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As a part of their doctoral education, students complete a dissertation. Examining these dissertations can provide one analysis of research in a field. The primary purpose of this study was to analyze all physical education dissertations with a teaching focus that were completed between 1985 and 1999. All possible dissertations were examined through the electronic version of Dissertation Abstracts International. For the teaching dissertations (n = 201), each abstract was coded for (a) research type, (b) research focus, (c) student variable measured, (d) observation used, (e) interview used, (f) other methods used, (g) population, (h) general methodology, and (i) statistics reported/used. Most research on teaching dissertations addressed issues related to teacher effectiveness and focused on motor skill learning and attitude. There was an increase in qualitative methods from those reported in a previous study (Silverman, 1987). While there were methodological advances, many dissertations still used methods that were not informed by the research methods literature.
Stephen Silverman is with the Dept. of Biobehavioral Sciences, Box 126, Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th St., New York, NY 10027; Mara Manson is with the Dept. of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance Science, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY 11530.