The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze research on teaching in doctoral programs. Research on teaching was differentiated from research on teacher education. Abstracts of research were obtained from Dissertation Abstracts International for dissertations completed from 1975 to 1984. Data were recorded for the year the dissertation was completed, primary and secondary (if any) focus of the study, observation instruments used, population, and the type of statistics used to analyze the data. Some 120 studies were identified as research on teaching in physical education. A majority of the studies (55) were comparisons of teaching methods using no observation instrument. Methods research was followed in frequency by descriptive research (22), instrument development (16), and comparisons among student subgroups (15). Systematic observation was not used in 60 studies. Of those studies where systematic observation was used, specific instruments were developed for research and other common instruments were employed. Most research occurred in elementary and secondary schools. A large proportion of the studies used univariate statistics to complete the data analysis.
This study investigated relationships between two groups of process variables, student engagement and practice trials, and achievement. The effect of initial skill level and class membership in these relationships was also examined. Students (N = 57 after attrition) were pretested, instructed, and posttested on a swimming skill. The two instructional periods were videotaped and coded for motor engagement, cognitive engagement, and the quantity, type, and difficulty level of practice trials. Motor and cognitive engagement were not significant predictors of achievement for the entire sample. Whole-appropriate practice trials were positive predictors of achievement and whole-inappropriate practice trials were negative predictors of achievement. A variety of significant relationships were found when data were analyzed by skill level and class. The data indicate that engagement paradigms may extend to psychomotor skill learning and that the type of practice trials are more important than simple engaged time.
This paper provides a comprehensive review of attitude research in physical education. The first section, reviews theoretical models that are prevalent in attitude research. Then, the next section describes the methods that were used to locate the research used in the remainder of the paper. The third section discusses measurement issues in attitude research, focusing on issues of score reliability. The final section reviews the results of research on attitude of physical education students and teachers. Critiques and analyses occur throughout the review.
Stephen Silverman and Mara Manson
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.
Panos Constantinides and Stephen Silverman
Purpose: This study examined the attitudes of Cypriot elementary school students toward physical education. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students (N = 763) from six urban Cypriot elementary schools completed an attitude instrument. Methods: Adapting the attitude instrument for Greek-speaking students an extensive two-step pilot study showed the instrument scores were valid for a two factor model (affect and cognition) of attitude. Results: The authors found that Cypriot upper elementary school students have an overall moderate to high attitude toward physical education. Comparisons indicated there was a grade level effect with sixth grade students having lower attitudes for the usefulness-curriculum sub-factor, the perceived usefulness factor, and for total attitude. There were no differences for other attitude variables and no gender effects. Discussion/Conclusion: The results suggest that Cypriot students perceive the curriculum less useful as they get older.
Stephen Silverman and Melinda Solmon
This paper addresses the appropriate unit of analysis in field research. We first discuss the issues related to this topic: (a) unit of measurement versus unit of analysis, (b) treatments and random assignment, (c) independence of observations, (d) moderating and control variables, and (e) correlational versus experimental research. We then present a model for determining the correct unit of analysis. In many instances, researchers should use class means or subgroup means, and this has implications for research design. In the third section, we discuss the related issues of (a) the burden of proof, (b) asking the right questions and getting the right answers, and (c) completing statistical analyses. How data are analyzed can affect the results, and researchers should consider these issues when planning their research.