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Researcher's Toolkit: Think & Plan

Understand the Research Process

Want to learn more about the research process? Explore our resources or contact us.

Get Started with Knowledge Translation and Knowledge Synthesis (Systematic/ Scoping Reviews)

Knowledge Translation is a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system. (CIHR)

Knowledge Synthesis, in the context of knowledge translation, means the contextualization and integration of research findings of individual research studies within the larger body of knowledge on the topic. (CIHR)

An early step in your knowledge synthesis project is to understand the literature currently published on your topic.  A scoping review, systematic review or environmental scans, for example, can help lay the foundation and identify knowledge gaps.  New to knowledge translation research or undertaking a knowledge synthesis project? Check out these helpful resources or contact us for more information.

Refine Your Research Question

Question development is an integral part of an effective search.  A good question focuses your information needs, identifies key search concepts, and points you in the direction of potential resources. Question refinement is an iterative process that may involve an initial search of the literature.

Library Resources

Prepare a Research Protocol

When developing a new project, one of the first steps will be to write the research protocol or project description.  Basically, it is an overview of your project including a description of your research question and a detailed plan on how you will answer it. Research ethics must be considered in all studies and not only if you are working with living creatures. Your protocol will outline how you plan to deal with these issues and will require ethics approval when working with humans.

Grant Support and Research Collaboration

A protocol should include an overview of the financial costs and details of the study design. Librarians provide free consultations to advise on aspects of the grant submission, such as:

Budget Component

A librarian can advise on costs associated with hiring expert searchers, accessing resources (e.g. interlibrary loans), and article processing fees (Open Access).


A librarian can advise on the structure of your comprehensive search strategy and resource/database selection for knowledge syntheses or clinical trials research.

Publishing Compliance

A librarian can advise you on article processing charges (APC) associated with publishing requirements by funders.

Find more books on writing proposals for research grants

 Contact Us to Book a Research Consult


Librarian as a Member of your Research Team

Funding agencies frequently recommend librarians be a member of the research team because of their expertise:

"Your team should have the required skills for each area of the project. It is strongly recommended that each team includes an expert in the content area(s) covered by the synthesis, an expert in synthesis methods and an information scientist or librarian." (CHIR).

In this role the librarian will develop the search protocol, create and execute comprehensive health and related database search strategies, and recommend grey literature resources. Librarians will draft the search methods section of the manuscript, review the manuscript, recommend author keywords for manuscript submission, and respond to peer reviewer comments related to the search strategy.  In lieu of a fee-for-serve, the librarian would be given authorship on any published works generated by the project. Librarians can provide letters of support based on library resources and their level of participation in the research project. Their availability to join your research team is determined on a case by case basis.

Data Management Planning

In preparation for your research project it is essential to consider how the data being collected or generated will be handled both short and long-term. During the planning phase it is important to acquaint yourself with the data management and sharing requirements of your funding agency.

Visit Research Data Management Services for more information including a guide to integrating RDM best practices within the research cycle. Learn how to develop a data management plan (DMP) at the beginning of a research project to ensure future usability, preservation and access.  Tips on how to encrypt data, what funders require, how to handle sensitive data, and more...

Author Profiles

The number of citations, downloads, views, or media mentions a piece of research receives is a good indicator of the impact that research is having on the world.  Understanding how to articulate your impact is an important skill when applying for promotion, tenure, or grant funding. 

A librarian can provide guidance and support for the assessment of individual or group research impact, such as:

  • Selecting appropriate indicators/benchmarks for your needs
  • Using library resources to generate key indicators
  • Enhancing your research impact through strategic scholarly communication
  • Maintaining researcher profiles to efficiently track your impact

Academic Integrity & Plagarism

Research integrity is vital to your research project.  Stay knowledgeable to avoid problems in the future.