Written by Jennifer Friberg, Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL and Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Illinois State University
In late January, I gave a presentation at the SoTL Commons conference that focused on the need to carefully select data sources for SoTL projects that are both deep and comprehensive in addressing the topic(s) being investigated. Specifically, my talk had three distinct components:
- An overview of potential SoTL data sources (featured in another recent blog)
- A discussion about the pros and cons of direct vs. indirect evidence for SoTL work.
- A framework for working through the decision process for selecting the “best” data source(s) for a SoTL project.
The framework described above was presented in the form of a decision tree to help SoTL scholars guide their thinking about data sources, their fit for the topic being investigated, and overall preparation to appropriately utilize any data collected. This decision tree was shared in “draft” form and remains as such, though with a few recent tweaks, it’s edging itself ever closer to being finalized. 🙂 Below I share that decision tree as well as another resource I shared at the conference presentation, a visual representation of an excellent direct vs indirect data reference created by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching in 2013. I hope you (or someone you know) might find these resources helpful now or in the future! If you’d like a higher quality .pdf file for either visual aid, please email me at email@example.com.
Direct vs. Indirect Evidence:
Data Source Decision Tree (as it’s still a draft…feedback is welcome!)
Terms used in the decision tree are defined as follows:
- existing artifact: a project, assignment, assessment, or experience that is part of the current teaching/learning context you are seeking to study or compare
- archived artifact: a past project, assignment, assessment, or other artifact from a past teaching/learning context you are seeking to study or compare
- extraneous data: information (e.g., interview, survey, pre/post test) collected in a manner that is that is “above and beyond” what typically happens in the learning context(s) you are seeking to study