Writing and research resources for graduate students at Ohio University

If you have already decided to attend Ohio University for you graduate education, then you are probably already aware that O.U. is a top research institution. But for those who are unsure if they are going to continue their education, or who are still trying to decide where to go, they should know O.U. is nationally recognized for the research its students and faculty produce. Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the framework used to rank colleges and universities in the U.S., ranks O.U. as a “Research II University”: it is a university that consistently generates a high output of research. And because O.U. is so focused on leading the country in a wide range of fields, from avionics engineering and virtual reality to mass media and computational neuroscience, they place a premium on providing graduate students with all the tools they need to succeed in fulfilling their goal to become world class academics.

The following is a list of five things Ohio University does to help their graduate students become better communicators, researchers, and, most importantly, advanced-degree holders.


1) Librarians are probably the most easily accessible but underutilized resource. Here at O.U., every college has their own designated librarian. These people literally come to work each day for eight hours just to help you find stuff. Each one specializes in a particular subject, so no matter what you are studying, there is at least one librarian that is familiar with the type of questions you are investigating. Doing a literature review on the mating habits of pygmy marmoset monkeys? Ask the biological sciences librarian; he can help. Can’t find any research on the subharmonics of Tuvan throat singers? It’s out there; you just need an expert to help you look. All the librarians at O.U. have a master’s degree in library sciences, so they are highly trained professionals who have a passion for helping young academics succeed. Jessica Hagman, the subject librarian for the Scripps College of Communication, says “just ask.” If they don’t know the answer, then they will find someone who does.“It’s our ethos: if you ask me a question, I’m going to follow it until I get you an answer,” she said. The librarians at Alden also regularly make “how to” videos and posts them on their Youtube page. Here is a short tutorial about how to use Zotero, a dynamic research tool every grad student should know how to use.



2)  E.L.I.P., or the English Language Improvement Program, is a set of courses O.U. provides to prep grad students for academic success. If you are a native English speaker, don’t be fooled, these courses can help you with writing your thesis or dissertation. There is even a course to help you prep for the dreaded oral defense. These courses, however, are an excellent option for students who are speaking English as a second language. It is hard enough to move to a place where no one speaks your native tongue, but it is even harder to speak and write academese in a language you have not been speaking since birth. E.L.I.P. can help. They have two courses exclusively for international students that teach academic vocabulary, grammar, common idioms, strategies for public speaking, and the finer points of American culture. All of these courses can be counted towards earning your degree, and there are no extra fees or costs. Dawn Bikowski, the director of E.L.I.P., says, “No other university offers this kind of support that I have come across in the country.”

3)  The Graduate Writing and Research Center (G.W.R.C.) is another great resource available to grad students at O.U. Say the end of the semester is fast approaching and you have a major paper coming due that counts for almost your entire grade, well you can take your paper to the G.W.R.C. and have them proof it. They will help you with formatting your paper, as well as provide feedback on what corrections you need to make to have a solid paper. However, keep in mind that you have to schedule an appointment well ahead of time, so don’t expect to be able to walk in the day before your paper is due.

4)  The G.W.R.C. also holds regular workshops and events to get you in gear to sit down and write your daunting paper, thesis, or dissertation. One such workshop the G.W.R.C. regularly conducts is the “Writing the Literature Review Workshop.” This workshop will help you blast through any writer’s block you might have, and get the ball rolling on your papers. The G.W.R.C. will teach you about the structure of a literature review and how you should write one, and if you already have one written and you want them to look at it, then bring it with you. The G.W.R.C. also holds events such as “The Long Night Against Procrastination” and the “Dissertation Writing Retreat.” The Long Night Against Procrastination is a six-hour writing marathon held in Alden Library where you come in and plop yourself down and begin hacking away on whatever project is going to end your life if you do not get it finished on time. The G.W.R.C. tutors and the librarians are there to help you with whatever you need. The Dissertation Writing Retreat is exactly what it sounds like: it is a week where everything you do is about writing your dissertation. The G.W.R.C. only accepts 15 students for this event, and for five days you have to commit fully to putting in some serious work on your dissertation. If you choose to sign up for the retreat, you will be given some instruction on how to write a dissertation, tutors will be available, and they’ll even teach you some techniques for stress management.

5)  On top of providing specialized courses, E.L.I.P. also has a graduate writing and critical reading lab. These labs provide a designated place on a campus where you can come in and get feedback and tutoring on whatever project you are working on. There is always a team of experienced tutors there to help you with your research. They also have computers in the lab, so if you do not have your laptop with you, they got you covered.


There you have it folks, five incredible services O.U. goes out of their way to provide for their graduate students. If you are smart enough to get accepted as a graduate student at O.U., then you should be smart enough to take advantage of these great resources. And if you are still on the fence about coming to O.U., then shop around; I am sure you will not find a university that is more dedicated to the success of their graduate students as Ohio University is.