What are your strengths?

What are your strengths? What are you goals? Do you want to increase your productivity? Be more effective? However you approach a research project or studying, the University Libraries have tools and tips to help. There are many ways to go about doing research and studying -- having an awareness of different ways to do it--will help. Research in metacognition tells us that having an awareness of your strengths before you begin a task or project can help you to learn more effectively. Below is information about ways to use your unique strengths to do academic and library research more effectively, efficiently and even enjoyably.

Explore the list below and see which applies to your existing strengths or areas you would like to develop. Use the tips below on an upcoming project. Afterward, reflect on how well they worked or didn’t work. Change the approach as needed. Learning how to learn is an important part of the academic (and future career) experience. Each type also identifies which strength it aligns with. If you know your top 5 Strengths, see the complete list in the Strengths guide.

Please contact Kate Peterson (katep@umn.edu) or Amy Riegelman (aspringe@umn.edu) with questions or comments.

Competitive, Focused

Strive to win first place. Anticipate obstacles. Enjoy routine.

Strengths: Analytical, Arranger, Command, Competition, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Strategic

  • Use the Assignment Calculator to plan out the research and writing steps.

  • Clarify how the points are given and spend time on the project accordingly.

  • Work to find an unusual topic that will challenge you or work to find unusual or unexpected sources (e.g. archival letter, video, interview, etc.).

  • Look for opportunities to publish your writing in a school publication, for a professional organization or an outside publication.

Social, Extrovert

Work in groups. Take social breaks. Exchange ideas.

Strengths: Communication, Connectedness, Developer, Empathy, Includer, Individualization, Maximizer, Relator, Woo

  • Since you value relationships, work with others during the research process. Seek input from librarians, professors, and Peer Research Consultants.

  • Do preliminary research on a few topics then explain to a friend what you have learned to help select a topic.

  • Try the U Libraries coffeeshops in Walter Library and Wilson Library.

  • Consider research and scholarship as a conversation.

Adaptable, Random

Go with the flow. Aware of opposing views.

Strengths: Adaptibility, Context, Harmony, Ideation

  • Since you are fascinated by ideas, engage with imaginative peers. Keep a journal and capture all of your creative ideas.

  • Pick a topic which has potential for humor and irony.

  • Do your research in the Libraries when you need to focus.

  • Explore our Archives or Special Collections and use unexpected sources (e.g. photographs, letters, blueprints, films, costumes, etc.)

Achiever, Collector

Enjoy hard work. Stay organized and manage your time.

Strengths: Consistency, Input, Intellection, Learner, Positivity, Restorative

  • Try the Pomodoro Technique to work more productively.

  • Use tools like Mendeley or Zotero for organizing your gathered notes, documents, and citations.

  • Talk to upperclassmen about their research. Consider writing for publication.

Take Action, Problem Solver

Turning thoughts into actions. Solve problems.

Strengths: Activator, Belief, Futuristic, Responsibility, Self-Assurance, Significance

  • Pick a topic for a cause or organization you are involved with such as a service learning, volunteer or student group or that appeal to your core values.

  • Find research mentors in professors, librarians, and community members.

  • Since you thrive on responsibility, go the extra mile with finding the best primary and secondary sources.

  • Your focus on ethics will guide you to properly cite sources. We recommend citation managers.

  • Since you enjoy exposure, consider publishing in a journal or presenting on your research at a conference.

Last Updated: May 25, 2021 12:46 PM