There are basic philosophical and paradigmatic assumptions that guide scholarly research endeavors, including the methods used and the types of questions asked. Through this article, kinesiology faculty and students with interests in adapted physical activity are encouraged to understand the basic assumptions of applied behavior analysis (ABA) methodology for conducting, analyzing, and presenting research of high quality in this paradigm. The purposes of this viewpoint paper are to present information fundamental to understanding the assumptions undergirding research methodology in ABA, describe key aspects of single-subject research designs, and discuss common research designs and data-analysis strategies used in single-subject studies.
Justin A. Haegele and Samuel Russell Hodge
This article proposes a theory- and practice-based model for adapting physical activities. The ecological frame of reference includes Dynamic and Action System Theory, World Health Organization International Classification of Function and Disability, and Adaptation Theory. A systematic model is presented addressing (a) the task objective, (b) task criteria, (c) limitation and enablement criteria, (d) performance errors, and (e) adaptation suggestions. Four individual case examples are described, referring to the conceptual model and depicting its use in various settings of physical activity, including physical education, rehabilitation, competition, and recreation.
Amaury Samalot-Rivera and David L. Porretta
The purpose of this study was to determine adapted physical educators’ perceptions and practices about teaching social skills to students with disabilities. A questionnaire based on Bandura’s social learning theory concept of modeling was developed and mailed to an entire frame of 426 adapted physical education teachers in the state of Ohio. Face and content validity as well as test/retest reliability (0.89) were established. Of those that were surveyed, 53% (225 teachers; 148 females and 77 males) responded. Results indicate that 93% (209) believe it is important to explicitly teach social skills in PE; however, 60% (135) expressed not feeling properly prepared to teach them. Teachers with more than 20 years of teaching experience were more likely to actually teach social skills. When compared with other teachers with less years teaching, however, they identified a greater need for training in the teaching of social skills. Results are discussed relative to teacher preparation and practices as well as social skills taught for general education and community integration.
The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe key research contributions that have shaped the field of adapted physical activity. That was not an easy task as the area of adapted physical activity is relatively new. The field is also quite broad and has been influenced by many people and sociopolitical influences. In an effort to constrain the scope of influences, this paper will focus on studies related to motor performance and health-related physical fitness of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID). This was done in part because that is an area where I believe that my work and that of students and colleagues at Oregon State University, helped to contribute small fraction of what is known and in a way to help substantiate how much more there is to know. It is challenging to answer the questions of whose work significantly influenced what we now know about the health and fitness status of persons with ID. And more importantly what direction does this area of research need to go for us to change health related outcomes of this group?
Jiabei Zhang, Debra Berkey, Luke Kelly, Daniel Joseph and Shihui Chen
The purpose was to develop a method for projecting the need for adapted physical education (APE) teachers in the public schools in the United States. This method was derived from a prevalence-based model—dividing the number of APE students enrolled by the APE student-teacher ratio and then subtracting the number of APE teachers hired. This model used the findings of Kelly and Gansneder (1998) that (a) 4% of the school population required APE services and (b) the overall national APE student-teacher ratio was 104:1. The results revealed a need for 22, 116 additional APE teachers nationwide as well as specific projections for each state. The prevalence-based projection method is recommended for policy makers at local, state, and national levels; for APE advocates; and for all concerned with APE personnel preparation and employment.
Luke E. Kelly and Bruce Gansneder
A national job analysis was conducted to determine the preparation perceptions, job demographics, and decision-making roles of adapted physical educators (APEs). Participants were 293 teachers, representing a 51% return rate. Most had master’s degrees in physical education, an average of 10 years teaching experience in APE, and APE job titles. Teachers emphasized a greater need for training in teaching, motor development, and continuing education. Most respondents worked in urban settings (56%), served an average of 4.4 schools, and reported an average caseload of 104 students. Teachers worked an average of 36.1 hr per week. Of this time, 52% was spent providing direct APE services and 26% providing indirect APE instruction. Teachers worked with all age groups and all degrees of disabilities. Findings were discussed in relation to the 219 APEs taking the first national APE certification examination in 1997, professional preparation concerns, and service delivery issues.
Garry D. Wheeler
The biological area of adapted physical activity research has traditionally been dominated by the positivist or rational empirical paradigm, or the scientific method. Underlying assumptions of the inquirer and inquired’s objectivity and independence have generated much criticism. Researchers have argued that the scientific method produces an impoverished view of reality and that claims to an objective and value-free stance are ideological and mythical. Critique of rational-empiricism, the scientific method, present science, or the received-view may be understood at three levels: intraparadigmatic, extraparadigmatic, and intramethod. Dr. Shephard (1998) addresses the latter in his paper and as such, his is a method-based approach. A methodological analysis, however, requires examining the underlying tacit assumptions of the scientific method. In this paper, critique of the scientific method is offered and justification of the critique examined. Proposed alternatives include an expansionist view of research, inclusion of subjective elements, triangulated designs, and empowerment of subjects.
øyvind F. Standal and Ejgil Jespersen
The purpose of this study was to investigate the learning that takes place when people with disabilities interact in a rehabilitation context. Data were generated through in-depth interviews and close observations in a 2½ week-long rehabilitation program, where the participants learned both wheelchair skills and adapted physical activities. The findings from the qualitative data analysis are discussed in the context of situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998). The results indicate that peer learning extends beyond skills and techniques, to include ways for the participants to make sense of their situations as wheelchair users. Also, it was found that the community of practice established between the participants represented a critical corrective to instructions provided by rehabilitation professionals.
George R. Biltz
In their article, Kemper and Koppes have presented their assessment of the long-term relationship between physical activity (PA) and aerobic fitness (AF). Specifically, their autoregression analysis did not support a significant causal relationship between current PA and subsequent AF as measured by VO2max. Thus, the authors question how to interpret this unexpected result. Which way does the causal arrow point between PA and AF? This reflection aims to conceptually reframe the causality question, not to resolve its behavioral or physiologic components. This reflection will explore potential sources of unexpected outcomes, analyze dimensions of cognitive difficulty in the context of exercise science, and introduce complex adaptive systems (CAS) as an alternative framework for asking questions and understanding outcomes in exercise research.
Jiabei Zhang, Daniel Joseph and Michael Horvat
The purpose was to investigate marketable features of the adapted physical education (APE) career in higher education. A total of 560 APE job openings (297 APE first priority and 263 APE second priority were identified from the Chronicle of Higher Education between 1975–1976 and 1997–1998. These data were analyzed by regression, chi-square, and descriptive statistics. The results indicate that the APE career is a growing employment market demanding candidates who specialize in APE to prepare in one or more other areas and encouraging candidates who specialize in other areas to minor in APE. The market shows that APE second priority openings increase more quickly than APE first priority openings. Personnel for the APE career in higher education appear to be in short supply.