Online Program

Lessons learned while planning and implementing a group research project designed to assess changes in physical activity behavior as a result of a newly constructed multi use trail

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sheryl Chatfield, M.S., CTRS, Department of HESRM, The University of Mississippi, University, MS
Elizabeth Mumaw, M.S., Department of HESRM, The University of Mississippi, University, MS
T Davis, MS, Health Promotion, The University of Mississippi, University, MS
Issue: Built environment research focusing on walking trails in the US and elsewhere has primarily examined economic impact or current use patterns, but no research published to date has assessed potential changes in physical activity patterns before and after availability of a trail. Description: Students in a doctoral seminar at a public university in the southeastern US decided to take advantage of the opportunity to survey residents in three rural communities during the months before a 43 mile converted rails-to-trail project was scheduled to open. Analysis of baseline data collected will be presented although the focus of this presentation is on lessons learned in planning and implementing a student research project. Challenges confronted include allocation of tasks, keeping track of decisions, rationale for decisions, study design, data collection, data recording, data entry, participant recruitment, writing up results, and group member access to information. Lessons learned: Use of multiple pretests and a nonequivalent dependent variable were identified as methods to improve a no control group pretest and posttest design. In addition, we refined surveyor training and standardized our practices for data collection, data entry, and general information sharing. Task allocation issues were managed through minimizing assignment of tasks to some individuals within the group. Recommendations: Surveyor guidelines were established for posttest data collection which will occur throughout 2013 and hopefully will be continued by future graduate students. A shared “Dropbox” folder was created to house information related to the project.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify two challenges to quality control to consider when planning a group research project Identify two benefits associated with student group research projects

Keyword(s): Research, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed all coursework and successfully passed comprehensive exams toward a Ph.D. in health and kinesiology with emphasis area health behavior. My supporting coursework was completed in research methods courses. My primary research interest is facilitation of lifelong physical activity through community-based interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.