University Writing Program (UWP)

(Formerly Expository Writing.) An introduction to research skills for UWP courses.

Statistics Resources

Helpful Tutorials

Class Materials


How to Interview an Expert Without Looking Like an Idiot - This is really, really good!

Columbia Journalism Review - The Art of the Interview  There are some great tips in here, but this is geared towards journalists, rather than researchers.

Watch the video below for examples of good and bad interviews and the top ten tips for a good research interview. Remember to take notes, and audio record so that you can pull direct quotes and accurately summarize when needed.

Data Visualization

You can watch recordings of past online tutorials on data visualization and piktochart on the online workshops guide (see bottom of the page).

I love Piktochart for creating Infographics! It's easy, but takes time and is useful if you have more than one dataset you would like to chart visually.

Simple but oh, so easy, Create a Graph for when you have all of the stats you need and just need something simple. I made the one below in about 5 minutes. There are so many more online tools available for creating interesting visuals!


This Periodic table of Visualization Methods is also very cool.

Environmental Scans

Environmental Scan is a term usually used in business to describe research that seeks to find existing trends usually with a group of people with which the business markets itself, but can also be a specified subject area. The scans examine websites, social media, television viewership, etc non-invasively to try to make predictions based on people's habits and behaviors. For this class, an environmental scan also involves looking for trends that may already exist in your subject area. You can do this by examining curricula, magazines, hashtags and anything else you can think of that might highlight or illustrate a trend in your subject area that has yet to be uncovered. You will need to first development requirements and then determine the subject (and how much of the subject) with which you will examine.

One example of an applied environmental scan that is outside of business is the Bechdel Test. Both movies as well as other works of fiction have been scanned and tested to see if they meet the requirements of the test. The video below demonstrates how a specific sample group was chosen (2011 Oscar Nominated Films) how the test was applied as well as further analysis and recommendations for expanded application of the test. This is a great use and analysis of how you could do an environmental scan.

Once you have results, this is a prime area for turning into a visualization, but is not required.



First and foremost, checkout the Interview section at the top of the page. After all, you are essentially interviewing someone online or on paper, by creating a survey. You will want to make them feel comfortable enough to respond honestly and ask questions that are worded and researched beforehand.

Harvard University Tip Sheet on Question Wording

Northwestern has aggregated a page of Survey Research Tools that is helpful in all aspects of designing surveys.

Consider using Google Forms or trying out Survey Monkey once you have your questions refined.