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On the constitution of SoTL: its domains and contexts

Journal article
Authors Shirley Booth
L. C. Woollacott
Published in Higher Education
Volume 75
Issue 3
Pages 537-551
ISSN 0018-1560
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies
Pages 537-551
Language en
Keywords Constituting domains of SoTL, Internal and external horizons, Nature of SoTL, SoTL
Subject categories Pedagogical Work, Didactics, Educational Sciences


In this paper, we present an analysis of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (SoTL) which contributes to SoTL both as a field of research practice and as a background to professional development in higher education. We analyse and describe the constitution of the field, and in so doing address its nature in the face of the dilemma of, on the one hand, its diversity and, on the other hand, its generally agreed set of purposes. Our analysis of SoTL knowledge is conceptualised as relational, connecting SoTL practitioners with the work they disseminate to the community at large. We describe and exemplify the internal horizon of the field in terms of five domains: the didactic and the epistemic, which we refer to as the knowledge building domains, and the interpersonal, the moral/ethical and the societal domains, which we refer to as the axiological domains. The external horizon is described in terms of four aspects of the context that can impact the production and implementation of SoTL knowledge: the disciplinary, the professional, the cultural and the political aspects. Methodological emphasis is equally on the axiological underpinnings of SoTL, its values and attitudes, as the ontological and epistemological underpinnings that are predominant.

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