Resources for Preparing your Research Proposal

One of the options to fulfill the written component of the Western Certificate in University Teaching and Learning is the submission of a 10-page research proposal that:

  1. reviews at least five scholarly articles on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in your discipline;
  2. identifies critical issues for learning in your discipline;
  3. articulates a research question to explore these critical learning issues; and
  4. proposes several ways in which you could investigate the research question.

Before beginning to develop your research proposal, please consult the following resources:

Getting Started

The following resources provide excellent overviews of SoTL, both from a theoretical and research-design perspectives. These are valuable introductions for anyone new to SoTL inquiry.

Vanderbilt Centre for Teaching and Learning - The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
A simple to navigate website that addresses the questions, 1) What is SoTL? and 2) How is SoTL done? This comprehensive site also provides examples of SoTL projects from a variety of disciplines and explores avenues for sharing your SoTL research with the public.

University of Central Florida - SoTL
A website designed to support the development of SoTL research projects by faculty and graduate students. This resource breaks the SoTL process into three distinct stages, 1) Designing & beginning, 2) Implementing & managing, and 3) Writing & Publishing. Concrete advice and examples associated with the completion of each stage is presented in a straightforward and concise fashion.

University of Wisconsin: Leadership Site for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
This site offers practical SoTL tips through their ‘ Steps to Success’ resource. Particularly useful is the section titled ‘Collecting the Data’ which provides an excellent overview of potential data collection strategies as well as links to common assessment tools.

Truman State University Centre for Teaching & Learning
Addresses the questions 1) How can I begin to think through planning a SoTL project? and 2) How have other SoTL scholars framed their questions? By providing links to very useful worksheets, periodicals and powerpoint presentations.

Getting Started with an SoTL Project (PDF)
This worksheet describes the steps involved in developing a project in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Sample Projects

  • Examples of discipline-specific SoTL projects This is a wonderful resource that provides examples in almost every discipline imaginable. This site could serve to spark your imagination and provide models of successful SoTL research carried out in the recent past.
  • SoTL galleries at seven different institutions of higher education in the U.S.
  • Web snapshots of SoTL projects by Illinois State University faculy, staff, and students. The projects span a number of disciplines, including health sciences, psychology and criminal justice.
  • The Gallery of Teaching and Learning provides premier, digital representations of knowledge related to teaching and learning. The carefully crafted and vetted work of numerous participants of Carnegie Foundation programs and partners provides examples for individuals, projects, departments, institutions, communities of practice, and for the simply curious.
  • Examples of projects developed by Maricopa Institute for Learning Fellowship winners. During their year-long fellowship, MIL Fellows engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning through projects. The Fellows' projects address issues that are recognized as important by their peers and disciplinary/professional communities and that focus on how students learn key concepts in various disciplines.


A 28-page SoTL bibliography (PDF) prepared for the Society of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) conference in 2009.

Recommended Books

Boyer, Ernest L.  (1990).  Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Often identified as the book that began the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning movement.
  • Suggests that institutions need to break out of the old teaching versus research debate and define, in more creative ways what it means to be a scholar. In response to this challenge, this book proposes four views of scholarship -- discovery, integration, application, and teaching.

Cross, K. Patricia and Steadman, M. (1996).  Classroom Research: Implementing the Scholarship of Teaching.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  • Takes teachers through the investigative process of designing simple research projects to enhance their own and students' understanding of the learning process.
  • Engages teachers in problem-based discussions, integrates their teaching experience with recent research and theory on learning, and gives examples of Classroom Assessment and Classroom Research projects that can be carried out in any classroom. It provides a pathway into "the scholarship of teaching".

Perry, R.P. & Smart, J.C. (2007).   The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

  • This book brings together pre-eminent scholars from Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and the USA to critically assess teaching and learning issues that cut across most disciplines.
  • In addressing long-standing and newly emerging issues, the researchers examine the scientific evidence on what constitutes effective teaching in college classrooms, on the psychometric integrity of measures of teaching effectiveness, and on the use of such measures for tenure, promotion, and salary decisions.

Becker, W. E., & Andrews, M. L. (Eds.) (2004).  The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: Contributions of research universities. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

  • This book provides examples of a few of the many ways in which full-time, tenured, or tenure track faculty members at research universities advance teaching and learning of undergraduates by applying their research skills in their classrooms, laboratories, and individualized work with students.

Huber, M. T. (2004). Balancing acts: The scholarship of teaching and learning in academic careers. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education and Carnegie Foundation.

  • How can faculty integrate the scholarship of teaching and learning into their academic careers? Balancing Acts addresses this question through the experience of four scholars who have been innovators in their own classrooms, leaders of education initiatives in their institutions and disciplines, and pioneers in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

SoTL Periodicals

International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
This electronic journal published twice yearly by the Center for Excellence in Teaching at Georgia Southern University provides a peer-reviewed international vehicle for articles, materials, and discussions of SoTL and its applications in higher education.

The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CJSoTL)
CJSoTL is a peer reviewed, trans-disciplinary, open-access electronic journal created and supported by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. CJSoTL publishes submissions from academic professionals working to understand and enhance learning through systematic scholarly inquiry: articles relevant to the Canadian context, that shed new light on the teaching and learning interests of post-secondary education in Canada, including quantitative and/or qualitative research reports and essays examining issues in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

The Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (JoSoTL)
Founded at Indiana University South Bend in 2001, this e-journal publishes articles on SoTL and maintains an archive of past issues, all downloadable as PDF files. Also has a list of websites, books, journals, and organizations that support SoTL.

MountainRise: an electronic journal dedicated to the scholarship of teaching and learning
Published twice a year by the Coulter Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Western Carolina University, this e-journal is an international, peer-reviewed journal focused on SoTL.

Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning Journal
An eJournal, published by Kwantlen Polytechnic University, focused on the improvement of adult teaching and learning, including contributions from areas beyond academia such as workplace learning.