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Abstract

This essay unearths difficulties experienced by scholars trained in the STEM disciplines when transitioning into the research context that is SoTL. We, a scientist and an engineer, engaged in a series of audiotaped reflective discussions (facilitated by a social science researcher) designed to tease out the difficulties associated with this contextual shift. Our discussions pointed to issues that go beyond the oft-quoted methodological differences of a quantitative versus qualitative approach, speaking instead to barriers associated with: time, emotions, intellectual training and world-views. Embracing a complexity approach to the generation of knowledge and understanding led us to an appreciation of the role of narrative and allowed us to dissolve dualisms that we had associated with STEM and SoTL. Our next step is to extend the conversation to include other ‘scholar-travelers’ in a series of workshops aimed at addressing the barriers and bridges associated with journeying from STEM to SoTL.

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