Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Graduate Research Support: Research Help

Getting Research Help

Chat with a Librarian

Book an Appointment

Get lengthier and more specialized research help with our book an appointment service.

Visit our Research Help Desk

Visit the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the Library for help.

Attend a Workshop

Workshops are scheduled throughout the term.

Online Guides and Videos

How-to guides and videos on writing, research and citation 

Developing your Graduate-level research skills

What's the difference between Undergraduate and Graduate level research? 

As an undergrad student, you spend four years completing assignments that helped you develop an important life skill - the skill of finding, evaluating and using information to answer questions and develop new ones.

In Grad school you are expected to become an expert researcher and  develop new questions and find new evidence in your field. To do this you'll need to develop the following dispositions: 

What Expert Researchers know..... 


Scholarship is a conversation 

How do you develop this skill?

  • Recognize that you are often entering into an ongoing scholarly conversation and not a finished conversation
  • Seek out conversations taking place in your research area
  • See yourself as a contributor to scholarship rather than only a consumer of it
  • Recognize that scholarly conversations take place in various venues
  • Suspend judgment on the value of a particular piece of scholarship until the larger context for the scholarly conversation is better understood
  • Understand the responsibility that comes with entering the conversation through participatory channels


Research is Inquiry  

How do you develop this skill?

  • Consider research as open-ended exploration and engagement with information
  • Appreciate that a question may appear to be simple but still disruptive and important to research
  • Value intellectual curiosity in developing questions and learning new investigative methods
  • Maintain an open mind and a critical stance
  • Value persistence, adaptability, and flexibility and recognize that ambiguity can benefit the research process
  • Seek multiple perspectives during information gathering and assessment
  • Seek appropriate help when needed
  • Follow ethical and legal guidelines in gathering and using information
  • Demonstrate intellectual humility (i.e., recognize your own intellectual or experiential limitations)


Searching is Strategic Exploration

How do you develop this skill?

  • Exhibit mental flexibility and creativity
  • Understand that first attempts at searching do not always produce adequate results
  • Realize that information sources vary greatly in content and format and have varying relevance and value, depending on the needs and nature of the search
  • Seek guidance from experts, such as librarians, researchers, and professionals
  • Recognize the value of browsing and other serendipitous methods of information gathering
  • Persist in the face of search challenges, and know when enough information completes the information task


A Source's Authority is Constructed and Contextual

How do you develop this skill?

  • Develop and maintain an open mind when you encounter varied and sometimes conflicting perspectives
  • Motivate yourself to find authoritative sources, but recognize that authority may be conferred or manifested in unexpected ways
  • Understand the importance of assessing content with a skeptical stance and with a self-awareness of your own or the author's biases and worldview
  • Question traditional notions of granting authority and recognize the value of diverse ideas and worldviews
  • Be conscious that maintaining these attitudes and actions requires frequent self-evaluation


Information has Value

How do you develop this skill?

  • Respect the original ideas of others by citing
  • Value the skills, time, and effort needed to produce knowledge
  • See yourself as a contributor to the information marketplace rather than only a consumer of it
  • Examine your own information privilege as a Graduate student with access to expensive resources

Quiz - The Graduate Researcher