Scholar

Considerations for your SoTL Project

As an experienced educator, you have likely undertaken and published research in your discipline. But now you need to consider how to conduct research in your classroom.

Watch the video Examples of SoTL Projects, which provides examples from three instructors who describe their research projects, the questions they were seeking to answer, and how they benefited from the experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LogmkiN6utk

The video participants describe their large and small-scale questions, and their research projects that were very specific to their disciplines and their interests. You may wish to start small with your own research.

Source: Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University and the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL). This video was produced for ISSOTL Online 2013.

Like any research project, a SoTL project requires you to formalize your research approach. Remember, what is different about SoTL is that the focus is on improving student learning outcomes as a result of classroom practices you implement, research, assess, and report.  Like any research project, a SoTL project requires you to formalize your research approach. Remember, what is different about SoTL is that the focus is on improving student learning outcomes as a result of classroom practices you implement, research, assess, and report.

Typical considerations include:

  • Identifying a research problem or a challenge of practice that interests you.
  • Developing a research question from the identified problem or challenge.
  • Using relevant literature to inform your study.
  • Designing a specific project and choosing an appropriate methodology.
  • Finding support or funding to provide you time and space to conduct the research.
  • Considering a networking and dissemination strategy to share your research and invite discussion from colleagues.

Your own research experience may predispose you to follow a deductive or quantitative approach to test a current approach to the problem. Alternatively, you may wish to take a more exploratory, inductive approach using qualitative methods to illuminate new thinking about a teaching problem. It’s really up to you what approach you take.

What kinds of problems about teaching practice interest you?

There are some well-known areas of practice that SoTL researchers have probed through classroom projects. Some of these you can explore through the University of British Columbia resources made available to educators:

Tools to Support SoTL Research

The University of British Columbia also provides SoTL Explorer, which you can use as you consider how to frame your projects in a research context: http://sotl-explorer.sites.olt.ubc.ca

SoTL Explorer

Extend Activity

  • Examine each of the practice resource links provided in this section and the SoTL Explorer.
  • Use your padlet note at http://tiny.cc/extend-scholarship to further refine your thinking about an area of research interest and a potential framework you are considering.
  • Read what your colleagues are planning in the SoTL padlet.

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