Conceptualizing and Communicating SoTL: A Framework for the Field

Janice Miller-Young, Michelle Yeo


The emerging field of SoTL is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor which requires embracing a diverse range of research methods and disciplinary differences in world views. This diversity has caused a lack of coherence in its conceptualization and communication, which can be confusing for new scholars. Ongoing debates in the community concern the use of theory and methodology, as well as definitional questions of what constitutes SoTL and the nature of its purpose. This article offers a framework for conceptualizing the field which attempts to broadly delineate the available learning theories underlying and methodologies appropriate to studying teaching and learning, while intending to be hospitable to a broad range of diverse disciplines. Further, the framework illustrates the tacit links between learning theories and methodologies, serving as a guide to potential approaches to SoTL work. The framework is illustrated with example SoTL studies. It is hoped that the framework will help ground future SoTL investigations in appropriate theories and methodologies, and build interdisciplinary communication and understanding in the “trading zone” that is SoTL.

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Teaching & Learning Inquiry is the official journal of the
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