Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning

Educational Research in Higher Education

The Centre for Teaching & Learning offers support and resources to individuals and research groups engaging in educational research, also referred to as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Download the complete guide: Educational Research: A Practical Guide  (PDF, 1.64 MB). Assistance is provided in these ways: Cover of Educational Research: A Practical Guide


  • Discussing how to get started with educational research and the areas of research that most interest you.
  • Scanning the research literature to locate examples of studies in your area of interest.
  • Providing background context and ideas for research approaches for your study.

Research Grants

The Centre offers two types of educational research grants. Please see the website description and read about the projects of past winners. We offer help with:

  • Reviewing existing grants and awards for educational research at Queen's.  
  • Helping put the grant application together.
  • Discussing the ethics review process and requirements for Queen's General Research Ethics Board.


Introductory educational research workshops are offered twice a year. We also offer an annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series listed under programs. Each 3-hour interactive session provides opportunities to discuss your project with colleagues and receive feedback on approaches to the design of your study.

The Purpose of Educational Research

Educational research "... aims to bring a scholarly lens—the curiosity, the inquiry, the rigor, the disciplinary variety—to what happens in the classroom... [It] begins with intellectual curiosity, is conducted deliberately and systematically, is grounded in an analysis of some evidence, and results in findings shared with peers to be reviewed and to expand a knowledge base." (Nancy Chick, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching). The reasons for pursuing educational research are to:

  • Examine your classroom practice through a systematic process of inquiry.
  • Record successes and challenges with the goal of improving student learning and teaching practice.
  • Reflect on findings in relation to existing educational research literature.
  • Validate your teaching practice and build theory relating to educational approaches.
  • Share and disseminate experiences to build upon what we know about teaching and learning processes.

Educational research is a cyclical and iterative process where one stage informs the next. As with any research project, new information and learning at each stage influences previous and subsequent steps which can lead to changes in the research question and the research design. 

Educational Research: A Practical Guide offers information on:

  • Formulating educational research questions
  • Researching the education literature
  • Designing a research approach & selecting research methods
  • Completing an ethics review 
  • Creating a data management plan
  • Evaluating & reflecting on your research
  • Communicating & sharing research  
educational research process


Image: C.Laverty

Other Resources: 

Elgie, S., Childs, R., Fenton, N., Levy, B. A., Lopes, V., Szala-Meneok, K., & Wiggers, R. D. (2012). Researching teaching and student outcomes in postsecondary education: A guide. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

Miller-Young, J., & Yeo, M. (2015)Conceptualizing and communicating SoTL: A framework for the fieldTeaching and Learning Inquiry, 3(2), 37-53. doi:10.2979/teachlearninqu.3.2.37

O'Brien, M. (2008). Navigating the SoTL Landscape: A Compass, Map and Some Tools for Getting Starting. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2), 1-20.

Stockley, D., & Balkwill, L. (2013). Raising awareness of research ethics in SoTL: The role of educational developersThe Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 4(1), Article 7. 
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2013.1.7