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By doing research, teachers take charge of their own professional development, which in turn shapes how they go about doing their teaching.

—Barkhuizen, Burns, Dikilitaş, & Wyatt[1]


Considerations for your SoTL project

As an experienced educator, you may have already done some research in your field and published it, or you might be thinking of doing some research. Before beginning, you need to consider how to conduct research for your context.

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. The video participants describe their large and small-scale questions, and research projects that were very specific to their disciplines and their interests. There is nothing wrong with starting small with your own research.

Like any research project, a SoTL project requires you to formalise your research approach. Remember, what is different about SoTL is that the focus is on improving learning outcomes as a result of 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 and diverse literature to inform your study
  • Designing a specific project and choosing an appropriate methodology
  • Obtaining Research Ethics approval for your research
  • 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/learning problem. It is really up to you what approach you take.


  1. Barkhuizen, G., Burns, A., Dikilitaş, K., & Wyatt, M. (2018). Empowering teacher-researchers, empowering learners. p. 7