Research

Research Interests

  1. Performance Psychology
    1. Mental Toughness – I have a strong interest in how athletes develop mental toughness, and the roles that coaches and parents play in helping athletes to develop mental toughness.  My first mental toughness study examined the perceptions of elite swimming coaches, with regards to how they thought mental toughness was developed.  I am currently conducting a similar study that attempts to triangulate the observations of swimming coaches by interviewing mentally tough swimmers.
    2. Consultants’ Use of Twitter – Many sport and performance psychology consultants use Twitter — but HOW do they use it?  New York Times columnist David Carr once said that there is a difference between “thought-casting” and “mind-casting.”  Thought-casters tend to generate random thoughts, observations, quotes, humor… whereas mind-casters tend to give followers a window into more deep and complicated thinking patterns.  So… do most consultants thought-cast, or mind-cast?
  2. Organizational, Sport, and Performance Psychology Overlaps
    1. I have been intrigued by an emerging trend of organizational psychology literature showing up in the sport psychology world.  For instance, a recent article examined positive organizational psychology in a national sport organization (Wagstaff, Fletcher, and Hanton, 2012).  In the era of youth sport specialization and athletic scholarship wars, collegiate sport is often described as work.  Therefore, it would benefit sport psychologists to understand the psychological principles used in organizational psychology to build better workplaces.
  3. Educational Technology, Pedagogy, and Online Learning
    1. Online Assessment & Just-in-time teaching – I have employed the use of the online pre/post quizzes to assess student comprehension of textbook chapters in my face-to-face growth and motor behavior course for two semesters.  Students have generally indicated that this helps them to learn because it forces them to read the assigned chapter, and that it helps them to focus on what material is most important.  However, for this type of learning to take-off, we need to propose a model for how this type of learning works.
    2. Student Blogging and the e-Portfolio – Students in my Principles of Coaching class have created coaching blogs using wordpress.com.  The coaching blog contains both the coaching philosophy and a coaching bio.  It also contains several reflective writing assignments (< 300 words).  The informal writing style of the blog allows the student to reflect without the restriction of formal writing.  Reflection and analysis is a process which must be learned and practiced by any successful coach, and I am interested in how a coaching blog might help students meet this learning objective.
  4. Coaching Education
  5. Program Evaluation
  6. Exercise Psychology
    1. Theory of Planned Behavior – I believe that the theory of planned behavior provides the strongest framework for exercise behavior studies, because it incorporates a range of variables that account for a person’s own cognitions and beliefs, while simultaneously accounting for the effects of the environment, and finally, the strength of habit.  I believe that research using this theory can help us to custom tailor exercise interventions based on a person’s beliefs, environmental influences, and habits.
  7. Qualitative Research Methods

Research Philosophy

  • Constructivism forms the basis of my research philosophy.
  • I believe that human cognition and understanding of life events has equal value with observed human behaviors.  Research must always explore the tenuous link between a person’s attitudes, and how those attitudes actually shape his or her behavior.

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