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Queen's University

Centre for Teaching and Learning

Guidelines for the Design of SoTL Project

The exact approach to SoTL will naturally vary with the focus and context, yet most projects will involve the following 6 steps. To discuss your scholarship project with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, please arrange for a consultation.

1. Problem, issue, or question

What is the problem or issue you wish to address with your project?

Describe what you see in your students’ behaviour that you wish to better understand or change, for example, aspects of content (such as test scores), process (such as ability to work in a group), or climate (such as morale).  Be as specific as possible in describing the situation.

List the learning objectives that students will be able to better achieve after you implement your project.  Put them in active statements, such as, “students will be able to define (analyse, identify, and so on) …”

2. Context

What have others done to address this problem?

Early into your project, you may not have much of an answer here; in fact, investigating the literature may be part of your project.  What topics will you address?  What resources will you use?

3. Proposed solution

How do you plan to address the issue, solve the problem, or answer the question? Are you doing anything differently than others have attempted?  Why or why not? Describe what you will do to change or improve the behaviour you described in 1, above.  Explain why your planned approach, with your students in your course, will likely succeed better than prior similar attempts.

4. Evaluation 

How will you determine the success and effectiveness of your solution and the impact of your project? Describe how you will know that student behaviour has changed or improved and/or that student learning is up to the desired standards (as described in 1).  While you may not be able to achieve your results in the short term, you should have a plan in place to evaluate your project and report on your results.

5. Communication

How/where will you share your results with colleagues?  How will you obtain peer feedback on your results? Although peer-reviewed articles often come to mind first when we think of the dissemination of research, there are other ways to make your research public: 

  • Workshop
  • Conference presentation
  • Teaching dossier/portfolio
  • Website
  • Peer mentoring/review
  • Grant proposal
  • Other publications (e.g., campus or teaching)

6. Timeline

Indicate the dates of project initiation and completion for each step of your design, implementation, and evaluation.

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