The validation of a model of the structure of knowledge for the field of physical education
Beelby, Frederick L
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The multi-disciplinary field of physical education lacks a cohesive universally accepted concept with which to bind its many sub-disciplines. Widespread misunderstanding prevails among professionals within the field concerning the structure of knowledge (SOK) for this important area of study. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived validity, usefulness, and comprehensiveness of a graphical (SOK) model, developed from a review of the related literature, on the SOK for the field of physical education. The 15 research questions and 195 null hypotheses were designed to determine how professional physical educators, as a whole and as sub-groups (according to educational level and sub-disciplines), would rate the SOK Model. The research methodology for this project relied on epistecybernetic theory. A survey questionnaire that included the general model and its four domains contained questions relating to the identification of the SOK for the field of physical education. The survey was sent to 864 professional physical educators in the spring of 1999. One hundred and seventy-one usable questionnaires were returned for a response rate of 20 percent. Physical educators were asked to rate the general SOK model and its four domains on validity, usefulness, and comprehensiveness. The survey found that of the 195 null hypotheses, 166 were rejected, 14 were accepted, and 15 could not be analyzed. While response rate was low, there appeared to be a trend by the respondents, as a whole, to accept the SOK Model. Physical educators grouped by educational level and sub-discipline also appeared to accept the SOK model and its four domains. The greatest discrepancy in perceptions between educational levels tended to occur between those with the bachelors when compared with those with the doctor of philosophy degree, as increased specialization seemed to signal a shift away from a traditionally global understanding of physical education. Recommendations were made that professional physical education and sport organizations could adopt this SOK Model for use in program development, implementation, and evaluation to see if it will be helpful. Another recommendation suggested that the Model could be used by college and university faculty to evaluate their present programs and to guide, on a pilot basis, future curricular decisions. Finally, recommendations were made that future research should attempt to further validate this SOK model and each of its four domains through additional quantitative and qualitative local, regional, and national studies.