Operationally Conceptualizing Physical Literacy: Results of a Delphi Study

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Purpose: To operationally conceptualize physical literacy (PL) for application in the United States, using a modified Delphi approach, with PL academics. Methods: A sequential, mixed methods, modified Delphi research design was employed, consisting of three phases: (a) literature analysis, (b) Delphi Survey I (22 participants), and (c) Delphi Survey II (18 participants). Data were analyzed using qualitative coding and descriptive frequency statistics. Results: PL academics’ conceptions of PL suggested a multidimensional, noncontextual, personal, holistic learning process. Qualitative analysis generated two themes: (a) “PL is” and (b) “PL is not.” Quantitative results aligned with the qualitative findings. PL concepts that achieved unanimous agreement were (a) application of knowledge to physical activity (PA), (b) value of PA, (c) autonomous participation in PA, (d) enjoyment of PA, and (e) ability to participate in PA independently. Discussion/Conclusion: PL was operationalized as an autonomous application of movement, constructed by the individual’s conception of movement and response to adversity.

Shortt and Brian are with the Department of Physical Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Webster is with the College of Education, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Keegan is with the Faculty of Health, University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), Canberra, Australia. Egan is with the Department of Movement Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID.

Shortt (cshortt@email.sc.edu) is corresponding author.
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