One of the perks of being a McGill graduate student is the variety of workshops that are offered throughout the year. I once heard that there is a workshop to help you manage all the workshops! As we all know, graduate students have a lot on their plate – lab work, literature reviews, industrial meetings, TAing, submitting papers, etc. So, let’s assume that they see an ad for an interesting workshop, why would they add something extra to their busy schedule?
I would like to share with you my experience with a specific series of workshops, the MyResearch modules offered by the library. As a newbie PhD student in 2016, I attended all the orientation seminars and I remember quite fondly a passionate librarian (if you’ve met Giovanna Badia you know what I am talking about) talking about the benefits of the McGill libraries and the MyResearch series. I thought I’d give it a try, but the dates were in conflict with my courses. Giovanna had mentioned that if you complete all series you get acknowledged in your co-curricular record and a free USB. So, what should I do now? Should I go to half of it? And what about my USB? All I had to do was ask the librarians if there was an alternative and gladly, I managed to finish all the modules (yes, I got that USB in the end) by attending two in the fall semester and two at different times (one through an overlapping course and one through a different date workshop).
So – apart from the USB – what are the benefits for those who attend this series in their first year of graduate studies? In Module 1 (aka the EndNote Module) we learned how to use EndNote. It can be used to reference in your written work (lab reports, papers, etc.) as well as to build a database of the papers you search online. If you start building that database in your first year, you will be thanking yourself when it’s time to write that literature review, that introduction to your first paper or when wondering “where did that literature value came from”. In the following modules, we learned among others how to search for papers, how to find which papers are good, and what people do in conferences! If it’s your first year at McGill, I definitely recommend checking the series.
What about the people that are in the middle of their degrees? Well, I guess that at this point you might have learned one thing or two about referencing software. If you haven’t thought, or if you want to explore in depth, you know where to come! I believe you will find concept mapping (in Module 2) very useful when you want to explain your project to a larger audience- in a conference, in a meeting, in a grant proposal. Also, the insights of impact factors and open access will help you choose journals when you are about to publish your first paper and protect your rights as an author.
All in all, I believe MyResearch workshops can help you in different ways at different stages of your degree and it is definitely worth a look at the description of each module. The dates this semester are:
- Module 1: EndNote Essentials, Tuesday Mar.12 12:30-2:30pm
- Module 2: Graduate Research Tool Kit, Thursday Mar.14 12:30-2:30pm
- Module 3: Search Strategies & Techniques, Tuesday Mar.19 12:30-2:30pm
- Module 4: Getting Your Research Out, Thursday Mar.21 12:30-2:30pm
All four modules will take place in Room 413 of Schulich Library. Registration is now open. Seats are limited. First come, first served! And I heard a rumour that this year -apart from the USB- there will be coffee and donuts :O
Hope to meet you all there!
Christina Katsari, Skills Development Assistant at MyResearch series
Banner image by @genny.lam // @gradlifemcgill