Research Methods in Sport Science, Physical Education, and Recreation

Science & Technology
Sport Science
Course Code
SPSC 3256
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course provides students with an introduction to the topic of research design and methodologies in the fields of sport science, physical education and recreation. Students will learn to read and interpret existing research articles, select appropriate methods for a researchable question, and conduct a literature review in specific areas within the field. This course will also explore how to prepare research proposals and select research methods appropriate for the desired outcomes of a study.
Course Content
  1. Research as knowledge production
    1.1 Research as a source of knowledge generation
    1.2 Introduction to epistemological foundations of research as it relates to ontology 
  2. Aligning purpose of research with questions and understanding research approaches
    2.1 Qualitative approaches
    2.2 Quantitative approaches
    2.3 Mixed-methods approaches
    2.4 Non-experimental (naturalistic, correlational) vs. experimental designs
    2.5 Aligning research question with approach
  3. Evaluating research literature
    3.1 Critical reading of various types of research literature in the fields of sport science, physical education and recreation
    3.2 Identification of gaps in research
    3.3 Components of a research paper
           3.3.1 Literature Review
           3.3.2 Research question
           3.3.3 Methods
           3.3.4 Results or findings
           3.3.5 Discussion 
           3.3.6 Conclusion
  4. Literature reviews
    4.1 Literature searches including advanced techniques using keywords, thesaurus, and citations
    4.2 Literature organization
          4.2.1 Using research questions to categorize literature
          4.2.2 Using methodology to categorize literature
          4.2.3 Using findings to categorize literature
    4.3 Outlining a review
    4.4 Presenting a review
  5. Approaches to research
    5.1 Ethnography
    5.2 Phenomenology
    5.3 Case-study
    5.4 Participatory action research
    5.5 Experimental design
    5.6 Quasi-experimental design
  6. Data collection methods
    6.1 Interview (structured, semi-structured)
    6.2 Focus groups
    6.3 Survey
    6.4 Observation
    6.5 Lab based
  7. Ethics in research
    7.1 Treatment of participants
    7.2 Ethics in design and process
    7.3 Reflexivity and role of researcher
    7.4 Ethics and ethical review board
  8. Preparing proposals and presenting research
    8.1 Components of a proposal
    8.2 Scholarly or academic writing
    8.3 Peer review process
    8.4 Publication formats
          8.4.1 Communication of knowledge for specific publics
          8.4.2 Research and practitioner journal articles
          8.4.3 Poster and round-table presentations
          8.4.4 Book chapters
          8.4.5 Non-traditional – social media
Learning Activities
  1. Lecture
  2. Small and large in-person discussion groups
  3. Project-based
  4. Reading assignments
  5. Online tools including discussion groups, assessments and blogs
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be based on the following:                 

Ethics review assignment 5-15%
Peer-researcher contributions 0-25%
Online quizzes 0-15%
Practical application  20-40%
Final take-home exam 15-30%
TOTAL 100%
Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the components of research papers and articulate their purposes
  2. Describe how “knowledge” is generated through the research process
  3. Identify characteristics of various research methodologies
  4. Align the choice of research methods to underlying epistemological assumptions
  5. Define and correctly apply a range of relevant research terminology
  6. Interpret relevant information from published studies
  7. Synthesize the results of a broad literature search on a selected topic
  8. Design a mock- or mini-research study including identification of a literature gap, the research question, the methodology, and method of data collection
Textbook Materials

Consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required texbooks and materials. Example textbooks and materials may include:

Gratton, C. & Jones. I. (2010). Research Methods in Sports Studies. (current edition). New York, Routledge



60 credits, including ENGL 1130 and SPSC 2205 and SPSC 1164


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for SPSC 3256
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV KIN 301 (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023