5 Stages of SoTL – Guidance on how to ‘do’ SoTL

5 Stages of SoTL – Guidance on how to ‘do’ SoTL

Small version of 5 bit SoTL jigsaw

Engaging in SoTL projects can be difficult for many different reasons.  If you are fairly new to the concept of SoTL then it may be that is it still an abstract concept for you, and so you are not really sure what SoTL actually looks like.  Perhaps, even if you have a fairly clear idea of what SoTL is, you haven’t tried to start your own project, and so you are unsure of where to start, or the scope of the project that you should be aiming for.  Maybe you have ‘dabbled’ in SoTL before but you are keen to embark upon another project to refine your SoTL and hone your skills and to increase the potential impact of your work on the wider academic audience.  The aim of this section is to provide guidance on how to prepare and implement a SoTL project, and this should be helpful to complete beginners and novices.

Assessment of SoTL
Glassick, Huber & Maeroff (1997) proposed six assessment standards that should be considered to evaluate the extent to which work is scholarly.  These standards were designed to apply as much to the scholarship of teaching and learning as to the other types of scholarship identified by Boyer (1990) (including the scholarship of discovery, i.e. discipline-specific research).  In brief, these assessment standards are:

  • Clear goals
  • Adequate preparation
  • Appropriate methods
  • Significant results
  • Effective presentation
  • Reflective critique

(see assessment of scholarship section for more information on these).

Since these are the generally agreed standards for the assessment of scholarship, it makes sense then that we bear in mind these criteria for our SoTL projects during the preparation and implementation stages of our projects.  To help with this, the five webpages offered as part of this web resource adhere to these six assessment criteria (we've decided to combine appropriate methods and significant results for the purposes of this resource).  The 5 steps or areas of activity are:


Each of the webpages relating to these 5 areas contain a brief explanation and some questions/activities to facilitate you through the process. The aim of these pages is not to overly complicate the process, as those of you who are already active within a scholarly discipline will likely be very familiar with these processes of scholarship already, and so the aim instead is just to demonstrate how these processes can be applied specifically to SoTL.  These pages will likely be most useful for people who are new to SoTL in particular and/or scholarship in general, are not sure where to start in setting up a SoTL project, or are having difficulty in applying scholarly processes to teaching and learning.