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.
Stephen Silverman and Melinda Solmon
Jane Chung, George Demiris and Hilaire J. Thompson
Mobility is critical in maintaining independence in older adults. This study aims to systematically review the scientific literature to identify measures of mobility limitation for community-dwelling older adults. A systematic search of PubMed, CINAHL, and psycINFO, using the search terms “mobility limitation”, “mobility disability”, and “mobility difficulty” yielded 1,847 articles from 1990 to 2012; a final selection of 103 articles was used for the present manuscript. Tools to measure mobility were found to be either self-report or performance-based instruments. Commonly measured constructs of mobility included walking, climbing stairs, and lower extremity function. There was heterogeneity in ways of defining and measuring mobility limitation in older adults living in the community. Given the lack of consistency in assessment tools for mobility, a clear understanding and standardization of instruments are required for comparison across studies and for better understanding indicators and outcomes of mobility limitation in community-dwelling older adults.
Luke I. Macris and Michael P. Sam
With growing governmental involvement in sport, there has been a corresponding demand on national sport organizations (NSOs) to operate within performance measurement systems. In this study, we analyze data from New Zealand to determine NSO officials’ perceptions of (a) their reporting relationship with the central agency (Sport and Recreation New Zealand), and (b) the system of performance contracts (or “investment schedules”). Following Norman (2002), we found differing perceptions regarding the legitimacy of performance systems and three tensions emerged. First, the clarity of focus enabled by performance measurement was tempered by the perception of an ever-changing political environment. Second, NSO officials acted strategically and opportunistically at times, marshalling arguments around performance measures to “capture” their principal. Third, neither trust nor distrust in the system necessarily translated into compliance; some NSOs sought independence from the system. This research speaks to the legitimacy of performance systems, a significant but tenuous element to their sustainability.
Molly Burger and Dennis Dolny
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among body mass index (BMI), body image perception, physical activity habits, and exercise stage of change in college-aged females. Volunteers (N = 134) completed a survey of demographics, Stage of Exercise Scale (SOES; Cardinal, 1995a; Cardinal, 1995b), Physical Activity History questionnaire (PAH; Jacobs, Hahn, Haskell, Pirie, & Sidney, 1989), and Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ; Cooper, Taylor, Cooper, & Fairburn, 1987). Participants were categorized into five exercise stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Relationships between the variables were analyzed with Pearson r correlations. Kruskal-Wallis independence tests were also used for analyses. Approximately 60% of the participants reported current physical inactivity or irregular exercise. BMI and body image score were significantly linearly related, with higher body mass indicating more negative body image (r = 30, p <.017). Significant differences existed between exercise stages for physical activity score, X2 (3, N = 134) = 19.98, p <.05. Based upon follow-up tests participants in the maintenance stage had significantly higher physical activity scores than all other stages. No significant differences were found for BMI or body image between exercise stages. Regular exercisers had the highest frequency of disordered eating and weight-preoccupied attitudes and behaviors. The majority of these women were not currently regularly physically active, professed dissatisfaction with their current level of activity, and expressed a fear of being fat. Further study directed at specific factors related to body image and exercise behaviors, as well as the impact of stage-specific interventions are suggested.
Niki Tsangaridou and Mary O’Sullivan
This research was conducted to describe the relationship between physical education teachers’ educational theories of action and theories-in-use. The question addressed was, What are the educational theories and practices of physical education teachers, and to what degree do their educational theories guide their professional practices? Data were collected through class observations, formal and informal interviews, vignette interviews, and journals. Data were analyzed inductively. Results suggested that the four teachers in this study held strong and well articulated views about student learning and what constitutes a physically educated student. They agreed that the primary goal of a physical education program was the development of skills. They believed that guided student practice was important for student learning. The selection and implementation of teaching practices demonstrated the teachers’ commitment to gender equity and the needs and abilities of their students. There were only three discrepancies between the participants’ theories of action and their theories-in-use. These related to student independence, student choice of content, and the process of cooperation and negotiation. Otherwise the teachers’ theories-in-use were consistent with their theories of action. The results from this study do not substantiate the notion of a level of discrepancy between teachers’ espoused theories and professional practices as presented in the literature (Argyris & Schon, 1974; Knight & Smith, 1989).
Madeleine Vincent-Morin and Lucile Lafont
The goal of this study was to identify the relationships between the learning choices made by pupils and their personal characteristics, including cognitive style (field dependence–independence), a motivational variable (feeling of self-efficacy), and a cognitive variable (task representation). The participants were 64 twelve-year-old sixth graders from a suburban middle school in France (35 boys and 29 girls). Cognitive style or FDI was measured with the Group Embedded Figures Test, a perceptual test that requires finding a simple geometrical figure embedded in a complex geometrical one. Five learning conditions (autonomy, tutoring, verbal instruction, silent demonstration, and verbal demonstration) were then proposed in random order to the pupils. They were asked to select a learning method to solve a motor problem: a badminton service. The results indicated an absence of relationships between the choice of a learning condition and cognitive style. Three variables partially predicted the learning-condition choice: feeling of self-efficacy, task representation, and motor performance. The present results can be interpreted in the light of studies on children’s help-seeking behavior in problem-solving situations.
Cyril Burdet and Patrice Rougier
To question the relation between uni- and bipedal postural skills, 21 subjects were required to stand on a force platform through uni- and bipedal conditions. These two protocols are commonly used paradigms to assess the balance capacities of healthy and disabled patients. The recorded displacements of the center of pressure (CP) were decomposed along mediolateral and anteroposterior axes and assessed through variance positions and parameters obtained from fractional Brownian motion (fBm) modeling to determine the nature and the spatiotemporal organization of the successive controlling mechanisms. The variances underline the relative independence of the two tasks. Nevertheless, as highlighted by the fBm framework, postural correction is initiated for the unipedal stance after shorter time delays and longer covered distances. When compared to bipedal standing, one of the main characteristics of unipedal standing is to induce better-controlled CP trajectories, as deduced from the scaling regimes computed from the fBm modeling. Lastly, the control of the CP trajectories during the shortest time intervals along the anteroposterior axis appears identical for both uni- and bipedal conditions. Unipedal and bipedal standing controls should thus be viewed as two complementary tasks, each providing specific and complementary insights into the postural control organization.
Luis Columna, Margarita Fernández-Vivó, Lauren Lieberman and Katrina Arndt
Nationwide research indicates that children with visual impairment have limited participation in recreational and sport activities than their peers. This is due in part to the lack of recreational opportunities and facilities, as well as a lack of awareness by parents of how and where their children can participate. The purpose of the current study was to explore the experiences of Latino families of children with visual impairments living in Guatemala regarding physical recreation. Participants were Latino parents (N = 13) who have children with visual impairments recruited from a sport camp.
Qualitative data were gathered through one-on-one interviews that were transcribed and analyzed through a constant comparative analysis.
Participating Latino families who resided in Guatemala City participated at least once a month in low budget recreational activities with their children with visual impairments. Activities were mostly done in local surroundings and led mainly by their mother. Benefits identified by the participants related to relaxation, socialization, and sense of independence, with minimal mention of health related benefits.
There is a need to disseminate information to the Latino community with children with visual impairments regarding the multiple benefits that arise from being involved in recreational physical activities.
Mark G. Davis, Kenneth R. Fox, Afroditi Stathi, Tanya Trayers, Janice L. Thompson and Ashley R. Cooper
The relationship of objectively measured sedentary time (ST), frequency of breaks in ST, and lower extremity function (LEF) was investigated in a diverse sample aged ≥ 70 years (n = 217). Physical activity (PA) was assessed by accelerometry deriving moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) minutes per registered hour (MVPA min · hr−1), registered ST (ST min · hr−1), and breaks in ST min · hr−1 (breaks · hr−1). LEF was assessed by the Short Physical Performance Battery. Univariate associations with overall LEF were MVPA (r = .523), ST (r = −.499), and breaks (r = .389). Adjusted linear regression including MVPA min · hr−1, ST min · hr−1, and breaks · hr−1 explained 41.5% of LEF variance. Each additional break · hr−1 was associated with 0.58 point increase in LEF. Breaks and MVPA had strongest independent associations with LEF. Promoting regular breaks might be useful in maintaining or increasing LEF and later life independence. This novel finding is important for the design of effective lifestyle interventions targeting older adults.
Daniel A. Rascher, Chad D. McEvoy, Mark S. Nagel and Matthew T. Brown
Sport teams historically have been reluctant to change ticket prices during the season. Recently, however, numerous sport organizations have implemented variable ticket pricing in an effort to maximize revenues. In Major League Baseball variable pricing results in ticket price increases or decreases depending on factors such as quality of the opponent, day of the week, month of the year, and for special events such as opening day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. Using censored regression and elasticity analysis, this article demonstrates that variable pricing would have yielded approximately $590,000 per year in additional ticket revenue for each major league team in 1996, ceteris paribus. Accounting for capacity constraints, this amounts to only about a 2.8% increase above what occurs when prices are not varied. For the 1996 season, the largest revenue gain would have been the Cleveland Indians, who would have generated an extra $1.4 million in revenue. The largest percentage revenue gain would have been the San Francisco Giants. The Giants would have seen an estimated 6.7% increase in revenue had they used optimal variable pricing.