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
• Research is a systematic way of asking questions, a
systematic method of inquiry (Drew, Hardman, and Hart,
Development of Research Skills
• Learning how to conduct good research:
– New skills (that many people do not have)
– Better understanding and interpretation of the
– Recognize new questions that need
• Objectivity is the key element of research
Search for Truth
• Five sources of evidence in the pursuit of
1. Custom and tradition
3. Personal experience
4. Deductive reasoning
5. Scientific inquiry
• 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
• Conclusions about events (general) are
based on information generated through
many individual and direct observations
– 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.
• Two kinds of induction:
• Conclusions based on observations made from
ALL members of a group or population
• Conclusions based on observations made from a
random sample of members of a population
Deductive vs. Inductive Reasoning
– Every mammal has lungs. All rabbits are
mammals. Therefore, every rabbit has lungs.
– 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
Identifying the Problem
• First, and arguably the most important,
– Several sources
• Theoretical basis
• Professional practice
• Personal experience
• Shear curiosity
– Starts as a broad question that must be
– Problem statement; experimental approach to
the problem; etc.
Identifying the Problem
• Three categories when selecting a
– 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
– Work with a professor/researcher that has
established a research agenda
Formulating a 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
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
• DATA ANALYSIS IS NOT AN END IN
• Does the evidence support or refute the
– Accept or reject the hypotheses
– Conclusions should be drawn:
• Develop new hypotheses to explain the results
• Inferences are typically made beyond the specific
New Questions Arise
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
– To describe phenomena or characteristics of
a particular group of subjects being studied
• Survey research
• Qualitative research
Determinants of college students' health-promoting lifestyles.
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
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.
– To make comparisons between or within
– Is there a difference?
• Experimental research
– Treatment vs. control
– Pre- vs. post-test comparisons
• Nonexperimental research
– Compare one group to another based on existing
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.
– To investigate the degree to which two or
more variables covary or are associated with
• Rather than analyzing the differences between
groups, researchers characterize the relationships
• 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. Seven-
day 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
– A belief or prediction of the eventual outcome of the
– A concrete, specific statement about the relationships
– Based on deductive reasoning
– A belief or assumption about how things relate to
– A theory establishes a cause-and-effect relationship
between variables with a purpose of explaining and
– Based on inductive reasoning
In an ideal
• Acquiring information and facts through
the observation of our world
– Pragmatic observations
– Developing theory through experience and
– Quick and practical solution to a problem
• With little interest in explaining when, how, or why
– Example: Anabolic steroid use (abuse)…
• System #1:
– Basic research
– Applied research
• System #2:
– Quantitative research
– Qualitative research
• System #3:
– Experimental research
– Nonexperimental research
Basic vs. Applied Research
• Basic • Applied
– Pure, fundamental – Central purpose to
research solve an immediate
– Discovery of new
– Improved products or
knowledge; theoretical processes
– Infers beyond the
– Takes many years for group or situation
the results of basic studied
research to find some – Interpretation of
practical utility results relies upon
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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. email@example.com
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, sex-
related differences in the patterns of EMG amplitude across velocity. The results indicated similar velocity-
related 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 • Qualitative
– Numerical, measurable – Generally non-numerical
– Traditional or positivist
– Typically anthropological
and sociological research
• Clearly stated questions
• Rational hypotheses
• Developed research – Observations of a “natural”
• Extraneous variable – In-depth descriptions of
• Large samples
– Interpretive and descriptive
• Traditional, statistical
• Experimental • Nonexperimental
– IVs and DVs 1. Causal-comparative
– Cause-and-effect 2. Descriptive
– Extraneous variable 3. Correlational
– 3 fundamental 4. Historical
1. At least 1 active IV
2. Extraneous var
3. Observation of the DV
response to the IV
Steps to Experimental Research
1. Identifying the research question or problem
2. Initial review of literature
3. Distilling the question to a specific research
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
7. What were the conclusions? Future
8. Identify the purpose statement.
9. Identify the hypotheses.
1. Re-write the title using 5 – 8 words.
2. Re-write the title using 15 – 18 words.
3. Provide the delimitations for this study.
4. What are 2 examples of the limitations of
5. Does this study answer the questions of
the “Methods” section checklist?
• PART 1
• Sign up for the following two discussion groups:
• For information and archives:
• Post messages to firstname.lastname@example.org
• To subscribe, send any message to
• To unsubscribe, send any message to
• View all messages at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sportscience/
• 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. What is the research problem?
2. What is the purpose statement?
3. What were the delimitations of this study?
4. What were some potential limitations of this study?
5. What were the initial hypotheses for this study?
6. Where the hypotheses rejected or accepted?
7. What was the overall conclusion of this paper?
8. If you were to replicate this study, describe how you would do it at