Identifying Scholarship

Identifying Scholarship

The term scholarship is applied to distinct and interrelated concepts, such as scholarly skills, engagement, activities, processes, or outcomes.   Each of these applications merits discussion.  Here we will focus on what scholarship is, as a measurable outcome. Below are common criteria and skills used to demonstrate if work aligns to a scholarship outcome.  These were compiled from the sources listed at the bottom of this page. 

Scholarship falls into one of two outcomes:
  1. Publication, such as a textbook, journal article, or white paper
  2. Other, unpublished, but publicly observable work, such as a patent, a presentation, or an exhibit. 

Scholarship meets three criteria:

  1. Be public.  The scholarship outcome was shared with the academic, practitioner, or general community.
  2. Be open to critical appraisal.  The scholarship received review or was formatted in a way others can review and critique. 
  3. Be in a form that other members of the scholarly community can use.  The scholarship outcome is useable by others; it can contribute to our shared understanding. 

And last, whether published or non-published six standards exist for assessing scholarship. These standards might be explicit, such as in the sections to an academic journal article, but might also be implicitly demonstrated by the quality of the outcome.   All scholarship demonstrates that the scholar developed the outcome using:

  1. Clear goals. There is a basic purpose, question, or task being achieved through reasonable objectives. 
  2. Adequate preparation.  The outcome demonstrates preparation through reviewing current knowledge, understanding needs to complete the task, and has appropriate training/skills.
  3. Appropriate methods.  In addition to being prepared to complete the goal, the scholar chooses the best methods to accomplish it.  Modifications are identified. 
  4. Significant results.  The goal is accomplished and there was a notable contribution. 
  5. Effective presentation.  The goal is presented in a way that others can use the information.  It is styled and grammatically correct. 
  6. Reflective Critique.  The scholar reflected on the results, study strengths and limitations, and requests others to do so as well, to revise and enhance the final product. 

To learn more about these criteria of scholarship, review the texts from which they are drawn:

Boyer, E. L., et al. (2015). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.  Available through the UOPX Library eBook system. 

Braxton, J.M., Luckey, W., & Helland, P. (2002). Institutionalizing a Broader View of Scholarship through Boyer's Four Domains. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report. Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. Full book available from ERIC here.

Examples of Scholarship

Type of ScholarshipPurposeExamples
TeachingStudy teaching models and practices to achieve optimal learning.Presenting an evaluation of a learning tool to a university curriculum committee. Sharing new pedagogical content for a course.
DiscoveryBuild new knowledge through traditional research.Publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed forum. Performing creative work within established field. Presenting a new theory at a peer-reviewed conference.
IntegrationInterpret the use of knowledge across disciplines.Publishing a comprehensive literature review. Writing a textbook for use in multiple disciplines. Collaborating with colleagues to design and deliver a core course.
ApplicationAid society and professions in addressing problems.Serving industry or government as an external consultant. Assuming leadership roles in professional organizations.