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PHSE591 Research Design and Analysis

Analysis of the assumptions and paradigms underpinning research and the application of those assumptions to a design for independent research.

What questions do researchers interested in physical education and sport and exercise sciences ask? Why do they ask these questions? And how do they answer them? This paper introduces students to constructing knowledge and the processes of researching in physical education and sport and exercise sciences. The paper covers the spectrum of philosophy, theory, methods and craft used to conduct and present research in physical education and sport and exercise sciences. Topics covered in the paper include:

  • Research paradigms
  • Reviewing and analysing research literature
  • Designing robust research projects
  • Preparing research proposals
  • Presenting research proposals

Paper title Research Design and Analysis
Paper code PHSE591
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,831.37
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,357.07

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Limited to
PGDipOE, PGDipPE, MDanceSt, MPhEd
This is a demanding 500-level paper for students undertaking independent research toward a postgraduate qualification. Students should have a keen interest in, and be motivated toward, research.
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator and Lecturer: Professor Doug Booth
There is no compulsory text book. The course outline provides a list of readings (book chapters and journal articles) for each topic and each lecture. Readings are available online and or through the course reserve section in the library.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Self-motivation, Communication.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Paper Structure
Most classes will consist of three components: theory, craft and practice.

Topics in the theory component include:
  • The disciplines and sub-disciplines of physical education, sport and exercise science
  • The essentiality of context
  • Historical and political foundations of research in New Zealand physical education and sport and exercise science
  • The nature of quantitative research
  • The nature of qualitative research
  • Research paradigms
  • Conceptualising the body in physical education, sport and exercise science
Topics in the craft component include:
  • Reference management software
  • Reviewing literature
  • Evaluating research literature
  • Effective writing
  • Supervision and supervisors
  • Research ethics
  • Research grants and proposals
  • Oral presentations
The practice component involves analysing an article (typically from a newspaper or journal) dealing with a contemporary issue pertaining to research. Working in pairs or groups of three, you will be required to answer questions pertaining to, or stemming from, the article.
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this paper students should:
  • Understand the philosophical foundations of research processes
  • Be able to identify and evaluate different kinds of research designs
  • Be able to identify the steps in the scientific method of research (including notions of validity, reliability and trustworthiness)
  • Be able to critically evaluate research in physical education, sport and exercise science
  • Be able to demonstrate generic research skills, such as critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and communication
  • Understand the ethics of research involving human subjects

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Thursday 10:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41