Turning the Tables: Involving Undergrads as Researchers in SoTL


  • Celia Popovic York University
  • Alice Kim York University
  • Salma Saleh York University
  • Laura Farrugia York University




Student Partnership, Autoethnography


We report on the experience of working on a research project where students and faculty worked together as peers. The project investigated the challenges and enablers that helped or hindered faculty engage in SoTL work, and what might help encourage their colleagues to engage. The findings were instrumental in identifying components for a guide for SoTL. The findings from the study have been published elsewhere. In this paper we report on the experience of two undergraduate students who took a central role guided by experienced researchers, in collating, coding and analyzing the results, and of two experienced researchers. We share a brief overview of the project and its outcomes, provide detail of the involvement of the students and hear from them and the researchers about the experience of taking part in the project. The findings from both the original study and the student experiences will be of interest to others interested in work in this field.


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Author Biographies

Celia Popovic, York University

Celia Popovic, cpopovic@yorku.ca,  is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. For 8 years she was the founding Director of York’s Teaching Commons. She specializes in educational development and SoTL research.

Alice Kim, York University

Alice S. N. Kim has a PhD in experimental psychology, with specialization in human learning and memory. Alice is the Founder and Managing Director of Teaching and Learning Research (TLR) In Action, a not-for-profit research organization focused on conducting and publicly disseminating research on teaching and learning. 

Salma Saleh, York University

Salma A. F. Saleh has received a Bachelor's degree in psychology from York University, Toronto. She conducted her Honours thesis on the effect of different learning techniques on skill acquisition, and is interested in exploring ways in which students and faculty can collaborate to improve learning practices at universities, as she believes inclusion is intrinsic to student success.

Laura Farrugia, York University

Laura Farrugia is a 4th year honours psychology student at York University. With a passion for mental health advocacy, she is working towards pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. She has an interest in research that will provide insight into more effective teaching and learning practices, as well as clinical research that will improve future therapeutic disciplines.