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EXSC 200: Introductory Research Methods: Concept Mapping

From Topic to Search Terms

Let's say you're interested in learning even more about HIIT. That's a great starting point for a research topic! But what about that topic are you interested in? How are you going to turn a vague, broad research topic into a research question? What kind of scholarly sources can you turn to in order to start doing academic research into the topic.

Topic selection is key to successful research! You want a topic that:

  • is interesting to YOU
  • is relevant to the field of exercise science
  • can be turned into an answerable question

Having trouble coming up with a topic? Think about your personal experience or of people you know: any injuries or experience with training for sport?  Or review the table of contents of a recent journal in the field to see what topics are being written about. Here's a few to get you started:

  • British Journal of Sports Medicine (use the 'all issues' list on the right to browse) 
  • European Journal of Sport Science (use the 'all issues' list on the right to browse for a recent issue)
  • Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (click 'view it', then the 'Journals@Ovid' link, then browse the Journal Issue List along the lefthand side. Note that UPS full text access goes back to 1996.) NOTE: there is a limit on how many simultaneous users can access this journal...you may get a message saying that access is full and you'll need to try again later.)

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When comping up with your own topic, start with your line of inquiry, whether it's focused on a a population, a bodily system, an injury, a type of rehabilitation, an element of biomechanics, etc.  Take 5 minutes and brainstorm aspects of that topic that interest, confuse, or intrigue you. Ask yourself: How does this work? Who does it affect? How can it be measured? What are the methods for studying it? What are possible outcomes? What is already known? What is unknown?   

Creating a map of these subtopics will help you flesh out your topic, and help you identify search terms that you can use to narrow down your search results. Keep in mind that this map may include as many questions as it does ideas...after all, you haven't researched your topic yet! Also remember that you are not expected to address all of the subtopics in your work, nor would it be wise for you to try. You will likely focus on just one or two areas of your map for your final research. 

Exercise Science Journals

If you're interested in searching directly in a specific journal, you can copy and paste the name of that journal, and search for it in Primo to find out what coverage we have available through our library: http://primo.pugetsound.edu/ 

Exercise Physiology

  • Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism
  • European Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Exercise and Sport Science Reviews
  • International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
  • Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
  • Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
  • Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise
  • Pediatric Exercise Science

Sport Psychology

  • Journal of Sport and Social Issues
  • International Journal of Sport Psychology
  • Journal of Experimental Psychology – Human Perception and Performance
  • Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Journal of Applied Sport Psychology
  • Psychology of Sport and Exercise
  • Sport Psychologist

Strength & Conditioning

  • The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
  • Journal of Sport Medicine and Physical Fitness
  • Strength and Conditioning Journal
  • ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal

Biomechanics

  • Journal of Biomechanics
  • Clinical Biomechanics
  • Gait & Posture
  • Isokinetics and Exercise Science
  • Journal of Sport Biomechanics
  • Journal of Applied Biomechanics
  • Human Movement Science

Sport Medicine

  • Journal of Athletic Training
  • Journal of Sport Physical Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • American Journal of Sport Medicine
  • British Journal of Sport Medicine
  • Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine
  • International Journal of Sport Medicine

Health Promotion

  • American Journal of Health Education
  • American Journal of Health Promotion
  • American Journal of Public Health
  • Health Education & Behavior
  • Health Education Research – Theory and Practice
  • Health Promotion Practice
  • International Journal of Health Promotion and Education
  • Journal of American College Health
  • Journal of Community Health
  • Journal of Health Communication
  • Journal of School Health

Physical Education

  • Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
  • American Educational Research Journal
  • Journal of Teaching Physical Education
  • Sport Education and Society
  • Teaching and Teacher Education
  • Child Development

Sport Leadership

  • Journal of Intercollegiate Sports
  • Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Journal of Philosophy of Sport
  • Journal of Sport and Exercise Science
  • Journal of Sport Management
  • Sociology of Sport Journal

Jamboard

Jamboard is a Google product that you can log into with a personal or Puget Sound account at https://jamboard.google.com/. It works sort of like a virtual whiteboard. You can upload photos, or use the 'post it note' feature to make notes. 

Concept Mapping

Concept maps are a tool to help you:

  • explore your topic;
  • discover possible lines of inquiry;
  • consider search terms;
  • brainstorm resources to investigate.

Ask yourself: what do I already know about my topic? what am I curious about? what kind of data do I need, and where am I likely to find that data? Creating a map of these subtopics that will help you flesh out your topic. Keep in mind that this map may include as many questions as it does ideas...after all, you haven't researched your topic yet! Also remember that you are not expected to address all of the subtopics in your work, nor would it be wise for you to try. You will likely focus on just one or two areas of your map for your final research. 

The process is simple: start with your big, broad topic in the middle of your page. It can be a population, a bodily system, an injury, a type of rehabilitation, an element of biomechanics, etc.  

  • Take 5 minutes and brainstorm aspects of that topic that interest, confuse, or intrigue you. Ask yourself:
    • How does this work? 
    • Who does it affect?
    • How can it be measured or studied? 
    • What is already known? What is unknown?   
  • In the space around the central concept, make notes of words or phrases that answer the above questions
  • Continue to fill out your branches with ideas or questions about your topic, or about the types of resources you may wish to start with. 

 

Need Help?

 Stuck? Need Help? Don't hesitate to contact Eli!

Eli Gandour-Rood, Science Librarian
egandourrood@pugetsound.edu

tel: (253) 879-3678

Click Here to Schedule an Appointment!