This paper is a reaction to Shephard’s (1999) criticism of the July 1998 special issue of the Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly on research assumptions. Shephard’s paper is essentially a defense of the use of the scientific method in adapted physical activity and a critique of his own understanding of the postmodern alternative. He argues that the scientific method is the method adapted physical activity researchers must privilege to know the truth. In this paper, it is argued that Shephard’s description of the scientific method is too general to be useful. In addition, he often confounds traditional modernist issues with postmodernist issues. His depiction of the postmodern alternative is too sketchy to be an adequate critique of the postmodern alternative. This paper highlights key issues unaddressed by Shephard and, as well, outlines some major postmodernist themes so that some of Shephard’s distortions can be corrected.
Educable mentally handicapped persons lag well behind nonhandicapped children in the development of both fine and gross movement skills. These persons have difficulty in solving movement problems. Based upon recent work done in cognitive science, it is argued that this lag in movement skill development is related to five major sources: (a) deficiencies in the knowledge base or lack of access to it, (b) lack of spontaneous use of strategies, (c) inadequate metacognitive knowledge and understanding, (d) lack of executive control, and (e) inadequate motivation and practice. A seven-step procedure to teach movement skills to mentally handicapped persons that takes into account these five factors is described. Implications for adapted physical activity are outlined briefly.
Kerr and Blais’ (2000) paper is frequently ambiguous, incoherent, and severely misrepresents the work of Bouffard, Strean and Davis (1998). Kerr and Blais have committed the logical fallacy of attacking a straw man, which is to misrepresent an opponent’s argument presumably for the purpose of making its attack easier. Although they indicate their desire to proceed without reference to ontological and epistemological assumptions, they implicitly submit the contentious statement that eclecticism is a philosophy that has been accepted by movement skill acquisition researchers. They also endorse eclecticism as a philosophy. In this reaction, I question the validity of numerous statements made by Kerr and Blais and elaborate on some points we made in 1998. I conclude that Kerr and Blais’ paper is a parody of Bouffard, Strean and Davis’ work, which is unlikely to advance our understanding, and submit that the study of research assumptions is an essential part of genuine inquiry.
This paper is a criticism of typical group research designs in which the data are analyzed by using standard analysis of variance structural models. A distinction is made between lawful relationships about averages and lawful relationships about people. It is argued that propositions about people cannot necessarily be derived from propositions about the mean of people because the patterns found by aggregating data across people do not necessarily apply to individuals. To find lawful universal relationships about people, data analysis strategies should recognize the person as a basic unit of analysis. Implications of this view for research conducted in adapted physical activity are outlined.
Marcel Bouffard and Greg Reid
The evidence-based practice (EBP) movement has been extremely influential over the last 20 years. Fields like medicine, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, psychology, and education have adopted the idea that policy makers and practitioners should use interventions that have demonstrated efficiency and effectiveness. This apparently straightforward idea is beginning to affect adapted physical activity; however, researchers and practitioners in our field often appear to be unaware of fundamental questions related to them. The major purpose of this paper is to outline and discuss 10 of these fundamental questions. This analysis leads us to conclude that EBP is a good direction to pursue in adapted physical activity if we develop a type of EBP congruent with the main tenets of our field.
J. Dru Marshall and Marcel Bouffard
The primary purpose of this study was to document the actual gross movement competencies, as measured by the Test of Gross Motor Development, in obese versus nonobese children. A 2 Gender (male, female) × 2 Groups (obese, nonobese) × 2 Age Categories (Grade 1, Grade 4) × 2 Programs (quality daily physical education [QDPE], non-QDPE) completely randomized factorial design was used. A significant three-way interaction effect (Group × Age × Program) was found for the Locomotor Skills subscale, such that the difference in movement competency in locomotor skills between obese and nonobese children increased as children got older if they did not receive QPDE. A significant main program effect was also found for the Object Control Skills subscale, with the QDPE children scoring higher than the non-QDPE children. It appears, then, that QDPE programs offer a “protective” effect for the development of locomotor skills in obese children. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Marcel Bouffard and Albert E. Wall
The effect of knowledge on decision making and performance of educable mentally handicapped (EMH) adolescents was studied in a simulated table tennis situation. In two experiments, knowledge about where the ball would land on the table was manipulated. The position the players selected to return the ball was affected by the knowledge (uncertainty) associated with its future landing location. Depending upon the degree of uncertainty, results indicated the players used (a) a total preparation for one particular event strategy, (b) a partial preparation for one particular event strategy, or (c) a no-preparation for one particular event strategy. Further, knowledge about the ball’s future landing location affected the decision about the type of stroke to use and had a minimal effect on the number of balls hit. Overall, these results demonstrate an intricate relationship between knowledge, decision making, and performance in a simulated racket sport by EMH adolescents.
J. Dru Marshall and Marcel Bouffard
The purposes of the study were to determine if there is a difference in gross motor skill movement competencies between obese and nonobese children; whether Quality Daily Physical Education (QDPE) programs facilitated the development of movement skill in obese children; and whether there is an association between aerobic fitness level and motor performance results. A 2 Sex (male, female) × 2 Group (obese, nonobese) × 2 Age Categories (Grade 1, Grade 4) × 2 Program (QDPE, non-QDPE) completely randomized factorial design was used. Movement competency (Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD)) and aerobic fitness (20 m shuttle run test) were assessed in 100 age-, sex-, and school-matched obese and nonobese pairs. A significant three-way interaction of Program × Group × Sex was found for the TGMD total score, suggesting that QDPE programs facilitate the development of gross motor skills in those children who are less movement competent to begin with, regardless of their obesity status. Correlations showed that aerobic fitness level was predictive of the TGMD scores. This study provides evidence in support of QDPE programs.