Research Methods

SoTL research can be conducted in a variety of ways to gather information about student learning. A SoTL researcher may choose to use either quantitative or qualitative methodologies, or a combination of both. Appropriate methods and their selection are dictated by the research questions.

Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative data provide textual, verbal, or visual data that is analyzed by coding for themes or patterns and then classified. It can also be analyzed quantitatively using content analysis to count the frequency of a theme or pattern. Examples of qualitative data collection methods include interview(s), open-ended survey questions, focus groups, observation, and written/illustration content analysis.

Quantitative Research Methods

Quantitative data provides numerical data that is analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Examples of quantitative data collection methods includes survey, questionnaire, quasi-experiment, content analysis, test scores, and Likert scales.

If you require assistance determining what the best approach would be for your SoTL project, please email for support.


Content on this page adopted from Open Educational Resources (OER) under a Creative Commons - Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) from Queen’s University (n.d.). Educational Research: A practial guide. Retrieved from Educational Research: A Practical Guide | OER Commons.