On the shoulders of giants (and others)…
Does my study have to be totally innovative and new? No!
Chances are, what you’re wondering has been researched before in other contexts, which is helpful as you plan and implement your study.
While researchers are sometimes encouraged to find gaps in the research (i.e., completely unique ideas), SoTL is often quite different. A main purpose of SoTL is improving and informing practice, so that can be revisiting what others have done and replicating within your specific context. Furthermore, classrooms and educational environments are complex and dynamic systems. Results can vary from context to context.
One tip that helps us with SoTL research is to start with the question and selecting how it will be measured. Once we’ve made those decisions, it’s easier to approach writing the literature review and theoretical framework.
If you’re looking for relevant research related specifically to ePortfolio, check out PEARL (Publications on ePortfolio: Archives of the Research Landscape): eportfolio.aacu.org
Start the search for relevant literature using keywords. You can use PEARL and/or your institutional library database.
Outline your theoretical framework
Are there any educational theories that are guiding your research question(s) and chosen methods (e.g., motivation, metacognition)? Find publications that help you do things like:
- Describe why it’s important to study in this context.
- Explain how others have researched it in the past (and their results).
- Find similar research studies and report patterns in findings.
- Make sure your literature review leads logically into stating your research question(s).