How experienced SoTL researchers develop the credibility of their work
Teaching and learning research in higher education, often referred to as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), is still relatively novel in many academic contexts compared to the mainstay of disciplinary research. One indication of this is the challenges those who engage in SoTL report in terms of how this work is valued or considered credible amongst disciplinary colleagues and in the face of institutional policies and practices. This paper moves beyond the literature that describes these specific challenges to investigate how 23 experienced SoTL researchers from five different countries understood the notion of credibility in relationship to their SoTL research and how they went about developing credibility for their work. Semi-structured interviews were facilitated and analyzed using inductive analysis. Findings indicate that notions of credibility encompassed putting SoTL research into action and building capacity and community around research findings, as well as gaining external validation through traditional indicators such as publishing. SoTL researchers reported a variety of strategies and approaches they were using, both formal and informal, to develop credibility for their work. The direct focus of this paper on credibility of SoTL work as perceived by experienced SoTL researchers, and how they go about developing credibility, is a distinct contribution to the discussions about the valuing of SoTL work.
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