Teaching and learning research encompasses a number of types of research, including Scholarship of Teaching in Learning (SOTL), education psychology research, and research on educational interventions.  The main commonality is that the research includes students and/or faculty in a classroom or lab. The foundation of this research is standard educational practice, in which faculty use data from their classroom, including student assignments, participation, assessments, and other components to answer research questions about teaching or learning. Some examples include:

  • Shira Viel’s research, which assesses the impact of instructor, class format and assessment methods on student attitudes, perceptions and performance in introductory mathematics courses, and
  • Minna Ng’s research, which examines the impact of team-based learning in STEM classrooms.

To get started with teaching and learning research, you should consider the research question(s) you would like to answer, what components of the classroom you would like to use as data, and how you will collect consent from your participants. Then, you will need to complete an IRB protocol and submit it for approval collecting any data.

What We Do

The Research and Development team at Learning Innovation provides comprehensive support to faculty seeking to conduct research on teaching and learning at Duke University. This support ranges from initial consultations, to third-party management of data collection and data analysis, and IRB protocol and survey development.

To learn more about other groups at Duke who conduct evaluation, assessment and research on Duke students, expand the section below.

The Student Affairs Office of Assessment leads assessment efforts and planning in the Division of Student Affairs. Through leadership, training, and collaboration, the Office of Assessment promotes a culture of assessment to maximize program, service, and operational effectiveness to improve student learning and success at Duke. For more information, contact Dr. Matt Starcke or visit studentaffairs.duke.edu

The Trinity College Office of Assessment provides assessment support for A&S leadership and departments; assessment of the general education; and guidance on curriculum planning and pedagogical evaluation. The office also conducts course evaluations, publishes data visualizations, and supports assessment sections of faculty grants. For more information, contact Dr. Jennifer Hill or visit assessment.trinity.duke.edu

The Office of Undergraduate Education Research conducts scholarship on student development and well-being, with a focus on the diverse processes that impact student success, and provides leadership for research, assessment and evaluation to support the mission of the Office of Undergraduate Education. For more information, contact Dr. Molly Weeks or visit undergrad.duke.edu

The Office of Institutional Research provides executive-level support for research, analysis and policy recommendations; creates standard reports for external agencies and internal management (consistent over time and reconciling across all products); and reports key elements from enterprise systems, institutional survey data, and inter-institutional data exchanges. For more information, contact Dr. David Jamieson-Drake or visit finance.provost.duke.edu/institutional-research


We are happy to consult with you at any stage in your research process. Please contact us if you would like to discuss:

  • Your initial thoughts about teaching and learning research
  • Developing research questions
  • Thinking through methodological approaches
  • Creating your IRB protocol
  • Developing surveys
  • Collecting consent from students
  • Collecting and analyzing data
  • Publishing your research
  • And any other questions you might have.

Third-Party Data and Consent Collection

One of the primary roles we serve on faculty research projects on teaching and learning is a neutral third party that can collect data and consent from students.  In this role, we develop consent forms and other data collection instruments in partnership with you, administer them to students through Qualtrics, and deliver a de-identified dataset from consenting students after grades have been submitted. We outline this process in more detail in our IRB protocol templates available below.

IRB Support

We have worked extensively with the Campus IRB office to develop processes to support faculty conducting teaching and learning research.  We maintain a partnership with the IRB office to ensure our practices are current and comprehensive.  To get a sense of what practices you need to follow when conducting teaching and learning research at Duke, review our IRB template below.  This template assumes that you will be using data collected from student assignments and other classroom activities that fall in the category of Standard Educational Practice.  If you will be collecting other data or wish to use methods outside the realm of data analysis of student work, such as focus groups, please contact us.

Survey Development

Our team has extensive experience in developing research surveys, and we are happy to help develop or simply review your survey instruments.  We also maintain a resource depository of teaching and learning survey instruments, such as the Student Course Engagement Questionnaire (PDF), which we can provide when needed.