Constructive friction? Charting the relation between educational research and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Keywords: educational research, SoTL, attributes, differences

Abstract

While educational research and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) are overlapping fields, over time there has appeared considerable friction between the two. There are claims that educational research has been tainted by SoTL’s emergence and that those engaged in SoTL lack adequate training. They maintain that those engaged in SoTL would benefit from a better understanding of educational research theories and methods. Some engaged in SoTL perceive educational research as too distanced from practice. What underpins these perceived differences between the two fields? How might this friction be explained? The study described in this article explored empirical, interview-based viewpoints from new and experienced educational researchers and SoTL scholars, respectively. Participants were purposefully drawn from attendees at two European conferences specializing in educational research and SoTL. The data was examined using thematic analysis and focused mainly on the perceived differences between these communities. The central themes that emerged where differences occurred are community membership and governance, scope and purpose of inquiry, and intended recipients of inquiry results. Some differences include what and who determines the value of the contribution to the field and why it is valuable. This article provides an empirically based understanding of the relative attributes of both communities. We hope that it leads to future discussions about further developing fruitful and constructive interrelationships.

Author Biographies

Maria Larsson, Lund University

Maria Larsson is Senior Lecturer and academic developer, Division for Higher Education Development, Lund University (SWE). Her research interests include how university teachers express their pedagogical competence and how the notion of SoTL can be introduced to university teachers as a means of developing practice.

Katarina Mårtensson , Lund University

Katarina Mårtensson is Senior Lecturer and Academic Developer, Division for Higher Education Development, Lund University (SWE). Engaged in issues around embedding SoTL institutionally, informal learning in collegial academic environments, and leadership, she has served as president of ISSOTL and vice president, Europe, on the ISSOTL board.

Linda Price, University of Bedfordshire

Linda Price is Professor and the Director of Academic and Organisational Development in the University of Bedfordshire (UK) and Visiting Professor at Lund University (SWE) and the Open University (UK). She has advised governments on the future of higher education and spoken at a wide range of international conferences.

Torgny Roxå, Lund University

Torgny Roxå is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, Faculty of Engineering (SWE). His research focuses on strategic change in teaching cultures in higher education organizations, especially significant networks and microcultures, and he developed the first pedagogical academy, the Lund Excellent Teaching Practitioner.

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Published
2020-03-15
How to Cite
Larsson, M., Mårtensson , K., Price, L., & Roxå, T. (2020). Constructive friction? Charting the relation between educational research and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 8(1), 61-75. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.8.1.5