What is Educational Research?

An icon of a red book with a red question mark on the cover. A red magnifying glass is over the cover of the book.

Educational Research is concerned with teaching and learning, and includes discipline-based educational research (DBER) and the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL).  Huber and Hutchings (2005, p. 1) define SoTL as "asking and answering questions about students' learning in ways that can improve one's own classroom and also advance the larger profession of teaching."

In the emergence of SoTL as a recognized field of inquiry, there has been debate over the difference between scholarly teaching and SoTL. One of the ways this debate has played out has been to see scholarly teaching as finding out about best practices in teaching and learning, enacting these practices in the classroom, and reflecting on the impact of the practices. SoTL adds to scholarly teaching the requirement to "go public" (Schulman, 1999), by sharing the scholarly findings with others through discussion, conference or publication in a way that opens the findings to critical review and further development.

The Office of Teaching and Learning provides expertise and support for faculty, staff, and graduate students interested in conducting SoTL research. Consult with OTL staff for guidance on:

  • Identifying a research question
  • Designing a methodologically sound and ethical research study
  • Developing a research plan
  • Gathering and analyzing data related to student learning
  • Disseminating the results of a SoTL project

Browse this list of curated teaching and learning resources including journals, conferences, podcasts, and blogs to stay up-to-date on teaching and learning research and best practice

Contact Us


E-mail the Office of Teaching and Learning (otl@uoguelph.ca) with any questions related to your teaching and learning needs.