Breaking silos : interdisciplinary research in kinesiology Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/jq085n95f

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  • With the growing popularity of kinesiology at the undergraduate level, one would expect the field to be influential. Kinesiology, however, appears to be in a paradox. The undergraduate popularity is not reflected in the rest of academia, or even the general public, many of whom feel kinesiology is not a legitimate field. Part of kinesiology’s problems may be due to the continued fragmentation among the sub-disciplines. Many prominent kinesiologists have proposed interdisciplinary research (IDR) as a viable path to the field’s re-unification. Despite all of the discourse about this, however, the field appears to be stuck. The overall objective of this dissertation was to nudge the conversation forward by exploring IDR in kinesiology. This dissertation attempted to close this knowledge gap by summarizing the body of literature on IDR, outline trends, purpose a model for IDR, describe incentives and limitations, and identify areas for further investigation within the field of kinesiology (and possibly broader academic community). This was accomplished by using a mixed-methods approach, consisting of two separate but related studies. The first empirical study provided a quantitative descriptive review of IDR in kinesiology and purposed a prediction model. A stratified-random sample of journal articles (n = 552) were selected from kinesiology-focused journals (n = 10) from the years 2008 to 2012. Articles were coded on a variety variables characterizing the authors and the nature of the research. Authors were primarily publishing disciplinary research (78.8%) versus IDR (21.2%). The majority of research was biophysical (67.2%), quantitative (94.5%), and funded (52.7%). Authors from kinesiology departments published just over half the journal articles (57.4%). There was little significant change in the authors or research variables across time. The prediction model for IDR selected by the step-wise regression (R² = 0.52, p < 0.001) had three predictor variables: behavior epidemiology framework, theoretical framework, and disciplinary focus. However, despite increased demand for IDR and kinesiology’s inherent multidisciplinary nature, disciplinary research prevails in the field. The second empirical study explored kinesiologists' perception of IDR, including perceived benefits and limitations. Themes were uncovered using a qualitative, open- coding protocol. The overarching themes were Benefits (i.e., the positive aspects to conducting IDR) and Limitations (i.e., the challenges to conducting IDR), each with eight sub-themes. The most prominent sub-themes for Benefits were New Perspectives, Better Results, and Collaboration Potential. The most prominent sub-themes for Limitations were Collaboration Problems, Challenging Methodology, and Limiting Results and Analysis. Overall, all participants felt IDR was valuable to the field, but each had legitimate reservations, creating a somewhat contradictory environment that causes tension between the perceived benefits and limitations. Until the tension can be resolved, IDR may continue to remain on the fringes of kinesiology research.
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