Practice Article

SHARPGrads: Development and Assessment of a Research Skills Workshop Program for Graduate Students at the University of South Carolina

  • Stacy L Winchester (University of South Carolina)
  • Amie Dillard Freeman (University of South Carolina)


INTRODUCTION Academic libraries are placing increasing emphasis on the provision of instruction for graduate students in non-traditional research skills and competencies such as scholarly communication concepts, data management and visualization, and text mining. Since proficiency in these concepts is often expected of graduate students but training may not be offered in the classroom, the library is a natural home for such instruction. DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM Librarians at the University of South Carolina created a two-day workshop series for graduate students called SHARPGrads. This paper describes the planning process, survey method used to develop and assess the program, and findings obtained from attendance and survey responses. A successful collaboration with the university’s Graduate School led to higher than expected registration. Post-assessment feedback demonstrates that targeting training to graduate students early in their program of study is advantageous. Furthermore, students in social sciences and humanities disciplines reported that SHARPGrads met their expectations to a higher degree than students in the sciences and health sciences. Although a number of survey respondents reported that the training program was too short, participant retention during day two of the program dropped significantly. NEXT STEPS An evaluation of the range of second day training opportunities is considered for the next iteration of the program. Results taken from this study and recommendations for future programs will be useful for librarians involved in the development and implementation of workshops for graduate students.

Keywords: graduate students, library workshops, skills training, digital research, online research presence, data, graduate programming, research skills

How to Cite:

Winchester, S. L. & Freeman, A. D., (2020) “SHARPGrads: Development and Assessment of a Research Skills Workshop Program for Graduate Students at the University of South Carolina”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 8(1), eP2372. doi:

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Published on
09 Nov 2020
Peer Reviewed