Bringing credibility to teaching and learning research

Billot, Jennie, Rowland, Susan, Carnell, Brent, Amundsen, Cheryl and Evans, Tamela (2016). Bringing credibility to teaching and learning research. In: HERDSA Annual Conference: The shape of higher education, Fremantle, WA, Australia, (). 4-7 July 2016.

Author Billot, Jennie
Rowland, Susan
Carnell, Brent
Amundsen, Cheryl
Evans, Tamela
Title of paper Bringing credibility to teaching and learning research
Conference name HERDSA Annual Conference: The shape of higher education
Conference location Fremantle, WA, Australia
Conference dates 4-7 July 2016
Publication Year 2016
Sub-type Oral presentation
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Scholars who prioritise teaching and learning research over disciplinary research are faced with multiple challenges in the academic workplace. Although there are increasing calls within Higher Education (HE) for pedagogical research, institutions vary in their capacity and willingness to integrate and support such cross-disciplinary work (McKinney, 2006). Ambiguity and lack of shared meaning contribute to differences in the perceptions and standards of evaluation for the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) work. In some institutions this type of research is not recognised within assessment criteria for promotion and/or tenure. SoTL researchers may encounter difficulty finding colleagues with similar research interests and their transitions between disciplinary research and SoTL methodologies may be complex. These contextual tensions provide a conflict for scholars, since establishing research credibility and value in the workplace is key for academics. As members of an International Collaborative Writing Group (ICWG), six researchers from five different nations designed a project to investigate how SoTL researchers understand credibility within their research and the strategies that they use to enhance such credibility. An exploratory interpretive approach was utilised to understand the experiences of SoTL researchers. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with common questions to ensure consistency across the study locations. Analysis was undertaken by two of the team. An initial coding framework was developed around the standard questions and then inductive thematic analysis was performed for each response set using NVivo. Early findings indicate that SoTL researchers define ‘credibility’ in variable ways that frequently reflect their priorities. When credibility is viewed as positioned in the wider academic domain, researchers describe conventional and externally-driven methods of gaining credibility, such as journal submissions and presentations. When SoTL researchers undertake their research for personal reasons, rather than as a career-focused decision, they perceive credibility as being derived from the social value and the student-related outcomes of the research. Researchers described tensions around the ways colleagues and universities value and recognise SoTL, and many researchers described their proactive approach to establishing the view of SoTL as academically valid practice. Participants frequently read the political and academic landscape around them, then tailor their work to operate within acceptable cultural norms; they carefully select aspects of their work to present to their stakeholders. Our research identifies optimism in the SoTL community, for despite the challenges, our participants indicated that their work is gaining visibility and impact in the tertiary sector.
Subjects 330399 Professional Development of Teachers not elsewhere classified
Keyword Credibility
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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Created: Wed, 24 Aug 2016, 11:18:30 EST by Dr Susan Rowland on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences