VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Advance Your Research

Advance Your Research (AYR) is a series of webinars and workshops geared towards graduate students and other advanced researchers that are designed to help make the research process better, faster and smarter.

Literature Reviews

Preparing a Literature Review in the Behavioral and Social Sciences - Sergio Chaparro and Kelsey Cheshire
Conducting a literature review can feel like a daunting task.  Overcome your anxiety before your next research project by learning helpful tips and tricks for conducting literature reviews in the behavioral and social sciences.

Getting Started with Systematic Reviews - John Cyrus (2016)

An introductory workshop on planning and conducting a systematic review. Topics include creating a protocol, the investigator's role and how librarians can help throughout the process.

Learn to Love Your Lit Review - Nita Bryant and John Glover (2013)

This online session will cover how to locate the important literature on your topic, track down citations and organize them effectively.

Library Databases and Tools

Virginia is for Local Information Lovers - Donna Coghill, Janet Reid and Julie Arendt (2019)

Having difficulty locating specific details on a local company, event, or controversy? Join us for a webinar to learn

  • Best databases for local information
  • Non-database resources for accessing local news
  • Tricks for limiting searches to particular geographic regions

PubMed: Make the Most of the Premier Biomedical Database - Emily Hurst (2018)

Learn to search MEDLINE via PubMed, including basic features and search techniques such as limits, display options, and print formats. Methods to identify locally available journals or full-text online articles will also be discussed. At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to

  • Describe disciplines covered by and material included in PubMed​.
  • Understand why and how to access PubMed through VCU libraries.
  • Perform a simple search in PubMed and view search history.
  • Identify options for displaying search results.
  • Discuss options for limiting or filtering results of search.
  • Connect to VCU Libraries holding to obtain full text of articles.

Show Me the Money! Use PIVOT to Find Funding Opportunities - Melissa Throckmorton (2018)

Learn step-by-step how to use the PIVOT search engine to find funding opportunities specific to your research. You will learn how to

  • Write a lay-language abstract of your project to determine the type of funding you may need, timing and deadlines, and specific keywords you can use for a targeted search.
  • Set up your funding search and make it work automatically.
  • Filter, sort and analyze the search results to find the funding opportunities most suited to your needs.

A Date with Data from ICPSR - Nina Exner (2018)

Learn how to use ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) to find real research data for secondary analysis for your course paper, thesis, article or classroom. This overview will

  • Introduce you to the vast range of regional, national and international datasets, data series and thematic collections available from ICPSR.
  • Demonstrate their relevance to disciplines and programs throughout the university.
  • Highlight tools available for data planning, data management and data processing.
  • Introduce data-driven learning guides designed to reinforce key concepts in the social sciences.


Secondary Data Search and Retrieval: Sources, Exports, and Imports - Nina Exner (2021)

This session will address secondary analysis steps between operationalizing the constructs and running the analysis. We will discuss extracting a dataset, finding the data and codebook in the data package, and uploading to App2Go.

Data Searching for Secondary Data Analysis - Nina Exner (2020)

It can be surprisingly hard to find data for a specific research question. This session will introduce tools and concepts for more effective data searching, for students who are new to secondary analysis.

Incorporating Feminist Practice into Your Research - Kelsey Cheshire, Pattie Sobczak, and Hillary Miller (2019)

Have you considered how to assimilate your personal beliefs as a feminist into your scholarly pursuits? This webinar will present theoretical approaches to incorporate feminist practice in your research. 

SAGE Research Methods: Your Online Research Partner - John Cyrus and Erica Brody (2018)

Do you ever find yourself stuck at some part of the research process? Are you in a class or program that requires you to do a research project and you don’t know where to start? Or perhaps, you have collected all of your data and are not quite sure how to approach analysis? SAGE Research Methods can help you move forward. This online database has information to guide users through each step of the research process, from defining a topic to research design and writing a manuscript for publication.

Research Tools

Organize and Share Your Research Projects with OSF...remotely! - Nina Exner (2020)

Do you wish there was one place you could store research files, track versions in any file (not just Google files), and share with teammates and advisors? We’ll share how the Open Science Framework (OSF) lets you do all that plus share research publicly or on your CV when you’re done.

Evaluating Information

Evaluating Information during COVID-19: Preprints, Retractions, Politics, Rumors, and More - Erica Brody and Hillary Miller (2020)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, how do we balance the "need for speed" with the risks of moving too fast when evaluating the quality of research to make important decisions?

Researching Globally: Search Strategy and Tips - Sergio Chaparro (2020)

Have you considered how much research is being produced outside of the United States? This webinar is intended to expose students to information resources and databases that contain international research.


Publishing a Journal Article: A Getting Started Guide for Graduate Students - Stacey Wahl, Hillary Miller, and Julie Arendt (2021)

You’ve done the research. Now it’s time to share the results by writing an article for publication. Join this interactive webinar to get started with journal authoring and publishing.

Publishing Scams: Spotting Predatory Journals and Thesis Publishers - Nina Exner and Hillary Miller (2018)

Publishing scams take money from students and even faculty and give nothing in return. This webinar will share some common predatory publishing schemes and how to tell the real publishing offers from the fakes.


A Tale of Two Posters: Print and Digital Academic Posters - Hope Kelly, Carla-Mae Crookendale, and Eric Johnson (2021)

Help your audiences better understand your research! Learn tips for designing engaging conference posters, and configuring your content for both print and digital formats.

Get Creative (Commons) - Carla-Mae Crookendale (with Hillary Miller) (2018)

Learn about Creative Commons and how to find, use and create Creative Commons licensed media. During this session, you will learn

  • What Creative Commons licenses are.
  • How and where to find Creative Commons licensed content you can reuse.
  • How to apply Creative Commons licenses to content you create to share with others.

Maintaining Your Research

Get Ready for Summer (Research)! - John Glover (2019)
Learn to make the most of summer! With advance planning, you can optimize your research and writing time, keep your productivity up, and have more time for beaches and barbecues.


Personal Branding: Building your professional platform - Carla-Mae Crookendale

Learn why personal branding is important for career advancement in any field. Discover strategies and resources to refine your brand.


APA 7th Edition: What You Need to Know - Nia Rodgers and Erin Carrillo (2020)

This webinar will introduce attendees to changes to the latest edition of the APA style manual.

Keeping Track of Your Citations - Erin Carrillo and Rachel Koenig (2019)

Learn how to choose the citation management tool best for your research. This session will include an introduction to the features of Mendeley and Zotero.