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Faculty Research & Scholarly Activity: Getting Started

Tips and resources for getting started, reviewing the literature, choosing a method, and sharing the findings of scholarly activity and other research projects


It is helpful to think of doing research as participating in a structured conversation about a topic. 

You need to start by understanding what has been said (reviewing the literature) before planning how you wish to advance the conversation (developing a research question or problem statement and then choosing a method). Your contribution (data collection and analysis, followed by write-up and publication) must then be done in a manner that aligns with the etiquette and customs of your peers and the broader community (research data management, methodologies, and ethics). This guide provides resources to support SAIT faculty and staff at all these stages of the research process.

You can also reach out to the Research and Instruction Librarian or your Library Liaison for one-on-one support with:

The Library runs workshops for faculty throughout the semester on topics such as literature reviews, publishing in academic journals, Google Scholar, and more! Current events are listed on the library calendar.

First steps: Developing your research topic

The first step in research is shaping a topic into an answerable question or problem statement that is well-situated within the conversation of your discipline or profession.

In Where Research Begins: Choosing a Research Project that Matters to You (and the World), Mullaney and Rea (2022) describe this as finding your “problem collective”:

A Problem Collective is a community whose members – whatever their background, field, or disciplines – find themselves compelled by a common, profound problem [...] When you find your Problem Collective, it gives you:

  • questions you’d never considered before,
  • a vocabulary you were unaware of,
  • perspectives and vantage points you did not know existed,
  • techniques you never knew about, and 
  • a sense of validation and community. (pp. 123-124)

This stage typically involves learning about your topic and reviewing the literature. It may also entail discussing your ideas with colleagues (including your Library Liaison), attending conferences and other training opportunities, and reaching out to individuals who have conducted and published research on the topic.

Below are resources that detail how to move from having a general research topic to developing a well-scoped, answerable question or problem statement:

Scholarly Activity at SAIT

In offering its bachelor degrees, SAIT adheres to the standards set by the Campus Alberta Quality Council (CAQC), an arms-length, quality-assurance agency that regulates the degree programs offered by Alberta's post-secondary institutions.

The CAQC requires faculty teaching in degree programs to engage in scholarly output in order to enhance and maintain their knowledge base to support instruction. Participating in scholarly activity allows faculty to advance their existing knowledge, which in turn benefits students by ensuring they are learning current practices and innovative thinking. Participating in scholarship informs professional practice and contributes to industry; instructors are embedded in emerging trends in their field and students in turn are exposed to the latest innovations, giving them an edge in the job market.

SAIT's Policy and Procedure outlines criteria that details what scholarly activity looks like at SAIT. However, in a general sense, scholarly activity is any work – either research or creative work – that is systematically conducted, peer-reviewed, and publicly disseminated.

Contact your librarian

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Kelley Wadson
She, Her, Hers
Reg Erhardt Library,
Stan Grad Centre, MC 129
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