SoTL is not a Concept

So I am currently undertaking a bit of background reading around Scholarship (scholarly activities aka scholarship sans publication) and SoTL. AdvanceHE put forward in their recommendation:

SoTL needs to be discussed and made explicit as a concept to generate some institutional consensus on its usefulness to enhance practices’ (p.8)

Fanghanel, J., Pritchard, J., Potter, J., & Wisker, G. (2016). Defining and supporting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL): a sector-wide study. (Literature review).

The issue here is twofold. Firstly, it contradicts their own initial definition of SoTL as research, if it is research it is not a concept. And secondly, SoTL is not a concept or paradigm or theory. It is very simply put a discipline or to be more specific a sub-discipline of educational research and scholarship. All the rest of debates are semantic battles.

Yes, practitioner inquiry is one approach to undertake a SoTL project, yes a literature review can be SoTL, and so can be a piece of reflective practice which is shared with the wider community. While some argue that SoTL should not be research, because it might put some practitioners off, it could equally be argued that SoTL not being research puts practitioners off who have wholeheartedly committed to the rigor that accompanies this process.

I am not sure frameworks are entirely helpful. The seven steps of this, or three rules of that. What we follow is a typical research process of social sciences and humanities. The details of this process depend by nature very much on what you want to explore, what are your questions or hypothesis (if you must). What methodology and methods are best suited to answer these? What does the literature suggest? How does this relate to your practice? What method of analysis is the most appropriate. And if I could have my wish: which theoretical framework are you using to scaffold your explorations?

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