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Undergraduate Research in Australia

How does Scholarship fit in?

There are many diverse frameworks for the meaning of 'scholarship'.

One of the most quoted ways of understanding scholarship is in terms of the scholarships of Ernest Boyer and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. Boyer set out to define scholarship in ways that reflected the full spectrum of academic activities in the USA. This led to four scholarships:

  • The scholarship of discovery which contributes to the stock of human knowledge and the intellectual climate of a college or university
  • The scholarship of integration which is about making connections across disciplines, drawing together, interpreting and bringing new insights on original research
  • The scholarship of application (later called the scholarship of engagement) which is about the application of knowledge to particular problems
  • The scholarship of teaching, now known as the scholarship of teaching and learning which is about critical engagement with how to teach knowledge, how knowledge is taught and how students learn it (Boyer 1990)

These views of scholarship focus on scholarship as an activity or activities of some kind, but there is also another perception of scholarship in the Australian context and that is scholarship as the quality in how academic work is conducted and produced (Brew 2001).

There are two elements to this:

  1. having the knowledge and techniques to work in a particular disciplinary domain and
  2. being meticulous with the academic work such as keeping accurate lab notes or ensuring all statements can be substantiated in essays.

Assuring quality in academic scholarship is achieved through standard practices such as not plagiarising or only arguing on the basis of evidence presented, or correctly setting out a lab report. In these standard practices we are giving expression to the quality notion of scholarship and striving for high standards of academic professionalism.

Much of what we do in undergraduate coursework is developing students as scholars in this quality sense.