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Common Quandaries Event Archive

This page contains descriptions of our past Common Quandaries workshops and other related events along with relevant materials and resources.

Find our full listing of developing video resources here, and click here to go to upcoming events or check out the calendar in the left sidebar.

See an event you're interested in but don't see it on our upcoming calendar? Email us at to request an event or further resources.


Common Quandaries Graduate Student Workshop Series

Organizing Your Research and Using Citation Managers

Last Offered: 9/12/17 & 11/14/17

Developed by: Hang Minh Le (hle12 at umd dot edu), Nick Slaughter (naslaughter dot english at gmail dot com) and Abbey Morgan (amorgan5 at umd dot edu)

Description: Still adapting your workflow to graduate school? Starting a new project and worried about staying organized? Need a solution for keeping track of your PDFs and other files? Learn strategies for organizing your research, hear the experiences of other graduate students, consider the benefits of cloud storage apps, and get introduced to citation managers like EndNote Web, Mendeley, and Zotero.

Resources: Workshop materials; LibGuide; Video tutorial


Curating Your Professional Digital Presence

Last Offered:10/10/17 & 11/9/17

Developed by: Katie Kaczmarek Frew, Setsuko Yokoyama, Terry Owen

Description: Have you considered establishing an online presence for your academic identity? Wondering how to leverage social media to build academic contacts and publicize your own work? Want to learn how open access publication and repositories might benefit you? Did you know there are library resources that could help with these topics and more? This workshop will help you to think about how to approach social media as a professional, how you might engage in the professional online conversations in your field, and best practices for sharing your own work or others'. You will also learn about how libraries' resources can benefit your scholarly reputation. Bring your laptops to set up accounts or get feedback on the digital presence you've already established!

Resources: Workshop Materials

Speed Geeking, Or How I Learned to Love Talking about My Research Interests outside My Discipline

Last Offered: 9/19/17 & 10/18/17

Developed by: Nick Slaughter (naslaughter dot english at gmail dot com) and Abbey Morgan (amorgan5 at umd dot edu)

Description: By “Speed Geeking” we mean that we’re challenging you to practice talking about your research interests to different audiences—each other! The format is like speed dating where participants rotating around the room and talking to different people, but you’ll be focusing on why you’re here in graduate school and the things you’re working on. This is an important skill to develop for a number of scenarios in which networking will be important to you: conferences, job hunting, explaining to your aunt and uncle what it is that is consuming your life at the University of Maryland. Another way to think of this exercise is as an extended “elevator pitch,” the idea of explaining your research to someone quickly and concisely during an elevator ride.

Resources:  Workshop Materials

Getting Started with Poster Design

Last Offered: 10/3/17 & 11/1/17

Developed by: Erin Durham,  Nick Slaughter (naslaughter dot english at gmail dot com) and Abbey Morgan (amorgan5 at umd dot edu)

Description: Are you interested in participating in poster sessions at conferences or other events but don’t know how to get started? Want to learn how you might easily include some graphic design into how you communicate about your scholarship? Then come join us to get started with poster design!

Resources: Lib Guide

The Ins and Outs of Academic Publishing: A Graduate Student Panel

Last Offered: 11/8/17

Developed by: Nick Slaughter, Abbey Morgan, Stephanie Cork, Sarah Allard, and Ruth Osorio

Description: Are you a grad student trying to wrap your head around the academic publishing process? Not sure if you’re at the right stage to get started? Need to know what to expect? Interested in knowing what publishing is like for grad students in different disciplines? Come ask your questions and hear some answers from other students like you!

Science Communication for the Non-Scientist

Last Offered: 3/28/17

Developed by: Lauren Young and Nick Slaughter (naslaughter dot english at gmail dot com)

Description: Have your research interests turned toward the interdisciplinary? Are you working on a new project a little outside your normal academic field? Need to get familiar with the writing and methodology in STEM disciplines? Always wanted to meet a STEM librarian? We've got the workshop for you! The workshop will introduce different genres of science communication and their potential value to your research, as well as strategies for using STEM-specific library databases. Last but not least, we'll break down a STEM research article, discussing its structure and other formal aspects, to give you a footing for approaching other articles in the future.

Resources: See our video tutorial here; click link for handouts!

Libraries' Resources Refresher

Last Offered: 2/28/17

Developed by: Patricia Herron, Chuck Howell, Stephanie Ritchie, and Nick Slaughter (naslaughter dot english at gmail dot com)

Description: Has it been a while since your campus libraries orientation? Couldn't make it at the time? Join us at the McKeldin Research Commons for a Libraries Refresher Workshop to remind yourself of what your libraries have to offer. Meet three subject specialist librarians, learn about some essential library resources you might have missed out on, ask questions, and be put in touch with the people who have the answers!

Resources: Workshop Materials

Co-Sponsored and Related Events

Graduate School Writing Center Research Write-In Events

Description: On the first Friday of every month, join the Graduate School Writing Center for a twist on the Weekly Write-in: the Research Write-In.  We’ll be joined by a Research & Learning librarian who will offer an opening lesson about effective search strategies, and then be available throughout the session to support you with your research questions and challenges.  As usual, there will be a Fellow from the Graduate School Writing Center available for writing consultations. For more information and to register, please go to

How to Write a Literature Review: An Introduction to Writing and Research in Graduate School

Description: The Graduate School Writing Center, in partnership with the Libraries, recently offers workshops for graduate students focused on entering an academic conversation through research and writing. The workshops cover graduate-specific library privileges, effective research and citation practices, writing from sources, and a general introduction to the literature review process. 

Resources: Workshop video recording