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Study Skills

Build your own research skills!

Take time to do your own research… …

but not too much time, if you find after some searching you can’t figure it out move on to contacting someone for support. You don’t want to waste so much time only to be right where you started.

Google or Youtube it! (with caution!)

If you are feeling stuck understanding a concept or how to do a certain task (e.g., APA formatting, running a statistical test), consider doing a quick google or YouTube search. You may find that others have struggled in the same way you are and have even created brief tutorials to teach others how to address the issue. There are obviously risks in googling information or looking up how to do something on YouTube, so it is important to be a critical user of any information you find. However, this is often an overlooked resource for filling in small gaps in your knowledge.

Use your university supports!

Email and meet with your faculty.

First try to get questions answered via email. This will be the quickest method for you to reach your faculty and for them to respond to you. Faculty are required to respond to you within 48 hours.

For more complex topics, schedule a phone or video chat meeting. NU faculty are available via phone or video chat. Most often, faculty will prefer to use skype or zoom if you are interested in meeting via video. Either platform is free for you to use.

Use the Academic Success Center.
  • Articles and resources to support your writing.
  • Paper organization tips.
  • Grammar and Academic Writing Style (Grammarly provided for free).
  • Academic Writer for APA support.
  • You can also work with a writing coach.
  • Need a quick answer to a question? You can review frequently asked questions and even chat with an ASC staff member.
Search the Library.

Did you know that you can reach a librarian 5 different ways? They can answer questions about how to navigate the library or how to help you streamline your searches for resources.

  • Use a library guide. Did you know the library has already compiled a series of guides for each academic discipline? Find those that apply to you here:
  • Ebooks. Often students are familiar with the general search option for finding resources in the library. Keep in mind that at NU you have access to thousands of ebooks that can be great additional resources for learning more about challenging topics. Two ebook libraries that shouldn’t be overlooked include:
    • Ebook Central:
    • Sage Knowledge (tip: not only are there ebooks on sage, but also encyclopedias that provide brief, easy to understand definitions of concepts):
Use The Commons.

This can be a great way to ask other students questions about course content, NU resources, or assignment instructions.

Contact Disability Services if you need to.

Keep in mind that if you have a disability or health issue that has the potential to affect your completion of course requirements, you may qualify for accommodations. Reach out to your advisor for more information if you think you might qualify for specific types of support. You can also contact disability services directly via email at

Use your social support network!

Use social media

For example- the MFT program has a Facebook group where students can ask each other questions.

Phone a friend!

Do you have a coworker or friend in your field or similar field? Consider giving them a call or shooting them an email or text to see if they have any insight or advice for tackling the content you are struggling with.

Avoid short cuts

Students may be more likely to commit academic integrity violations when they are struggling with understanding course content. At their wit’s end they might resort to copying a paper or content from other resources without proper citations. If you find yourself in this situation, consider taking an extra day to complete an assignment with integrity to avoid plagiarism and related consequences.

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