space to write, or to meet with a facilitator.
Thesis Boot Camp, a 3-day intensive program, where we provide structure and support to help you make progress on your thesis.
Organize your life!
Identifying tools and strategies for keeping yourself organized, motivated and on-track are key. Remember that you will need to find strategies, routines, and workflows that work for you! Ask colleagues, friends, faculty members, and others if they are willing to share their strategies.
A citation management tool, such as Zotero, will help organize your research materials, and create in-text citations and bibliographies easily. Zotero is free and open-source, and we offer workshops and consults to get you started!
The Student Learning Commons has resources on some of the challenges in academia, including time management, critical thinking, motivation, and more. Some of the resources are focused on undergrads, but many are applicable to grad students as well, or even have grad-specific resources.
Browse the research strategies and resources of Raul Pacheco-Vega, including strategies for time management, note-taking, breaking down large projects/project management, and more.
Maintain current awareness
Stay informed about the latest research in your discipline by setting up search alerts, citation alerts, or table of contents alerts. Or learn about other strategies for keeping up to speed.
Thesis formatting and copyright
- Check out our online guides on the formatting and submission process.
- Use the templates in Word and LaTeX that conform to SFU-specific requirements for thesis formatting.
- Book an appointment with the Assistant for Theses or attend a thesis formatting workshop.
- Take a look at the FAQs and resources from the SFU Copyright Office to help answer questions about using copyright-protected material in your thesis, dissertation, or capstone project (images, figures, charts, maps, etc.)
Scholarly publishing and scholarly visibility
We support researchers in exploring your publishing options, making your work open access, building your online presence, and measuring the reach and impact of your research.
Other SFU support and services
Dr. Susan Brook in Health & Counseling runs a Dissertation & Thesis Support Group. There is contact information for joining the group on their website.
Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies runs workshops and events.
EAL (English as an Additional Language) services through the Student Learning Commons.
Any questions we didn't answer? Get in touch! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org