Choosing and Designing your SoTL Project


Choosing a topic for you SoTL project and article

The key to choosing a topic is to understand what a SoTL article is.  It’s just a paper about almost anything related to education, to teaching, to learning in which part of the article discusses the educational theory, method and/or contains assessments.

Example:  a paper explaining a fun way to teach division isn’t SoTL unless part of the paper discusses some of the history of how to teach arithmetic; or the theory relevant to your method; or compares your method to other methods; or reflects upon your experiences teaching arithmetic, or does a quantitative assessment (pre-test and post-test, hopefully with a control group), etc.

For more examples of the different types of SoTL projects see the very comprehensive:

External Links on Designing your Project

For help on designing your SoTL project see the worksheet at:

Also see the sample SoTL projects at

Read this power point on a Sample SoTL project about gender and online discussions:

Read this power point on what one SoTL Journal Editor Likes and Doesn’t Like:

Research Methods

For a comprehensive overview of research methods see:

It is helpful to think of SoTL research methods of coming in three flavors:  qualitative, quantitative, and mixed. Qualitative methods include interviews, observations, focus groups, and some surveys, especially ones with open ended questions. Typically the data from qualitative methods doesn’t lend itself to statistical analyses.  Quantitative methods involve methods which will lend themselves to statistical analysis such as tests and multiple choice or Likert scale surveys . Mixed methods combine qualitative methods with quantitative methods. For example a survey asking open ended questions about students feelings about a course can also contain Likert scale questions on the same topic (which would then be statistically analyzed). Or, you might collect data via interviews, as well as surveys. Or, you could collect statistical data while doing an interview.