University Libraries offers undergraduate research skills virtual seminar series

October 02, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State University Libraries is presenting a series of free virtual seminars designed to help undergraduate students build and enhance research skills.

Co-sponsored with the Office for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring, “Undergraduate Research Skills” will offer undergraduate students an opportunity to learn more about and improve their skills in the areas of experimental design, citation management, data management, qualitative research and data analytics.

All sessions will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Advance registration is required.

For more information, contact Hailley Fargo, student engagement coordinator, at, or Briana Ezray, research data librarian for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), at

Following is a schedule of seminar topics and dates:

Introduction to Experimental Design

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Good experimental design is essential for effective and efficient data collection as well as reliable research results. In this session, students will be introduced to the basic elements and types of experimental design (e.g., unit of replication, sample size, and variables) as well as a step-by-step method to plan, design and conduct an experiment.

Presenter: Briana Ezray. Register here.

Citation Management Using Zotero and Mendeley

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Learning to use citation management tools can simplify the time-consuming process of organizing and keeping track of scholarly literature you cite, as well as make literature reviews easier. This session will show how to use two free citation management tools, Mendeley and Zotero, to manage resources, automate the citation process and create bibliographies with the push of a button.

Presenter: Elise Gowen, Earth and Mineral Sciences Librarian. Register here.

Introduction to Data Management

Tuesday, Oct. 20

Actively managing data throughout each phase of a research project can prevent data loss or version confusion and make it easier to understand and share data in the future. It is vital for research transparency and reproducibility. Students will be exposed to data management practices including planning, documenting and organizing data properly, storing and backing up data, sharing and preserving data, and safeguarding sensitive data.

Presenter: Briana Ezray. Register here.

Introduction to Qualitative Research

Wednesday, Oct. 28

Qualitative research methods rely on the collection of unstructured, non-numerical data such as written survey responses, interview transcripts, ethnographic field notes or audiovisual recordings. They are broadly used in fields as varied as information system design, psychology and cultural anthropology. This session introduces qualitative data analysis methods, their respective benefits and shortcomings, and software tools that facilitate their use in research.

Presenter: Seth Erickson, Research Data Librarian for Social Sciences. Register here.

Introduction to Quantitative Research

Thursday, Oct. 29

What do you do after collecting data? How do you progress from Excel sheets and questionnaires to data-driven insights and conclusions? How do you actually answer your research questions and hypotheses? With a focus on numerical data, we’ll introduce quantitative research and data analysis methods, interactively demonstrating how to move from data collection to meaningful interpretation. No prior experience in data analytics is expected.

Presenter: David Chen, Research Consultant. Register here.

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Last Updated October 08, 2020