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Registration for the Fall 2019 semester begins June 25.  Watch your email for more details.

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Research Methods in Sport Science, Physical Education, and Recreation

Course Code: SPSC 3256
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Sport Science
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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)
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Approaches to research
    • Ethnography
    • Case-study
    • Life history
    • Participatory action research
    • Experimental design
    • Quasi-experimental design
  6. Data Collection Methods
    • Interview (structured, semi-structured)
    • Focus groups
    • Survey
    • Observation
    • Lab based
  7. Ethics in research
    • Treatment of participants
    • Ethics in design and process
    • Reflexivity and role of researcher
    • Ethics and ethical review board
  8. 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). 

course prerequisites

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

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.