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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Information related to the research, reading, writing and practice of SoTL.


If you have a topic, try forming it into a question to better help articulate your research inquiry:

Topic Example: "augmented and virtual reality"

Articulated Question: "Are there benefits to student learning by by conducting virtual and/or augmented reality field trips in STEM education?"


1) Start simple! Identify one to two terms or concepts that generally fit your topic. It's easier to narrow down, but harder to refine if you start with a restrictive search string.

2) Pay attention to the resource that you're in.

Is the word "STEM" a redundant search term while exploring a STEM journal? Probably.

However, if you're in a general database like "Academic Search Complete" that is multidisciplinary, "STEM" is probably a required term to focus the results of your search

3) Sample search: "virtual reality" AND "field trip" AND "outcomes"

Databases operate in very similar ways, despite having interfaces that vary. Best rule is to type one phrase or concept per line.

4) Refine search after looking at results, and repeat. Be sure to consider synonyms. "ORing" gets you more results, "ANDing" reduces the number of results.

Sample search:

"virtual reality" OR "VR" OR "augmented reality" OR "AR"

AND field trip* OR survey* 

AND learn* OR teach*

AND undergrad*

5) Try truncation (asterisk that finds all suffix variants), and pay attention to alternative spelling (theatre vs theater) 

6) Read works cited lists and bibliographies to find more articles that might be useful

Citation Management

SoTL Searching Tips

1) Start broad and narrow down from there

2) Give Google Scholar a try to see what is coming up

3) Step outside your discipline and consider applying techniques or approaches from other subjects

4) Read to learn the terminology which will influence what your key words will be

5) Try "SoTL", "higher education", "postsecondary" if your results are primarily in the K-12 literature