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Research Methods

Presentation Credits to: UTA

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,
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
2. Authority
3. Personal experience
4. Deductive reasoning
5. Scientific inquiry
Deductive Reasoning
A.k.a., Logic.
In deductive reasoning, thinking proceeds from
general assumption to specific application
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
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:
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
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
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 (H
All is equal; no differences exist
Alternative (research) hypothesis (H
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
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
New Questions Arise
Results Interpreted
Data Collected
Question Identified
Hypotheses Formed
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
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

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
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.
Relationship Questions
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. 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
between phenomena
Based on deductive reasoning
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
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)
Research Classifications
System #1:
Basic research
Applied research
System #2:
Quantitative research
Qualitative research
System #3:
Experimental research
Nonexperimental research
Basic vs. Applied Research
Pure, fundamental
Discovery of new
knowledge; theoretical
in nature
Takes many years for
the results of basic
research to find some
practical utility
Central purpose to
solve an immediate
Improved products or
Infers beyond the
group or situation
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, 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
Numerical, measurable
Traditional or positivist
Clearly stated questions
Rational hypotheses
Developed research
Extraneous variable
Large samples
Traditional, statistical
Generally non-numerical
Typically anthropological
and sociological research
Observations of a natural
In-depth descriptions of
Interpretive and descriptive
Experimental vs.
IVs and DVs
Extraneous variable
3 fundamental
1. At least 1 active IV
2. Extraneous var
3. Observation of the DV
response to the IV
1. Causal-comparative
2. Descriptive
3. Correlational
4. Historical
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
hypothesis? Why?
7. What were the conclusions? Future
8. Identify the purpose statement.
9. Identify the hypotheses.
Additional Questions
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
this study?
5. Does this study answer the questions of
the Methods section checklist?