Help Someone Else

The goal: To assist and empower other researchers
Review: pp. 196-199 of Where Research Begins

Ready to help other people become better researchers? If you’ve found the philosophy, techniques, skills, and exercises of Where Research Begins useful in your own work, you can help other researchers by sharing what you’ve learned. Even while you are still finding your center as a researcher, you can help other researchers to find theirs, as a partner and a Sounding Board. In fact, in our experience, the best way to get the most out of the “Try This Now” exercises is to teach them to others. So, try them now! Find a partner. Form a team. The goal of self-centered research, after all, is to empower you to make a difference both in your own life, and in the world.

Here are a just few ways you can help fellow researchers.

Write to us at to share your own favorites.

  • Ask what they are working on
  • Listen to their answer
  • Ask clarification questions as needed
  • Ask if they want help with anything
  • Ask which parts of their project are most important, and which are most urgent
  • Ask how they would explain to someone outside their field or discipline what is the problem they are trying to solve
  • Ask what theoretical, methodological, or practical challenges they are currently facing in their research
  • Ask what is the one [type of] source they most wish they had for their research
  • Share a finding aid or research database
  • Introduce them to someone inside—or outside—their field or discipline who might be able to offer relevant information, leads, or advice, or just be a neutral Sounding Board
  • Ask what title they would give their research project, if it were a Hollywood movie
  • Ask what study they might want to do someday, if they had the time and resources
  • Teach them a Try This Now exercise, like Before and After or Change One Variable
  • Read and write comments on their draft research prospectus, report, article, or chapter
  • Serve as a respondent for their paper after they present it at a conference or seminar
  • Organize a writing (not talking) group or partnership that meets regularly to write simultaneously
  • Organize a reading (not writing or talking) group that meets regularly to read their own primary or secondary sources
  • Organize a note-taking group that meets regularly to write and organize notes on their own sources
  • Organize a Further Reading group
  • Organize a research workshop, in which participants present parts of their study-in-progress and receive live oral feedback or written feedback
  • Be forthcoming with honest, candid, and constructive criticism
  • Offer only help that you feel comfortable giving and qualified to give
  • Thank them for sharing their ideas and experiences with you