3.3 Making SoTL results public
Making SoTL results public is one of the key principles of SoTL. As with other research involving human participants, it is vital to disseminate the results of the SoTL project in ways that protect the identity of your students and other participants. It may be worth considering how students and their work will be presented (Chick, 2019): does it reflect their mistakes, misconceptions or poor work; might it be embarrassing for them?
Another set of ethical dilemmas relates to whether the results could adversely affect the reputation of the module, programme, your department and the institution. Are there any political concerns that may affect your or your department’s standing?
When reporting the findings of your SoTL inquiry, it’s important to find space in your presentations/papers to discuss the management of ethical considerations. This adds credibility to your project and helps other SoTL researchers to learn from the challenges you faced and the decisions you took. Therefore, as a minimum, include a discussion on:
- how participants were recruited
- how informed consent was gained
- how confidentiality and participant autonomy was ensured
- how power relations were addressed.
Transparency in research ethics is paramount in recruitment of participants and in dissemination. Where the research involves new and innovative methodologies which raise distinctive considerations (e.g. online research, or remote research), a full, accurate and open disclosure is especially important.