University of Technology Sydney

92536 Research Methods for Sport and Exercise

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level: Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces a variety of research design and statistics procedures that specifically relate to the sport and exercise industry. Research methods include both quantitative and qualitative procedures with particular emphasis on how an exercise scientist can recognise and apply evidence based practice. Students are required to access and appraise peer-reviewed scientific literature, and utilise software packages to enter, interpret and report data.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Critically appraise the role of research and ethics in sport, exercise and health
B. Understand and utilise a range of statistical analysis techniques employed in sport, exercise and health research
C. Discuss and critique the validity and reliability of research findings published in the sport, exercise and health literature
D. Design research with a scientific approach to the study of sport, exercise and health in order to identify and solve problems
E. Cite the research of others in written and oral communication

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Take personal, social and ethical responsibility for their contribution to sport, exercise and health (2.0)
  • Competently apply knowledge and skills within the sport, exercise and health professions (3.0)
  • Engage in research and critical thinking to integrate diverse knowledge and develop creative, effective and evidence-based solutions (4.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject will incorporate both online learning activities and face to face Laboratory sessions. Online learning will primarily be delivered through Canvas and this content will underpin the laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions include collaborative learning, computer based learning and problem solving activities utilising an active learning environment. Students will be required to complete Pre-Class Learning Activities throughout the semester in order to understand and engage with In-Class Learning Activities. The subject is based on mathematical and scientific concepts that traditionally challenge students. The diligent completion of preparatory work will enable foundational concepts to be developed during class time and applied to authentic research examples. Students will also use computer based statistical programs and apply their statistical knowledge to solve sport and exercise research problems. Feedback on student performance will be provided during laboratory classes whilst completing exercises in the laboratory manual.

Further, this subject will also help you develop academic and professional language and communication skills to succeed at university and in the workplace. During the course of this subject, you will complete a milestone assessment task that will, in addition to assessing your subject-specific learning objectives, assess your English language proficiency.

Content (topics)

  • Introductory concepts - nature of research, problem solving methods, qualitative & quantitative research, ethical considerations
  • Appropriate sources of information, utilising primary databases to access peer-reviewed scientific literature, purpose and structure of the literature review, evidenced based practice, reporting and citing written research
  • Experimental research - research hypotheses, delimitations, limitations, significance, scope, research design, discussion of findings
  • Measurement procedures - validity and reliability, standard error, scale of measurement
  • Statistical Techniques - survey design, percentiles, central tendency and variability, normal curve and sampling error, levels of confidence, correlation and bi-variate regression, t test and z test, type I and type II errors, analysis of variance, nonparametric techniques, assumptions, homogeneity of variance
  • Computer techniques - Microsoft excel, SPSS, stem and leaf plots, boxplots, post-hoc tests, statistical procedures
  • Critical appraisal of methodology in health, sport and exercise research


Assessment task 1: Survey Design


This purpose of this authentic assessment is to provide students with the opportunity to create an online survey relevant to the Sport and Exercise field. This will include accessing one of the freely available online tools and applying the theoretical concepts learnt in the subject including appropriate structuring of questions, ethical considerations, identification of quantitative and qualitative research designs, and categorising question types and responses.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

2.0, 3.0 and 4.0

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

7 or 8 questions

Assessment task 2: Research Design


This purpose of this assessment is to provide students with an opportunity to collaborate with their peers and design a research project relevant to the Sport and Exercise field. This is a direct application of the theoretical concepts learnt in the subject and assesses each student's understanding of the research process. The project requires students to design hypothetical research that considers an evidence based approach.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

2.0, 3.0 and 4.0

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 30%

The assignment should be 2 pages long (single spacing). If needed, a third page may be included for references.

Assessment task 3: Laboratory Examination


The intent of this assessment is to ensure students understand the foundational and applied concepts and how they enable evidence based solutions. Students will be required to interpret data, make decisions on SPSS output data, determine the type of research being conducted from sample designs and recognise various types of distributions and statistical measures.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A and B

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

2.0, 3.0 and 4.0

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

70 min

Minimum requirements

To PASS this subject, students must submit all assessment pieces and achieve a minimum mark of 50 after all assessment marks are combined. Students must also meet the minimum language requirements in the milestone task.

Required texts

Weir, J., & Vincent, W. (2021), Statistics in kinesiology (5th ed.). Human Kinetics.

Students are advised to acquire their own copies of these texts. Copies of these texts are available at the UTS library on closed reserve.

All additional readings, other than text books, will be available via links from within Canvas. The required preparatory activities for this subject will be advised on Canvas prior to any tutorials. Please complete the set preparatory activities prior to the tutorials in the week required.

NB: It is essential that students complete all required preparatory activities. The required preparatory activities will be considered assumed knowledge for tutorial classes and the examination.


Cleland, J., Dixon, K., & Kilvington, D. (2020). Online research methods in sport studies. Taylor & Francis.

Gratton, C., & Jones, I. (2015), Research methods for sport studies. Routledge.

Greenhalgh, T., Bidewell, J., Crisp, E., Lambros, A., & Warland, J. (2020). Understanding research methods for evidence-based practice in health (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.

Medcalf, R., & Mackintosh, C. (2019). Researching difference in sport and physical activity. Routledge.

Mood, D., Morrow, J., & McQueen, M. (2020). Introduction to statistics in human performance: using SPSS and R (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.

Ntoumanis, N., & Myers, N. (2016). An introduction to intermediate and advanced statistical analyses for sport and exercise scientists. Wiley.

Pallant, J. (2016), SPSS Survival manual: a step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS for Windows. Allen & Unwin

Sarstedt, M., & Mooi, E. (2019). A concise guide to market research: the process, data, and methods using IBM SPSS statistics (3rd ed.). Springer.

Schwartz, B., Wilson, J., & Goff, D. (2019). An easyguide to research design and SPSS (2nd ed.). SAGE.

Skinner, J., Edwards, A., & Corbett, B. (2015). Research methods for sport management. Routledge.

Thomas, J., Nelson, J., & Silverman, S. (2015), Research methods in physical activity (7th ed.). Human Kinetics.

Veal, A., & Darcy, S. (2014), Research methods in sports studies and sport management, Routledge.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10

Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:

For other resources/ information refer to the Faculty of Health website ( and Canvas at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, health literature databases, workshops and bookable study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with your questions available via online chat, phone and in person. W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666.

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733.

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or