Raising questions. Pursuing answers. Curating and categorizing. That’s how we support the QM system.

A founding principle that continues to drive Quality Matters is the need for QM Standards to reflect current academic research on effective learning. The initial standards and subsequent modifications have been based on the insights of teams of experienced online instructors and instructional designers and on the best practices standards promulgated by accrediting bodies and national and international organizations. In addition, the QM Standards have been examined for consistency with the conclusions of the educational research literature regarding factors that increase learning and engagement and that improve learner retention rates.

QM Research is focused on curating and supporting research studies related to the impact and use of the Quality Matters model. Literature reviews to inform members of the Rubric Committees in their effort to assure that the Rubrics remains current with the research are also an important component of QM Research activities. If you are looking for guidance on conducting QM-focused research or finding studies to support the use of QM, we recommend starting with the resources listed in this section.


qm research library

Search our curated selection of literature bearing a relationship to the QM Standards by either keyword or the QM Standard number. References on teaching competencies can be found in the Online Instructor and Teaching Competencies Literature Review.


research toolkit

Get guidance on developing a research question that will make for a solid study and facilitate attaining information significant to online learning stakeholders.


qm-related research resources

See a curated list of studies and publications related to the primary categories of QM Research.

Need help with your search? Contact QM Research with your questions.


Looking for a recording or miss a session?

See a list of all archived recordings

Have an idea for a Research Webinar? Contact the Research team.

Research Webinars

Join the QM Research Colleagues and other researchers from the QM Community for presentations of research on the impact of quality assurance in online learning and other related topics. The webinars are free and open to QM Members as well as non-members.


QM Research Online Conference: November 15, 2019 — 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Eastern

Join several speakers to delve into online learning research. Participants will join presentations using Zoom during the three-hour free conference. Seven presentations will be available — two to three in each of the three session slots. You'll choose a presentation in each session on the day of the conference. The afternoon will begin with a brief introduction, explaining how to enter the Zoom room for each presentation, along with an explanation of the format.

Session 1

Topic 1: NSSE-QM Data on the Online Student Experience
Presented by Shimon Sarraf, Assistant Director for Survey Operations & Project Services at the National Survey of Student Engagement, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research

Topic 2: California State University - East Bay: Data and Analysis on QM Impact to Students' Learning
Presented by Dr. Roger Wen, Sr., Director of the Online Campus and MS in Education - Online Teaching and Learning Program, California State University - East Bay

Topic 3: The Community of Inquiry and Transformational Learning
Presented by Dr. Patrick Dempsey, Director, ELEVATE - The Office of Digital Teaching and Learning, Loyola University Maryland

Session 2

Topic 1: Using Learning Analytics: The Benefits and Pitfalls
Presented by Dr. Karen Swan, Professor, University of Illinois at Springfield

Topic 2: Disseminating Research
Presented by Dr. Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Assistant Director, Ecampus Research Unit, Oregon State University

Session 3

Topic 1: Pre-testing, Post-testing, and Propensity Score Matching
Presented by Dr. Whitney Zimmerman, Assistant Teaching Professor, Statistics, Pennsylvania State University

Topic 2: The Distance Education Handbook: An Overview and Online Teaching: A Review of the Literature
Presented by Dr. Kay Shattuck, QM Director of Research, and Dr. Will Diehl, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Online Graduate Programs, Pennsylvania State University


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