Skip to main content

Research Bootcamp for Research Assistants & Teaching Assistants

Literature reviews, library research, information management and more.

Research Bootcamp Online: How it works

Different than past years, Research Bootcamp 2020 is being offered completely online via Brightspace.

The program includes 7 units, each with its own set of modules. Participants can pick and choose to complete modules that are of interest to them. However, we encourage all participants to complete the modules in the 3 Core Skills units, as these provide foundational knowledge for completing other modules in the program.

Modules will be posted weekly on Brightspace from May 25-June 29, 2020. Registered participants will be notified by email when new modules have been posted to Brightspace.

Core Skills 1: Getting started with research

Intro to the research process & getting started

Presenter: Deborah Hemming

Available on Brightspace: May 25, 2020

This module provides you with an overview of the research process and an introduction to the Research Bootcamp series. We'll walk through the research cycle from idea to publication, from fun to frustration, highlighting how different Bootcamp modules relate to each stage.

This module will also introduce you to important library resources including research guides, services, and the Dal Libraries' Novanet catalogue. Think of this module as the basics for getting started with research (or a helpful refresher)!

Core Skills 2: The literature review

Researching for the literature review

Presenters: Louise Gillis & Deborah Hemming

Available on Brightspace: May 25, 2020

The methodology of a literature review goes beyond just searching for information. Good literature review methodology follows a process and is well-documented. This module will cover this process from the research question through documenting your search methods in multiple disciplines. Participants will leave with the tools to support them in the literature review process.  


Writing the literature review 

Presenters: Janice MacDonald Eddington & Kala Hirtle

Available on Brightspace: May 25, 2020

Comprehensively and critically reviewing the literature allows authors to not only situate their own work but persuade readers that the work is necessary and worthwhile. This module will focus on structuring the literature review using writing strategies to summarize and synthesize the literature while maintaining or establishing your own voice.  


Core Skills 3: Citation management & copyright

Citation management

Presenter: Shelley McKibbon

Available on Brightspace: June 1, 2020

Bibliographic management software lets you store and organize your references, connect to full-text articles, and format your papers. This module will introduce you to Zotero and Mendeley, which are freely available. See which meets your needs! 


Copyright and the curriculum

Presenter: Roger Gillis

Available on Brightspace: June 1, 2020

This module will include a series of curated videos and resources with interactive content that will provide a basic understanding of key copyright concepts related to research and teaching.  Topics covered will include: using images, including third party content in your work, finding openly licensed works, licensed library resources, and more.  

Participants will come away with a basic introduction to copyright as well tools they can use to manage and use copyrighted material in their work.

Subject-specific searching

Searching PubMed

Presenter: Jackie Phinney

Available on Brightspace: June 8, 2020

As a freely-available biomedical information resource, PubMed is an excellent research tool that is highly-regarded by students, researchers, librarians, and clinicians in the health disciplines. In this module, participants will be introduced to searching in PubMed, including selecting search terms, constructing a thorough search strategy, using filters, and saving and exporting results. Participants will also have a chance to view the ‘New PubMed’ interface. 


Searching for grey literature

Presenters: Robin Parker and Hannah Steeves

Available on Brightspace: June 8, 2020

Are you looking for content beyond what can be found in traditional books and journal articles? You may need to search sources in addition to the usual databases and catalogues to find the grey literature. In this module, we will discuss what is considered grey literature and explore some resources and approaches that can help find this type of evidence for your area of research. Whether you need conference proceedings or government reports, we will check out some of the myriad of sources for grey literature. This module will draw on examples from the disciplines of health and law, but is appropriate for any science or social science research and will incorporate demonstrations of resources and approaches useful for interdisciplinary searching. 


Humanities resources

Presenter: Deborah Hemming

Available on Brightspace: June 8, 2020

Want to learn how to use the Libraries’ extensive collection of electronic databases to find the best and most relevant information available? This module, geared towards students in the humanities disciplines, will cover some of the key databases and information sources for the humanities. Participants will learn how to distinguish, locate, and select key humanities sources such as articles, books, reviews, and primary source material. 


Beyond PubMed

Presenter: Jackie Phinney

Available on Brightspace: June 8, 2020

For most of us, PubMed is the first stop for health sciences literature; however, there are a number of other databases that may be more suited for some health information needs and have better journal coverage for your topic. In this module, attendees will learn about other databases for finding health sciences literature and will discover when, why, and how to search databases such as Embase, the Cumulative Index for Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), and more. Participants will leave having an understanding of what databases work best for certain research topics, and how to search these databases effectively.   


Legal resources for non-law students

Presenter: Hannah Steeves

Available on Brightspace: June 8, 2020

This is an introduction to the Canadian legal research process and online legal tools for those with little or no experience with legal research. At the end of the module participants should be able to access federal and provincial legislation including statutes and regulations. They should also be able to understand the court system of Canada and locate court cases.


Finding Canadian data and statistics

Presenter: Louise Gillis

Available on Brightspace: June 8, 2020

Dal has some great resources to help you find those numbers, statistics, and datasets you need for your projects! This module provides a gentle introduction to finding Canadian statistics available through a wide variety of sources, including how to retrieve microdata available through a special agreement between Dalhousie and Statistics Canada. Will include quick overviews of Stat Can data tables, the Canadian Census Analyzer, SDA, Geosearch and more. 

Managing research data

Getting started with data management planning

Presenter: Erin MacPherson

Available on Brightspace: June 15, 2020

Discover how data management planning can help your research group or project, and learn about resources that will help you become a good data steward. Participants will have an opportunity to complete the RDM101 modules and will also learn how to create a data management plan using the free, online Data Management Plan (DMP) Assistant tool.  


Easy Excel for beginners

Presenter: Louise Gillis

Available on Brightspace: June 15, 2020

Learn to beautifully format and print tables of data. Discuss some common fixes that can be applied to messy external data. Practice cleaning and analyzing data using Excel's built in tools. This module covers formatting, filtering, and conditional formatting. Prerequisite: be comfortable selecting cells and groups of cells in Excel. 

Research synthesis methods

Evidence Synthesis

Presenter: Robin Parker
Available on Brightspace: June 22, 2020

Learn about the methods that set systematic reviews and other research syntheses apart from traditional reviews. This module will provide an overview of several evidence synthesis methods used in different disciplines and will highlight how to decide which approach is appropriate to a specific purpose. Example reviews from multiple fields of research will illustrate various high-quality methodologies and we will also examine some publications that highlight what to avoid when conducting and reporting your own research synthesis. Participants will be directed to sources of reliable methodological guidance and other training resources to continue their learning. 

Exploring the steps of systematic and scoping reviews using Covidence software

Presenter: Robin Parker
Available on Brightspace: June 22, 2020

This intermediate level session will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the steps of conducting systematic or scoping reviews. The module will highlight the importance of rigour in research reviews using Covidence, a systematic review management software, so that participants will come away with the ability to efficiently handle literature-intensive research methods. We will use an example data set from a health topic, but participants are welcome to apply the methods to their own data or topic during the module. 

Publishing & presenting research

Intro to conference posters

Presenter: Deborah Hemming

Available on Brightspace: June 29, 2020

Create effective posters for your projects, research, and conference presentations. Participants will learn how to use PowerPoint to create a 4x6 poster. The module will include setting dimensions, inserting text (font styles and sizes), working with images, graphs, and tables, choosing colour schemes, and more. 


Open Access and predatory publishers

Presenter: Melissa Rothfus

Available on Brightspace: June 29, 2020

Open Access publishing is not only a requirement of many funders, it benefits researchers by ensuring accessibility of their work for greatest impact – and maximum citations. Open Access publishing does require some understanding and planning, however, particularly when many misconceptions about Open Access prevail and predatory publishers are happy to exploit the confusion of the unwary. This module will provide a thorough introduction to Open Access in order to explain the multiple paths to open access and how to identify deceptive journals, enabling you to make informed choices for your research publications.