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 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 methodologies for a researchable question, and conduct a literature review on a topic of interest. This course will also be an introduction to preparing a research proposal including selecting research methods appropriate to meet the desired outcomes of a study.
Course Content
  1. Research as knowledge production
  • Research as a source of knowledge generation
  • Introduction to epistemological foundations of research as it relates to ontology (worldview)
  • Aligning purpose with questions and understanding research approaches
    • Qualitative approaches
    • Quantitative approaches
    • Mixed-methods approaches
    • Non-experimental (naturalistic, correlational) vs. experimental designs
    • Aligning research question with approach
  • Evaluating research literature
    • Critical reading of various types of research literature in the fields of sport science, physical education and recreation
    • Identification of gaps in research
    • Components of a research paper
      • Research question (hypothesis identification where applicable )
      • Methodology identification
        • Methods of data collection
        • Participants
        • Analysis
      • Literature review
      • Results or findings
      • Discussions and knowledge translation
      • Conclusions
  • Literature reviews
    • Literature searches including advanced techniques using keywords, thesaurus, and citations
    • Literature organization
      • Using research questions to categorize literature
      • Using methodology to categorize literature
      • Using findings to categorize literature
    • Outlining a review
    • Presenting a review
  • Approaches to research
    • Ethnography
    • Case-study
    • Life history
    • Participatory action research
    • Experimental design
    • Quasi-experimental design
  • Data Collection Methods
    • Interview (structured, semi-structured)
    • Focus groups
    • Survey
    • Observation
    • Lab based
  • Ethics in research
    • Treatment of participants
    • Ethics in design and process
    • Reflexivity and role of researcher
    • Ethics and ethical review board
  • Preparing proposals and presenting research
    • Components of a proposal
    • Scholarly or academic writing
    • Peer review process
    • Publication forums
      • Journals
      • Conferences
      • Public sphere
    • Publication formats
      • Communication of knowledge for specific publics
      • Research and practitioner journal articles
      • Poster and round-table presentations
      • Book chapters
      • Non-traditional – social media
    Methods Of Instruction
    1. Lecture
    2. Small and large in-person discussion groups
    3. Practical applications (field observation and/or video observation)
    4. Reading assignments
    5. Online tools: discussion groups, wikis, blogs, etc.
    Means of Assessment

    The selection of evaluation tools for this course is based upon adherence to Douglas College evaluation policy regarding number and weighing of evaluations, for example a course of three credits or more should have at least three separate evaluations

    The following is presented as an example assessment format for this course:                 

    Research article analysis/review 15-25%
    Group literature search and review (Wiki format using APA) 15-25%
    Mock or mini research proposal 15-25%
    Practical application (field observations, surveys etc.) 15-25%
    Final take-home exam 15-25%


    Learning Outcomes

    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 methodology to underlying epistemological assumptions.
    5. Define and correctly apply a range of relevant research terminology: (e.g. bias, causation, correlation, inference, phenomenon, case, quantitative, qualitative, validity, reliability, informed consent, etc.)
    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 problem, methodology,  hypothesis if relevant to the method, method of data collection (includes participant number and demographic details). 
    Textbook Materials

    Will be decided by course instructors. Potential resources include:

    Course Pack with readings from journal articles and relevant book chapters from texts such as:

    Armour, K., & Macdonad, D. (Eds.). (2012). Research Methods in Physical Education and Youth Sport. New York: Routledge,

    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.

    Requisite for

    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

    Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV KIN 301 (3) 2017/09/01 to -

    Course Offerings

    Winter 2021

    There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.