Research Methods

KINE 5300

Definitions of Research
• The main goal of research is the gathering and interpreting of information to answer questions (Hyllegard, Mood, and Morrow, 1996). • Research is a systematic attempt to provide answers to questions (Tuckman, 1999). • Research may be defined as the systematic and objective analysis and recording of controlled observations that may lead to the development of generalizations, principles, or theories, resulting in prediction and possible control of events (Best and Kahn, 1998). • Research is a systematic way of asking questions, a systematic method of inquiry (Drew, Hardman, and Hart, 1996).

Development of Research Skills
• Learning how to conduct good research:
– New skills (that many people do not have) – Better understanding and interpretation of the literature – Recognize new questions that need investigation

• Objectivity is the key element of research

Search for Truth
• Five sources of evidence in the pursuit of truth:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Custom and tradition Authority Personal experience Deductive reasoning Scientific inquiry

Deductive Reasoning
• A.k.a., Logic.
– In deductive reasoning, thinking proceeds from general assumption to specific application – GENERAL  SPECIFIC – Aristotle and other early philosophers
• Drawing conclusions through categorical syllogism. • All philosophers are moral. Socrates is a philosopher. Therefore, Socrates is moral. • Resistance training makes one big and bulky by increasing body mass. Sandi is resistance training. Therefore, Sandi will become big and bulky.

– Not sufficient as a source of new truth

Inductive Reasoning
• Conclusions about events (general) are based on information generated through many individual and direct observations (specific).
– SPECIFIC  GENERAL – Researchers observe an individual or group of individuals from a larger population  based on these observations, generalizations are made back to the larger population.

Inductive Reasoning
• Two kinds of induction:
– Perfect
• Conclusions based on observations made from ALL members of a group or population

– Imperfect
• Conclusions based on observations made from a random sample of members of a population

Deductive vs. Inductive Reasoning
• Deductive:
– Every mammal has lungs. All rabbits are mammals. Therefore, every rabbit has lungs.

• Inductive:
– Every rabbit that has been observed has lungs. Therefore, every rabbit has lungs.

The Scientific Method
• Systematic; cyclic; series of logical steps.
– Identifying the problem – Formulating a hypothesis – Developing the research plan – Collecting and analyzing the data – Interpreting results and forming conclusions

• Example…

Identifying the Problem
• First, and arguably the most important, step
– Several sources
• • • • Theoretical basis Professional practice Personal experience Shear curiosity

– Starts as a broad question that must be narrowed – Problem statement; experimental approach to the problem; etc.

Identifying the Problem
• Three categories when selecting a research problem
– Those who know precisely what they want to do and have a well conceived problem – Those who have many interest areas and are having difficulty deciding exactly what they want to study – Those who do not have any idea about a worthwhile research problem

Philosophy of Graduate Education
– Work with a professor/researcher that has established a research agenda

Formulating a Hypothesis
• Hypothesis:
– A belief or prediction of the eventual outcome of the research – A concrete, specific statement about the relationships between phenomena – Based on deductive reasoning – 2 types of hypotheses:
• Null hypothesis (HO)
– All is equal; no differences exist

• Alternative (research) hypothesis (HA)
– Usually specific and opposite to the null

Developing the Research Plan
• A strategy must be developed for gathering and analyzing the information that is required to test the hypotheses or answer the research question
– Four parts:
• • • • Selection of a relevant research methodology Identification of subjects or participants Description of the data-gathering procedures Specification of the data analysis techniques

– Pilot studies, IRB,…all must be determined in advance!

Collecting and Analyzing the Data
• Following all the pre-determined protocols
– Time in the lab collecting data – Analyzing the composite data – Controlling the environment

• Easiest part of the process…
– However, sometime the most time-consuming part of the process…

Interpreting Results and Forming Conclusions
• DATA ANALYSIS IS NOT AN END IN ITSELF! • Does the evidence support or refute the original hypotheses?
– Accept or reject the hypotheses – Conclusions should be drawn:
• Develop new hypotheses to explain the results • Inferences are typically made beyond the specific study

New Questions Arise Question Identified

Results Interpreted

Hypotheses Formed

Data Collected

Research Plan

Closed-loop conceptualization of the research process (Drew, Hardman, and Hart, 1996)

Types of Research Questions
• 3 Types
– Descriptive questions – Difference questions – Relationship questions

Descriptive Questions
• Purpose:
– To describe phenomena or characteristics of a particular group of subjects being studied
• Survey research • Qualitative research

Determinants of college students' health-promoting lifestyles. Larouche R.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

This descriptive study of 151 university students in Boston, Massachusetts, was undertaken to determine the relationships of their perceived health status, sex, grade point average, and health and nonhealth majors to their health-promoting lifestyles, using the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP) II, based on Pender's model. Students' perceived health status was significantly predictive of total HPLP II, exercise, stress management, and spiritual growth. College women practiced significantly better nutrition, interpersonal relationships, health responsibility, and total HPLP II than men. The whole sample scored lower in stress management than any previous group studied. Male students, those reporting poor health, and all students are targeted for intervention and research in their deficient areas. Guidelines for nursing practice are derived from the HPLP II questionnaire. These clinically significant findings may guide nurse practitioners to intervene in the health awareness and practices of college students.

Weight management behaviors of African American female college students.

July F, Hawthorne D, Elliot J, Robinson W.
Department of Nursing, Fayetteville State University, USA.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity among African American women is a problem of significance, and one, which demands investigation through scientific research. The purpose of this study was to determine the weight management; behaviors among African American female college students. A descriptive correlational study was conducted to answer this question. The results revealed that at least fifty percent (50%) of these students exhibited behavior that could lead to obesity.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1996 Sep 6;45(35):760-5.

Related Articles, Links

School-based HIV-prevention education--United States, 1994.
[No authors listed]

Many adolescents in the United States engage in behaviors that increase their risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Because 95% of all youth aged 5-17 years are enrolled in school, school health programs can be an efficient method to help prevent these behaviors. Previous studies have examined selected characteristics of HIV education in the United States; however, none provide a comprehensive assessment of HIV education policies and programs nationwide. In 1994, CDC conducted the School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS), which assessed five components of the school health program: health education, physical education, health services, food service, and health policies. To provide a comprehensive assessment of HIV-prevention education programs nationwide in 1994, CDC analyzed data from the health education component of the study. This report summarizes the findings, which indicate that although HIV-prevention education has been widely implemented in U.S. schools, improvement in these programs is needed.

Difference Questions
• Purpose:
– To make comparisons between or within groups. – Is there a difference?
• Experimental research
– Treatment vs. control – Pre- vs. post-test comparisons

• Nonexperimental research
– Compare one group to another based on existing characteristics

J Appl Physiol. 2000 Sep;89(3):1179-88. Reduced strength after passive stretch of the human plantarflexors. Fowles JR, Sale DG, MacDougall JD.
Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1. The purpose of this study was to assess strength performance after an acute bout of maximally tolerable passive stretch (PS(max)) in human subjects. Ten young adults (6 men and 4 women) underwent 30 min of cyclical PS(max) (13 stretches of 135 s each over 33 min) and a similar control period (Con) of no stretch of the ankle plantarflexors. Measures of isometric strength (maximal voluntary contraction), with twitch interpolation and electromyography, and twitch characteristics were assessed before (Pre), immediately after (Post), and at 5, 15, 30, 45, and 60 min after PS(max) or Con. Compared with Pre, maximal voluntary contraction was decreased at Post (28%) and at 5 (21%), 15 (13%), 30 (12%), 45 (10%), and 60 (9%) min after PS(max) (P < 0.05). Motor unit activation and electromyogram were significantly depressed after PS(max) but had recovered by 15 min. An additional testing trial confirmed that the torque-joint angle relation may have been temporarily altered, but at Post only. These data indicate that prolonged stretching of a single muscle decreases voluntary strength for up to 1 h after the stretch as a result of impaired activation and contractile force in the early phase of deficit and by impaired contractile force throughout the entire period of deficit.

Relationship Questions
• Purpose
– To investigate the degree to which two or more variables covary or are associated with each other
• Rather than analyzing the differences between groups, researchers characterize the relationships among them. • Extent to which variables are related • Not to establish cause-and-effect

Am J Epidemiol. 1988 May;127(5):933-41.

Related Articles, Links

Relation of cardiovascular fitness and physical activity to cardiovascular disease risk factors in children and adults.

Sallis JF, Patterson TL, Buono MJ, Nader PR.
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla. The associations of physical activity and cardiovascular fitness with cardiovascular disease risk factors were studied in 88 male adults, 180 female adults, 148 male children, and 142 female children. Subjects were families recruited from elementary schools in San Diego, California. Fitness (VO2 max) was measured by a submaximal cycle ergometer test. Physical activity was assessed by seven-day recall interview, yielding caloric expenditure, and by a simple self-rating of activity level. Risk factors included blood pressure, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the ratio of high density lipoproteins to low density lipoproteins (LDL), and body mass index. For all subgroups, fitness was strongly and significantly correlated with virtually all risk factors. After adjustment for body mass index, most fitness-risk factor associations were no longer significant. Sevenday caloric expenditure was significantly correlated with HDL/LDL only in female adults and children. The activity rating was significantly correlated with body mass index in all subgroups and with HDL/LDL in female adults and male adults. The simple activity rating tended to be correlated with fitness. The pattern of association was similar for adults and children.

Theory vs. Hypothesis
• Hypothesis
– A belief or prediction of the eventual outcome of the research – A concrete, specific statement about the relationships between phenomena – Based on deductive reasoning

• Theory
– A belief or assumption about how things relate to each other – A theory establishes a cause-and-effect relationship between variables with a purpose of explaining and predicting phenomena – Based on inductive reasoning


In an ideal world…



• Acquiring information and facts through the observation of our world
– Pragmatic observations – Developing theory through experience and observation – Non-scientific – Quick and practical solution to a problem
• With little interest in explaining when, how, or why

– Example: Anabolic steroid use (abuse)…

Research Classifications
• System #1:
– Basic research – Applied research

• System #2:
– Quantitative research – Qualitative research

• System #3:
– Experimental research – Nonexperimental research

Basic vs. Applied Research
• Basic
– Pure, fundamental research – Discovery of new knowledge; theoretical in nature – Takes many years for the results of basic research to find some practical utility

• Applied
– Central purpose to solve an immediate problem – Improved products or processes – Infers beyond the group or situation studied – Interpretation of results relies upon Basic research

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2003 Mar;43(1):21-7. Related Articles, Links

Effects of running, static stretching and practice jumps on explosive force production and jumping performance. Young WB, Behm DG.
School of Human Movement and Sport Sciences, University of Ballarat, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

AIM: The interaction between running, stretching and practice jumps during warm-up for jumping tests has not been investigated. The purpose of the present study was to compare the effects of running, static stretching of the leg extensors and practice jumps on explosive force production and jumping performance. METHODS: Sixteen volunteers (13 male and 3 female) participated in five different warm-ups in a randomised order prior to the performance of two jumping tests. The warm-ups were control, 4 min run, static stretch, run + stretch, and run + stretch + practice jumps. After a 2 min rest, a concentric jump and a drop jump were performed, which yielded 6 variables expressing fast force production and jumping performance of the leg extensor muscles (concentric jump height, peak force, rate of force developed, drop jump height, contact time and height/time). RESULTS: Generally the stretching warm-up produced the lowest values and the run or run + stretch + jumps warm-ups produced the highest values of explosive force production. There were no significant differences (p<0.05) between the control and run + stretch warm-ups, whereas the run yielded significantly better scores than the run + stretch warm-up for drop jump height (3.2%), concentric jump height (3.4%) and peak concentric force (2.7%) and rate of force developed (15.4%). CONCLUSION: The results indicated that submaximum running and practice jumps had a positive effect whereas static stretching had a negative influence on explosive force and jumping performance. It was suggested that an alternative for static stretching should be considered in warm-ups prior to power activities.

J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Aug;16(3):399-408.

Power output, mechanomyographic, and electromyographic responses to maximal, concentric, isokinetic muscle actions in men and women.
Cramer JT, Housh TJ, Weir JP, Johnson GO, Ebersole KT, Perry SR, Bull AJ.
Department of Health and Human Performance, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68588, USA.

The purpose of this study was to examine the responses of peak torque (PT), mean power output (MP), mechanomyographic (MMG) and electromyographic (EMG) amplitudes, and mean power frequencies (MPFs) of the vastus lateralis (VL), rectus femoris (RF), and vastus medialis (VM) in men and women during dynamic muscle actions. Twelve women (mean +/- SD age = 22 +/- 3 years) and 11 men (22 +/- 3 years) performed maximal, concentric, isokinetic leg extensions at velocities of 60, 120, 180, 240, and 300 degrees x s(-1) on a Cybex 6000 dynamometer. Piezoelectric MMG-recording sensors and bipolar surface EMG electrodes were placed over the VL, RF, and VM muscles. No sex-related differences were found among the velocity-related patterns for PT, MP, MMG amplitude, MMG MPF, or EMG MPF. There were, however, sexrelated differences in the patterns of EMG amplitude across velocity. The results indicated similar velocityrelated patterns of increase of MP and MMG amplitude for all 3 muscles and of EMG amplitude for the VL and VM in the women. Velocity-related decreases (p <or = 0.05) were found for PT and EMG MPF for the VL. EMG amplitude for all muscles in the men and for the RF in the women as well as EMG MPF for the RF and VM remained unchanged (p > 0.05) across velocity. MMG MPF increased (p < or = 0.05) only between 240 and 300 degrees x s(-1). Overall, these findings suggested that there were sex- and muscle-specific, velocity-related differences in the associations among motor unit activation strategies (EMG amplitude and MPF) and the mechanical aspects of muscular activity (MMG amplitude and MPF). With additional examination and validation, however, MMG may prove useful to practitioners for monitoring training-induced changes in muscle power output.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative
• Quantitative
– Numerical, measurable data – Traditional or positivist approach
• Clearly stated questions • Rational hypotheses • Developed research procedures • Extraneous variable controls • Large samples • Traditional, statistical analyses

• Qualitative
– Generally non-numerical data – Typically anthropological and sociological research methods – Observations of a “natural” setting – In-depth descriptions of situations – Interpretive and descriptive

Experimental vs. Nonexperimental
• Experimental
– IVs and DVs – Cause-and-effect – Extraneous variable controls – 3 fundamental characteristics
1. At least 1 active IV 2. Extraneous var controls 3. Observation of the DV response to the IV

1. 2. 3. 4. Causal-comparative Descriptive Correlational Historical

Steps to Experimental Research
1. Identifying the research question or problem area 2. Initial review of literature 3. Distilling the question to a specific research problem 4. Continued review of literature 5. Formulation of hypotheses 6. Determining the basic research approach 7. Identifying the population and sample

Steps to Experimental Research
8. Designing data collection plan 9. Selecting or developing specific data collection instruments or procedures 10. Choosing the method of data analysis 11. Implementing the research plan 12. Preparing the research report

1. Write two new conclusion statements by using deductive and inductive reasoning. 2. Identify the research problem. 3. Identify the research plan. 4. How did they collect the data?
– What equipment/methods/procedures did they use?

5. How did they analyze the data? 6. Did they support or reject the original research hypothesis? Why?

7. What were the conclusions? Future studies? 8. Identify the purpose statement. 9. Identify the hypotheses.

Additional Questions
Re-write the title using 5 – 8 words. Re-write the title using 15 – 18 words. Provide the delimitations for this study. What are 2 examples of the limitations of this study? 5. Does this study answer the questions of the “Methods” section checklist? 1. 2. 3. 4.

Assignment 1
• PART 1 • Sign up for the following two discussion groups:
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– Sportscience
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Assignment 1
• • • • PART 2 Bring copies (for everyone, 7 total) of a full-text article published recently on a topic of your interest that is related to Kinesiology, Exercise Science, Athletic Training, etc. Provide a written summary (1-2 pages, double spaced, times roman font) of your answers and answer the following questions. You’ll be asked to give a brief oral presentation (5 – 7 min) regarding your article and your answers to the following questions:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. What is the research problem? What is the purpose statement? What were the delimitations of this study? What were some potential limitations of this study? What were the initial hypotheses for this study? Where the hypotheses rejected or accepted? What was the overall conclusion of this paper? If you were to replicate this study, describe how you would do it at UTA.

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