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Chapter 2

Chapter 2-Research Perspectives in Sport and Exercise Psychology.docx

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PSYC 3480
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 2 – Research Perspectives in Sport and Exercise Psychology SCIENCE AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH  Science can be defined as a dynamic yet imperfect process of knowledge accumulation through research  Research endeavors would fall nicely into 1 of 2 distinct categories that are often used to classify research in sport and exercise psychology o Basic Research – testing fundamental mechanisms that produce conditions or events, without undue concern for the practical utility of such mechanisms o Applied Research – generating solutions to immediate problems irrespective of mechanistic details that form the focus of basic research o Some researchers have found it useful to dichotomize research into these 2 camps, we suspect that majority of sport and exercise psych research falls somewhere between these 2 extremes  Scientific approaches to knowledge acquisition differ from other sources of information that athletes, coaches, and personal trainers could easily resort to in the pursuit of optimizing performance or sustaining involvement in exercise o Intuition – the development of an implicit understanding of the phenomena of interest in the absence of formal training o Tradition – concerns knowledge that is historically rooted, with no emphasis on current info o Authorities – experts whose opinion ware considered the final word in knowledge acquisition o Logic – knowledge generated through the applicants of formal rules of reasoning to the problem in question. Rules of logic could be derived inductively (moving from specific observation to a general principle) or deductively (moving from general principle to specific observation) depending on how logic is applied to the problem  Most sport and exercise psychology researchers interested in evidence-based knowledge advocate using an approach commonly referred to as steps that are executed sequentially to generate knowledge o Experts disagree on the level of objectivity and the total number of steps involved in the scientific method o The scientific method is guided by the sequential nature of research unfolding over time rather than governed by dogmatic adherence to a formalized set of prohibitive steps o Common steps include identification of research problem, generation of hypothesis, collection and analysis of data, and integration of conclusions with directions for additional study  Majority of researchers in sport and exercise psychology attempt to describe, predict, or explain phenomena of interest o Descriptive Research – provides in-depth portrayal of phenomenon of interest, either in general or for specific participant group  E.g. Study that describes athletes’ use of imagery in sport o Predictive Research - establishing directional relationships among phenomena of interest  E.g. Study of the relationship between changes in physical self-perceptions and health-related behaviours in adolescent girls over a 3 year period  Overall goal of most scientific research is explanation Basic Research Terminology  Variable – any attribute or characteristic that can change, or vary, thereby taking on more than one value o E.g. motivation, confidence, arousal, anxiety, and performance. o Generally identified as 1 of 2 types  Independent Variable – the manipulated variable explaining (or causing) the study outcomes  Dependent Variable – phenomenon of interest that is expected to change as a result of manipulating the IV  Extraneous Variable – any variable other than the IV that could influence the DV in research study  Nomothetic – attempts to isolate rules or observations that pertain to most cases on most occasions or in most contexts o Idiographic – used when research concerns a special or unique case that does not apply to most people on the majority of occasions  Hypothesis – an educated guess regarding the outcome of a research study o Most common application pertains to the testing of a hypothesis using stats o Null Hypothesis – indicates that there is no relationship between variables under study or that there is no difference anticipated between groups receiving different conditions of IV o Alternative (research) Hypothesis – researchers’ educated guess regarding what they expect to find when conducting the study  Causal – implies a relationship between the IV and DV; it refers to identifying agents that, hen manipulated, bring about changes in the DV of interest o 3 conditions are necessary before researchers can make a causal inference in scientific research  Proposed cause (IV) must be correlated with the observed effect (DV) – sometimes called systematic covariation  Proposed cause must precede the effect, or there must be evidence of what methodologists refer to as temporal precedence  All other possible extraneous variables must be systematically ruled out as a causal mechanism o Conditions of causation  That a relationship exists between the proposed cause and the effect. Relationship often established by examining the correlation between scores on 2 or more sets of variables  That the presumed cause (IV) precedes the observation of the effect (DV)  Requires that all other possible causal factors be systematically ruled out Ethical Approval for Sport and Exercise Psychology Research  Most sport and exercise psychology researchers require approval from an administrative body prior to initiating data collection with humans or animals  In Canada, the relevant admin body is university-based research ethics board (REB) o Ensures that research is conducted in a manner that protects that integrity and safety of the participants and the researchers o Does all research require REB approval? Depends on whether the activity undertaken meets the criteria for exemption outlined in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving  Most sport and exercise psychology will need to familiarize themselves with REB requirements for ethical review prior to undertaking any research o Tri-Council Policy Statement highlights all aspects of the research process that a sport and exercise psychology should attend to, and it amalgamates info from key ethical documents that guide decision making in scientific research o 3 broad issues central to good ethical conduct in scientific research and warrant careful consideration  Anonymity – inability to identify a participant involved in research project  Confidentiality - retention of all participant data in confidence so that individual’s data not identifiable by others o Must make participants aware of the degree to which their anonymity will be compromised as a result of participating o Fully informed of their rights and responsibilities during the research project and must agree to participate – informed consent  Beneficence – concerns the degree to which the proposed research will maximize the potential benefits while minimizing the possible harm to the research participants  Does not guarantee that participants face no risk, given that even non-invasive research carries risks such as disclosure of personal info or heightened emotions – is the responsibility of the researcher to ensure that the benefits of the study come with the assumption of justifiable risk and thereby outweigh the costs of research  Justice – notion that participants in a research study should be the ones who derive the benefits from results of the study M EASUREMENT IN THE RESEARCH PROCESS  Practice of measurement in sport and exercise psychology research is considered particularly difficult given that most of the variables are invisible to the naked eye  Variables such as arousal, anxiety, confidence, motivation, personality, and stress are all important psychological concepts that are not observed directly  This does not mean that we cannot measure them; only means that we have to take some leaps of faith (assumptions) Levels of Measurement  Measurement – the process of assigning numbers to variables according to specific rules  Levels of measurement – different ways of assigning numbers to variables o Nominal – numbers represent measurement only as labels  E.g. numbers on a soccer team, number 15 doesn’t mean that player is 3x better than number 5, simply represent unique label o Ordinal – reflects the assignment of numbers in such a fashion that the variable can be ranked  E.g. first, second, or third place. Gold, silver, bronze at the Olympics o Interval – reflects the assignment of numbers to variables so that the distances between consecutive numbers are equal  E.g. the differences between 25˚C and 30˚C is the same as the difference between 35˚C and 40˚C o Ratio – the assignment of numbers in such a manner that a true zero exists, representing a complete absence of the variable under study  E.g. number of training sessions attended by an individual enrolled in a program with a personal trainer as a measure of adherence. If individual attends none of the prescribed sessions, then he or
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