Research-Related Skills Offerings

​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​< back to GPS​ Program

Spring and Summer ​2017

May to August 2017

​​​Code as Manuscript: Data Wrangling, Visualization, and Reproducibility in R 

GPS Credits: 4
GPS Credits Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills

This series of hands-on workshops introduces students to the concept of research reproducibility. Students will practise using version control systems and modern techniques in R that make analyses less error prone and reproducible, making students more efficient, productive, and in control. Techniques for using version control systems to facilitate greater collaboration among peers are also taught. The ultimate goal of the workshop is to show how to reduce the number of steps needed to go from the initial data analysis to the final written manuscript or thesis (hence the name Code as Manuscript).

​Digital Humanities: A Toolkit for Researchers in Medieval Studies ​​​

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Program Partner: Centre for Medieval Studies​
GPS Credits: 1 per three-hour session ​
Skill Areas: Teaching Competency, Research-Related Skills

Curious about Digital Humanities (DH) projects, tool, and methodologies? Interested in learning the basics, expanding your toolkit, or earning your Centre for Medieval Studies DH certificate (4+ workshops attended), in only three days?

By the end of this boot camp, you will be conversant with DH terminology, from content management systems and data curation to network graphs and SQL coding. Through hands-on workshops, you will learn how to work with the library to get your DH project off the ground; how to house your research material in your own digital exhibit (Omeka); how to safeguard your data's integrity by building your own relational database and writing code to query your material; how to show trends and concepts emerging from your data through graphs and visualizations (Juxta, Cytoscape, ManyEyes); and how to use digital platforms that support your teaching. ​

Effective Journal Research for Graduate Students and Faculty

Program Partner: University of Toronto Libraries
GPS Credit: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills
Location: Robarts Library, 5th floor, Map and Data Lab

Learn how to find the Humanities and Social Sciences articles that you need, efficiently and effectively. This workshop will help you:

  • gain awareness of the range of databases available to find journal articles

  • judge when to use a specialized journal index and when to use a broader database like ProQuest, Summon, or Google Scholar

  • search the databases like an expert using keywords and subject terms to find the best articles in less time

  • find the full text of journal articles online or in print

  • discover tips on planning and organizing an effective journal research strategy.

Hands-on practice time and individual attention will be provided to allow participants to work on their own research question. All University of Toronto faculty and graduate students are welcome. However, please note that this class is designed for researchers in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the content will focus on those fields. Further, this course is very similar in content to the Effective Journal Research workshop offered in previous terms. 

Click for U of T Libraries workshop calendar

Foundations of Project Management 1

Program Partner: Mitacs
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Re​lated Skills

This two-day workshop provides an experiential, collaborative learning experience to enable participants to integrate the principles of project management, team building, group dynamics, and leadership that participants can apply immediately and in their future careers and lives. Participants experience the processes of collaborative planning and management and can see the benefits first hand.  
View for the Mitacs calendar.

Foundations of Project Management 2

Program Partner: Mitacs
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills

This two-day workshop provides an experiential, collaborative learning experience to enable participants to integrate the principles of project management, team building, group dynamics, and leadership that participants can apply immediately and in their future careers and lives. Participants experience the processes of collaborative planning and management and can see the benefits first hand.  
View the Mitacs workshop calendar.

From Rare Books to Digital Texts: Decoding Primary Source Research

Program Partner: UT Libraries
GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills
Location: Robarts Library

Experience rare books and manuscripts at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. Explore online primary source databases at Robarts. Graduate students who attend this hands-on workshop will develop an understanding of the primary source landscape: the types of materials available, how they are organized, and the formats in which they are published. These will include original manuscripts, rare books, print and audio-visual material, microfilm, and digital publications. Learn to meet the challenge of finding the right sources for your research, both in your graduate studies and the working world.  View the UT Libraries workshop calendar.

Fundamentals of Effective Research Grant Writing (UTSC)

Program Partner: UTSC Centre for Teaching and Learning
GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills

Graduate students who attend this workshop will learn key components of successful research grants. In the first half, lecture and discussion will break down the grant writing and evaluation process from the point of view of a successful research grant holder and an evaluation committee member. Factors that strengthen or impede a proposal's chances to be funded will be the focus. 

Participants will then develop their understanding of these factors during the workshop's second half, when they will tak​e the role of proposal evaluators. In this role, they will rate and discuss sample grant proposals, with feedback from the co-presenters. The session will thus enhance participants' grasp of features that determine a grant proposal's success.  View information on events and workshops at UTSC.

Graduate Secondary Research for Engineers

Program Partner: Engineering & Computer Science Library
GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills

Graduate engineers need a sophisticated grasp of secondary research skills in order to successfully complete literature reviews or other in-depth searches of the published literature. The complexity, breadth and volume of information sources available can make this a challenge. This two-part hands-on workshop will provide guidance and tips to successfully manage literature reviews or other comprehensive searches of the published engineering literature.

Part 1: Search Strategies for the Engineering Journal Literature

Scholarly communication in engineering fields occurs through various channels and a range of publications. A core scholarly communication channel is the journal literature. To successfully undertake secondary research (also known as "library" research) at the graduate level, it is useful to be able to identify and search subject indexes, identify review articles, search for ancestors, descendants, key documents, and maintain current awareness of what is being published. In this hands-on session we will:
identify the best tools for searching the journal literature in your area 

  • develop keyword and database thesaurus searches 
  • find useful review articles, meta-analyses, and key documents 

  • take advantage of the information trail of ascendants and descendants 

  • assess the comprehensiveness of what you've found 

  • set up search alerts to keep up to date automatically on new papers in your area
     

Part 2: Search Strategies for Conference Papers, Technical Reports, Patent Literature, and Other Specialized Literature; Staying Organized

Conference papers, technical reports, patents, data sets, and specialized literature in allied fields such as business and marketing offer a wealth of information. Depending on the area of specialization these sources can be crucial to the work of graduate engineers. Finding what exists, and how to get hold of it, can be a challenging and time consuming task. As students work through the secondary research process, keeping their work organized can also be a challenge. In this hands-on session we will: 

  • learn how to use specialized databases to search the technical report and conference proceedings literature, then finding full text or hard copy 
  • explore the wealth of information available at University of Toronto in materials such as data, financial, and marketing databases 

  • discuss patents as a source of information and learn how to construct effective patent searches 

  • use a citation management program to efficiently organize your own work and collaborate with your team or research group. 

Improving Your 3 Minute Thesis™ (UTSC)

Program Partner: UTSC Centre for Teaching and Learning
GPS Credit: 1*
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills, Communication Skills


This workshop is the second in a series for graduate students at the master's or PhD level who want to learn and practice strategies for presenting their research in a 3-minute format, using one well-designed slide, as stipulated by the 3 Minute Thesis™ competition rules. This second workshop enables participants to practice their presentations and to receive constructive feedback from the workshop's co-facilitators and other participants. Though many graduate students can benefit from sharpening these presentation skills, PhD students in particular may use this workshop to prepare for 3 Minute Thesis™ competitions within and beyond the University of Toronto.

*Please note: Students receive 1 GPS Credit for completing The 3 Minute Thesis™: An Interactive Guide for Graduate Students and Improving Your 3 Minute Thesis™.  View information on GPS offerings at UTSC. 

Introduction to Data & Information Visualization

Program Partner: Reference & Research Services at Robarts Library
GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills

Data visualization and infographics are powerful tools with the potential to generate insights, communicate findings, and illustrate evidence. Conversely, a poor visualization can undermine an argument or even mislead the reader.

Through a combination of lecture and interactive and hands-on activities, this three-hour workshop will introduce students to best practices and guidelines for designing effective visualizations and evaluating visualizations, choosing from a variety of open-source and proprietary visualization tools.

Students will also be introduced to the data visualization workflow model, including understanding data, preparing data for visualization, and selecting and creating visualizations. For examples of some of the data visualization types that will be discussed, see the Tableau Visual Gallery.

At the end of class, students will submit the data visualization that they created during the workshop and a brief reflection exercise. Note: this workshop will not cover geographic data or mapping. The Map and Data Library offers workshops on geographic data visualization.  View information on workshops at UT Libraries.​​

Introduction to Research Data Management

Program Partner: University of Toronto Libraries
GPS Credits: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills

Managing research data is a critical part of the research process. Data management planning from the outset can save you valuable time as your project progresses and makes it easier for you to meet ethical, funding and government policy requirements for publicly funded research projects. Data management planning also ensures that your data will be accessible for replication and validation, and available to be used in future research projects as well as for educational purposes.

Through a combination of lecture and interactive activities, this three-hour workshop will serve as a primer to managing research data throughout the research life cycle, with an emphasis on creating sound data management plans. The workshop will begin by describing the anatomy of a data management plan (DMP) and the best practices and tools available to assist with building a DMP. Requirement for data access and preservation from current (and future) funding agency mandates will also be discussed.

Introduction to Science Journalism

Program Partner: ELWS
GPS Credits: 3
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills
Dates: October/November

Science journalists play a key role in the public understanding of science by reporting on the results and implications of scientific research. Learn how science journalists do their work, including developing story ideas, interviewing researchers, and working with editors and producers. This course is designed to provide a practical introduction to the techniques and practice of science journalism for graduate students interested in applying a scientific background to a career in science media, or for those who would like to augment an academic career with popular science writing or broadcasting.
View the current ELWS course schedule.

Online Tools for Organizing Your Research

Program Partner: U of T Libraries
GPS Credit: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills, Personal Effectiveness
Location: Robarts Library, 4th floor electronic classroom

Graduate students require so much digital information during their research process that it can be difficult to remain organized. This workshop will introduce students to tools that will help increase their personal productivity during the research process. Students will look at citation management software programs that help save, organize, and share references and files, as well as create bibliographies and interface with word processing programs.

View online UT Library ca​lendar.

Prewriting Strategies for Developing & Organizing Your Ideas (Humanities & Social Sciences)

Program Partner: ELWS
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills, Personal Effectiveness

In order for a research paper to be clear to readers, it must first be crystal clear in the mind of its ​author. Whether you are writing a course paper, a journal article, or a thesis, this course will help you clarify in your own mind the content and structure of your argument before you begin to write. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies for developing and organizing their ideas -- strategies such as organizing notes through keywords, outlining, diagramming, use of Aristotle's Topics, etc. -- and will be encouraged to consider which strategies work best given their own learning styles. Drawing on techniques from classical rhetoric, the course will give students the chance to practise strategies for investigating and organizing ideas at both the pre-writing and mid-writing stages. The course is designed for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences.

Course duration: 4 weeks.

View ELWS course schedule.

Research Ethics Workshop & TCPS Online Introductory Tutorial

Program Partner: Office of Research Ethics
GPS Credit: 1
Skills Area: Research-Related Skills
Location: All workshops will be in the McMurrich Building, Room 107, 12 Queen's Park Crescent West
Dates: February 2017

This workshop addresses research ethics in all types of research involving human participants. Topics include: History and principles behind research ethics review; Procedures under Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans (TCPS); The University of Toronto’s risk matrix for assessing participant vulnerability and research risk; Free and informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, conflict of interest, inclusion/exclusion criteria; Questions and discussion relating to specific research projects with particular groups, topics, and methods. The TCPS Online Introductory Tutorial covers the first five sections of the federal research ethics guidelines.

Please note: The Research Ethics Workshop and TCPS Online Introductory Tutorial� GPS offering consists of a workshops offered AND an online tutorial from the Office of Research Ethics. The workshop and the tutorial must both be successfully completed in order to receive credit for this GPS Offering. TCPS Online Introductory Tutorial.


Scholarly Publishing & Current Awareness St. George

Program Partner: University of Toronto Libraries
GPS Credit: 1
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills
Time 1:00-4:00 pm

There is a constantly increasing and diverse body of scholarly research. This workshop focuses on current publishing models, including Open Access, and a range of tools available to navigate and control your personal research agenda. You will engage in practical exercises targeted to your disciplinary focus resulting in a self-designed and active toolkit for maintaining awareness of research in your field.  View UT Libraries course calendar.

Strategies for Systematic, Scoping, or Other Comprehensive Searches of Literature

Program Partner: Gerstein Science Information Centre​
GPS Credit: 2
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills

A systematic review of literature (both peer-reviewed and grey) is essential when conducting evidence-based research, especially in the health and life sciences. Increasingly, more systematic reviews, scoping reviews, or similar comprehensive searches of the literature are being conducted by graduate students and research teams. This three-part workshop will help with conducting comprehensive or systematic or scoping review literature searches. ​  

Part 1: Structured Approach to Searching the Medical Literature for Knowledge Syntheses

In this hands-on workshop we will learn:

  • Identify the key differences between systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and literature reviews, as they relate to the search
  • Incorporate tools and resources for proper reporting and management of their review
  • Utilize strategies for turning a research question into a searchable question with inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Identify databases for their review and explain when to use them
  • Practice using an objective, structured method for developing sensitive search strategies required for knowledge synthesis, utilizing controlled vocabulary, textwords and advanced techniques
  • Apply a structured approach to searching their question in OVID Medline

 

Length: 2 hours

 

Part 2: Beyond MEDLINE: Translating Strategies and Going Grey

 

In order to minimize bias and base your research on as much evidence as possible, you will have to search more than one journal article database for published literature. A search strategy often has to be revised for different databases and resources to take advantage of the strengths and unique features of each.
Building on the structured approach we practiced in Part 1, in this hands-on workshop, students will:

  • Review Medline strategy from Part 1 and prepare it for translation
  • Delve deeper into the advanced features of interfaces and databases which allow for editing and refining a search strategy
  • Identify potential sources for bias in their search and develop strategies to mitigate them
  • Translate and execute structured search strategies using different databases, including OVID Embase, Ebsco CINAHL, and Cochrane Central
  • Prepare database search strategies and compose search methods, such that they can be repeated and to ensure proper reporting
               
Length: 2 hours

Part 3: Going Grey and Supplementary Search Techniques


 
 
Knowledge syntheses that rely solely on published academic literature are at high risk of publication bias. Searching the grey literature is essential for mitigating this risk, but ‘grey literature’ is a nebulous concept, tricky to incorporate into syntheses and difficult to find. 
Building on the skills we practiced in Parts 1 and 2, in this hands-on workshop students will learn to: 

 

  • ​Define what is grey literature (and what’s it’s not)
  • Develop a strategy for identifying appropriate sources of grey literature 
  • Utilize a methodological, transparent approach to searching sources of grey literature
  • Demonstrate best practices for supplementary search techniques including hand-searching and reference tracking
  • Integrate strategies for incorporating grey literature and supplementary search techniques into the review workflow
  • ​Evaluate search methods to identify proper reporting​

 
Length: 2 hours

 

 

Student2Scholar (formerly Virtual Library)--Online Library Research Skills

Program Partner: U of T Libraries
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Area: Research-Related Skills
Time: On your own time
Location: Online

The Student2Scholar (S2S) course is comprised of 10 self-paced, interactive online modules designed specifically for graduate students in the social sciences. The modules will help you develop the skills you need to successfully navigate the higher education information ecosystem. The modules provide opportunities for hands-on practice using the research tools in your discipline, as well as engaging with the broader issues affecting your research and career as a researcher.

 
To obtain credit for the Graduate Professional Skills (GPS) program, you must:

 
  • Complete at least 3 modules including modules 3, 4 and a module of your choice 

  • As you complete each module, email the certificate of completion to s2s@library.utoronto.ca

View more information and register.

10 Days of Twitter

Program Partner: University of Toronto Libraries
GPS Credit: 1
Skill Areas: Communication Skills; Research-Related Skills
Dates: Feb 6-17

Twitter is a platform for scholarly communication: it's used for sharing and discussing research at all stages of the process (even peer review via Tweet!); for current awareness; for networking; for conference participation; and for teaching. Consider the uses of Twitter in higher education together with a community of learners, through hands-on practice, class discussion via Twitter, and guided engagement with the public scholarly conversation on Twitter. Day 1 involves a 50-minute in-person class; Days 2 to 9 involve Twitter exercises taking minutes a day; Day 10 involves a live chat on Twitter.   View U of T workshop calendar.

The 3 Minute Thesis™: An Interactive Guide for Graduate Students (UTSC)

Program Partner: UTSC Centre for Teaching and Learning
GPS Credit: 1*
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills, Communication Skills

This workshop aims to help graduate students develop highly effective brief research presentations. This one-hour session, open to graduate students at the Master’s or PhD level, will cover strategies for presenting research in a 3-minute format, using one well-designed slide, as stipulated by the 3 Minute Thesis™ competition rules. Examples of effective 3 Minute Thesis™ presentations will be discussed. The follow-up two-hour session, “Improving Your 3 Minute Thesis™,” will enable graduate students to apply what they learn in the first workshop in order to create, and then practice, their brief research presentation.

*Please note: Students receive 1 GPS Credit for completing The 3 Minute Thesis™: An Interactive Guide for Graduate Students and Improving Your 3 Minute Thesis™.​  View more information ​​UTSC GPS offerings.

Translating Research into Practice: Creating a Poster Presentation Plan (UTSC)

Program Partner: UTSC Centre for Teaching and Learning 
GPS Credit: 1 
Skill Areas: Research-Related Skills, Communication Skills 

This seminar guides graduate students through hands-on activities that are designed to enable them to better articulate their research aims and to design a poster presentation plan that effectively communicates their research. Participants must be prepared to discuss and write about a current research project for which they would like to design a poster. With guidelines, instruction, and individual feedback from the co-presenters, participants will create a poster presentation plan that they may use to organize their research project for communication at conferences or in conversation with their peers.
View more information on UTSC GPS offerings. 

Understanding the Research Article: Reading Towards Writing

Program Partner: ELWS
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills
Dates: October/November

What are the typical "moves" made in the Introduction section of a Research Article? Should you integrate your discussion with your results? How do you get readers to see the importance of your work? How much explaining should you do in your methodology section? These are typical questions for those involved in experimental research who wish to publish their findings. Graduate students spend a great deal of time reading research articles; however, when it comes to writing them, they often have difficulty following the example of what they have read.

This course is designed to help graduate students engaged in experimental work write researc​h articles by increasing their familiarity with the established forms of such articles. To do so, we will analyze the discourse strategies of articles that follow the basic pattern for reporting empirical research: Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion (IMRAD). The course will involve class discussion and close readings of articles drawn from representative fields of study. The course will also consider technical writing issues, such as what verb tense works for each section and strategic use of the passive or active voice. Students will also receive feedback on the research papers that they themselves are writing. Course duration: 5 weeks with an optional tutorial in the sixth week.  View ELWS course schedule. 

Writing CIHR Proposals

Program Partner: ELWS
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills
Dates: May, September

This three-week course is open to students who are applying for CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) Master's and Doctoral Research Awards. In three two-hour classes, we will examine the specific features of successful grant proposals and bring to light common errors that lead to bad proposals. As well, we will be looking at examples of winning proposals. Students are expected to work on their own draft proposals, and individualized feedback will be available to course participants. While several of the concepts examined will also be of relevance to students applying for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), the focus of the course is on writing an effective CIHR proposal. Check with your department regarding your eligibility to apply for funding through CIHR and/or OGS. Course duration: 3 weeks.  View ELWS course schedule. 

Writing NSERC Proposals

Program Partner: ELWS
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills
Dates: May, September.

This three-week course is open to students who are applying for NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Postgraduate scholarships (PGS M and PGS D). While several of the concepts examined will also be of relevance to students applying for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), the focus of the course is on writing an effective NSERC proposal. (Check with your department regarding your eligibility to apply for funding through NSERC and/or OGS.) Each week during the two-hour lecture, the instructor will examine the specific features of good and bad proposals. Students are expected to work on their own proposals and to submit them in class for feedback. Feedback is available to course participants through written comments on students' draft proposals and through individual consultations. Course duration: 3 weeks.  View ELWS course schedule.

Writing SSHRC Proposals

Program Partner: ELWS
GPS Credits: 4
Skill Areas: Communication Skills, Research-Related Skills 
Dates: May, September

This three-week course is designed for students in the Humanities and Social Sciences who are applying for SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) Master's Scholarships or Doctoral Awards. While several of the concepts examined will also be relevant to students applying for an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), and OGS applicants are welcome to register, the focus of the course is on writing an effective SSHRC proposal. (Check with your department regarding your eligibility to apply for funding through SSHRC and/or OGS.) The course will examine specific features of good and bad proposals and provide students the opportunity to see sections of winning SSHRC proposals and to submit their own draft proposals for feedback. Feedback will be available to course participants through written comments on students' draft proposals and through individual consultations. Course duration: 3 weeks.  View ELWS course schedule.​