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Survey Research. KNES 510 Research Methods in Kinesiology. 1. Descriptive Research. Descriptive research is also known as non-experimental research Asks the basic question: What is? No manipulation of variables Measure and record events that would happen anyway. 2.

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Survey research l.jpg

Survey Research

KNES 510

Research Methods in Kinesiology


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Descriptive Research

  • Descriptive research is also known as non-experimental research

  • Asks the basic question: What is?

  • No manipulation of variables

  • Measure and record events that would happen anyway


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Descriptive Research, cont’d

  • Manipulation of variables may be impossible or unethical

    • Effects of megadoses of anabolic steroids on strength

    • Deliberately causing injury to study different types of therapy

  • No randomization, therefore less control and many threats to internal validity

  • Cause-and-effect is more difficult to establish


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  • Survey – technique of descriptive research that seeks to determine present practices or opinions of a specified population

  • Types of survey research include the questionnaire, interview, and normative survey


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Examples of Survey Research

  • Durell, D. L., Pujol, T. J., & Barnes, J. T. (2003). A survey of the scientific data and training methods utilized by collegiate strength and conditioning coaches. J Strength Cond Res, 17(2), 368-373.

  • Schick MG, Brown LE, Coburn JW, Beam WC, Schick EE, Dabbs NC. Physiological profile of mixed martial artists. Medicina Sportiva. 14(4):182-187, 2010.

  • Rossi MD, Brown LE, Whitehurst M. Knee extensor and flexor torque characteristics before and after unilateral total knee arthroplasty. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 85(9):737-746, 2006.

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  • Questionnaire – type of paper-and-pencil survey used in descriptive research in which information is obtained by asking participants to respond to questions rather than by observing their behavior

  • Limitation is that results are simply what people say they do, believe, like, dislike, etc.



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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Determine the objectives

    • What information is wanted?

    • How will the results be analyzed?

    • Will comparisons be made between groups of respondents?


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Delimit the sample

  • What is the specific population you wish to examine?

    • Adults vs. children

    • Exercisers vs. nonexercisers (how do you define exercisers?)

    • Elite coaches


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Your sample must be representative of the population

    • Sampling error

      • Many samples may be drawn from a population

      • Each sample will yield different results

      • The difference between samples is the sampling error (amount of error to expect in a single sample)

    • Sample size

      • Must be adequate to represent population of interest

      • Must be practical from the standpoint of time and cost


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Construct the questionnaire

    • Open-ended questions

      • Category of question in questionnaires and interviews that allows the respondent considerable latitude to express feelings and to expand on ideas

      • Example: “How do you think things went today?”

      • Drawbacks:

        • Respondents don’t like them

        • They are time-consuming to answer

        • Limited control over the types of answers given

        • May be more difficult to analyze


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Closed questions

    • Category of question found in questionnaires or interviews that requires a specific response and that often takes the form of rankings, scaled items, or categorical responses

    • Ranking – type of closed question that forces the respondent to place responses in a rank order according to some criterion


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Example of Ranking: From what sources has most of your nutrition information come? Rank top 3


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Survey Research Process, cont’d

  • Scaled items – type of closed question that requires participants to indicate the strength of their agreement or disagreement with some statement or the relative frequency of some behavior

  • Example of scaled item: In a required physical education program, students should be required to take at least one dance class.

    • Strongly disagree

    • Disagree

    • Undecided

    • Agree

    • Strongly agree


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Likert-type scale – consists of 3 to 9 items

  • Equal intervals between responses, i.e., difference between “strongly agree, and “agree is considered equivalent


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Categorical response – type of closed question that offers the participant only two responses, such as yes or no

  • Possible responses include yes/no, true/false, female/male, etc.


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Questionnaire, cont’

  • Appearance and design

    • Appearance has been shown to affect response rate

    • Provide written instructions for completion

    • First few questions should be easy to answer

    • Short questionnaires have higher response rates


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Conduct a pilot study

    • Send questionnaire to colleagues or acquaintances

    • Revise and send to sample of population of interest

    • Analyze results as part of pilot study

    • Revise again and use


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Write the cover letter

    • Be professional and concise

    • Explain purpose and importance

    • Assure respondent of their privacy and anonymity

    • Use institutional letterhead if applicable

    • Rewards and incentives may be used, including money


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Send the questionnaire

    • Include self-addressed, stamped envelope

    • E-mail, fax, and the internet may also be used


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Follow-up

    • Wait at least 10 days for follow-up

    • Wait another 10 days then send another questionnaire

    • Keep in mind that respondents are “self-selected” and this biases your results


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Questionnaire, cont’d

  • Analyze the results

    • These topics will be discussed later in class


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Delphi Survey Method

  • Delphi survey method – survey technique that uses a series of questionnaires in such a way that the respondents (usually experts) reach a consensus about the subject

    • Survey is sent to respondents (experts)

    • Results are sent to respondents and they are asked to reconsider their answers


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Essentially the same as the questionnaire except questioning is done orally instead of in writing

Higher response rate but smaller samples than questionnaire

Personal Interview


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Personal Interview, cont’d is done orally instead of in writing

  • Advantages of the personal interview:

    • More adaptable

    • Interviewer can observe the respondent

    • Greater rate of return than questionnaire

    • Easier to explain questions


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Normative Survey is done orally instead of in writing

  • Normative survey – survey method that involves establishing norms for abilities, performances, beliefs, and attitudes

  • Similar to questionnaire except that tests are administered

  • AAHPERD Youth Fitness Test (1958)

  • National Children and Youth Fitness Study (1985, 1987)

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References and Cites is done orally instead of in writing


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Next Class is done orally instead of in writing

  • Tonight-intro and survey

  • Chapter 16