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April Tripp and Claudine Sherrill

This paper emphasizes that attitude research in adapted physical education must become increasingly theory oriented. Likewise, teacher training must broaden to include scholarly study in relation to social psychology and attitude theory. To facilitate progress in this direction, nine attitude theories have been abstracted from the literature and reviewed under four general headings: learning-behavior theories, cognitive integration theories, consistency theories, and reasoned action theory. Individual theories presented are (a) contact, (b) mediated generalization, (c) assimilation-contrast or persuasive communication, (d) stigma, (e) interpersonal relations, (f) group dynamics, (g) cognitive dissonance, and (h) reasoned action. Illustrations of how each theory applies to selected studies in adapted physical education research and practice are offered, and a lengthy reference list provides both primary and secondary sources for the further study of attitudes.

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Greg Reid, Marcel Bouffard and Catherine MacDonald

Professional practice guided by the best research evidence is a usually referred to as evidence-based practice. The aim of the present paper is to describe five fundamental beliefs of adapted physical activity practices that should be considered in an 8-step research model to create evidence-based research in adapted physical activity. The five beliefs are individualization, critical thinking, self-determination, program effectiveness, and multifactor complexity. The research model includes conceptualize the problem, conduct research on the process of the problem, conceptualize and specify the intervention, evaluate intervention outcomes, evaluate intervention processes, determine person-by-treatment interactions, determine context-dependent limitations, and investigate factors related to intervention adoption maintenance. The eight steps are explained with reference to two research programs that used a randomized control group design.

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Vinson H. Sutlive and Dale A. Ulrich

The unqualified use of statistical significance tests for interpreting the results of empirical research has been called into question by researchers in a number of behavioral disciplines. This paper reviews what statistical significance tells us and what it does not, with particular attention paid to criticisms of using the results of these tests as the sole basis for evaluating the overall significance of research findings. In addition, implications for adapted physical activity research are discussed. Based on the recent literature of other disciplines, several recommendations for evaluating and reporting research findings are made. They include calculating and reporting effect sizes, selecting an alpha level larger than the conventional .05 level, placing greater emphasis on replication of results, evaluating results in a sample size context, and employing simple research designs. Adapted physical activity researchers are encouraged to use specific modifiers when describing findings as significant.

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Glenda Adams and Trudy Younger

Adapted physical education teachers usually work in a setting in which the instruction of handicapped students is highly individualized. Thus, they need to have skills that focus on personal as well as movement characteristics. It is suggested that an understanding of the role of counselor, and of the specific means of counseling, would enable the teachers to work more effectively with their students and their other colleagues.

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Patricia I. Hogan

A prominent theme of educational reform involves focusing on developing students’ thinking abilities. This theme is germane to improving the quality of teacher preparation programs in all subject areas including adapted physical education (APE). Perhaps schools of education in general and APE teacher preparation programs in particular can learn from some progressive and prominent medical schools regarding the development of curricula, programs, and experiences to improve quality of personnel. These medical schools have introduced a conceptually significant innovation—the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum. It is the purpose of this article to introduce the concept of PBL as a potential model for graduate level personnel preparation in APE.

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Geoffrey D. Broadhead and Allen W. Burton

In this opinion paper, we pose the question whether the current generation of scholars have taken advantage of the rich legacy of early adapted physical activity (APA) research. We believe that this legacy often has been ignored, even though it holds many treasures waiting to be rediscovered. We begin with a brief description of the knowledge base in APA prior to 1980, then evaluate the present recognition of past research contributions. Finally, we recommend how students, professionals, and researchers might be encouraged to take advantage of the vast body of literature in APA and related fields.

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Marcel Bouffard

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.

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Sam Minner, Greg Prater and Allan Beane

Preservice teachers from a special education undergraduate training program and inservice teachers working in special education classrooms read a descriptive vignette of a hypothetical placement meeting. All subjects were asked to assume that they felt the child being discussed needed adapted physical education, but that no person in their local school district was trained to provide such services. In short, a “professional dilemma” was devised. After reading the vignette, subjects responded to several questions that assessed their willingness to recommend that the student be provided with the necessary service and the potential impact of this recommendation. Results indicated that both groups were willing to recommend the service but that the inservice group was more fearful of negative repercussions.

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Peter J. Ellery and Michael J. Stewart

A survey of the 13 master’s level and five doctoral level adapted physical education programs that received federal funding in the United States in 1998 was conducted to develop a profile describing their attributes. The response rate was 100% (N = 18). Results indicated that these programs, in general, had received funding for more than 15 years, offered coursework from an average of three different academic disciplines, had a high graduate employment rate within 12 months of graduation, and had about one third of the graduates representing a recognized minority group. Master’s level teacher preparation programs were concentrated in the eastern region of the U.S., had graduates with predominantly in-state home addresses, and had graduated predominantly females. Doctoral level leadership programs were geographically distributed across the U.S., had graduates with predominantly out-of-state home addresses, and had equal graduate representation from both genders.

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Roy J. Shephard

This paper examines the postmodernist critique of the scientific method in the specific context of adapted physical activity. Particular assumptions identified include (a) that truth must be approached through testing hypotheses, with acceptance of the most plausible explanation, (b) that underlying laws have general (if not universal) application, and (c) that the observer approaches an experiment free of bias and without interacting with the subject. Postmodernists also argue, less convincingly, that users of the scientific method are committed to reductionism, are tyrannized by the mean, and are unable to quantitate important components of disability. The overall critique raises consciousness regarding the limitations of scientific methodology and points to ways this methodology can be improved. But too often, postmodernists offer few viable alternatives to the scientific method. Too often, those who espouse postmodernism resort to convoluted semantics, using poorly defined words of uncertain etymology. Such an approach does little to help the human condition and should be rejected as a new gnostic heresy.