Adapted physical educators perceptions of educational research

Takeaways: This article highlights the disconnect many adapted physical educators feel regarding research and demonstrates the need of researchers to make the dissemination process more accessible.
Cite as: McNamara, S. W. T., Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., Weiner, B., & Ahrens, C. (2020). Adapted physical educators perceptions of educational research. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. Advance Online Publication. DOI: 10.1080/02701367.2020.1732858



Educational research often provides insight into the potential best practices to use within the classroom setting. Yet, limited information is available on teachers’ perspectives toward research in the field of adapted physical education (APE). The current study examined adapted physical educators’ perceptions toward research.


Sixty general physical education and APE associations within the United State of America were emailed a survey adapted from the National Center for Research Policy and Practice.


One hundred twenty-four adapted physical educators were included within the study. Spearmen correlations and frequency counts of open-ended responses were used to analyze the data. Overall, findings indicated that a majority of participants had conducted research, with most participants mentioning it helped them learn more about a particular issue they were facing. Adapted physical educators reported a high rate of engagement with research and that research has a positive impact on important issues, such as behavior management and advocating for students with disabilities. Although positive overall perceptions toward educational research were reported, several items that related to the usefulness and accessibility of research were ranked quite low. In addition, it was found that higher levels of education and years of experience were correlated with lower perceptions toward the validity and usefulness of research.


This study highlights the important role research plays in the practice of adapted physical educators; however, researchers need to present their research findings in a more practical way for teachers to translate to their own situations.


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