Challenging Our Assumptions in the Biological Area of Adapted Physical Activity: A Reaction to Shephard (1998)

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Garry D. Wheeler University of Alberta

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The biological area of adapted physical activity research has traditionally been dominated by the positivist or rational empirical paradigm, or the scientific method. Underlying assumptions of the inquirer and inquired’s objectivity and independence have generated much criticism. Researchers have argued that the scientific method produces an impoverished view of reality and that claims to an objective and value-free stance are ideological and mythical. Critique of rational-empiricism, the scientific method, present science, or the received-view may be understood at three levels: intraparadigmatic, extraparadigmatic, and intramethod. Dr. Shephard (1998) addresses the latter in his paper and as such, his is a method-based approach. A methodological analysis, however, requires examining the underlying tacit assumptions of the scientific method. In this paper, critique of the scientific method is offered and justification of the critique examined. Proposed alternatives include an expansionist view of research, inclusion of subjective elements, triangulated designs, and empowerment of subjects.

Garry D. Wheeler is with the Rick Hansen Centre, W1-67 Van Vliet Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2H9, Canada.

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