Independent project – Sports Coaching

The module comprises two pieces of work: (i) an Independent Project (8000 12000 words); and (ii) a Public Engagement Report (2000 words). The following information provides guidance on what might be included within the Independent Project itself.
The sub-headings listed below are those around which you should structure your final project. Please note that the suggested word length allocated to each section is presented merely as a rough guide.
Title Page and Declaration
The University issues a standard Title Page and Declaration Statement to students. Examples of both can be found in Appendix A (Title Page) and Appendix B (Declaration Statement). Please ensure that the format presented in these Appendices is followed.
This is where you should acknowledge the assistance of others in conducting your research. This may include your supervisors. Providing it does not conflict with any data agreement contract or compromise anonymity, you should name any institutions or organisations that have facilitated and/or funded your research.
This should comprise a comprehensive list of the different sections of the Independent Project with appropriate page numbers. An example is provided in Appendix C.
Abstract (250 words)
This section should provide a brief overview of your study’s aims, theoretical location, methodology, main findings and conclusions. It should inform the reader why you conducted the study, what you did and what you found. It should not be longer than 250 words (one side of A4).
Introduction (800 – 1200 words)
The Introduction to the Independent Project should aim to acquaint the reader with the purpose of your study, embed it within the key concepts and academic literature that will inform the study, and clearly communicate the study’s rationale. The Introduction should end with an explicit expression of your hypotheses or research questions.
Literature Review (2000 – 3000 words)
The literature review section should present an overview of existing research in the area under consideration. There should be a clear explanation of the key arguments within this literature. Importantly, the review should provide a logical argument towards the generation of your research study idea, and the ‘gap’ in the literature that your study will attempt to contribute towards. It is important to include both historically significant and up-to- date references/citations.
Methodology/methods (1500 – 2000 words)
The presentation of the Methodology chapter will be determined by your specific research design. Therefore, it is recommended that you discuss this in detail you’re your Supervisor, so that the Methodology is presented in a manner/format that is appropriate to your paradigm and accompanying philosophical assumptions.
However, typically you should include: (i) a description of the philosophical assumptions that underpin your study (paradigm, ontology, and epistemology); (ii) a section on ethical issues where you should describe the steps you took to ensure that you met the relevant ethical principles (you are advised to consult the University’s Research Ethics Handbook and/or other relevant professional guidelines when constructing this section); (iii) a description of your participants, i.e., the number of participants approached and the number who agreed to participate etc., the sampling procedure used (and why), relevant demographic information about the participants (e.g., their gender, age and ethnicity); (iv) a statement and justification for your chosen data collection methods, i.e., a description of the nature of the data you sampled and how the data were collected etc., and (v) a brief data analysis section describing the development of your indexing and coding strategy/practices.
Please also provide information concerning questionnaires, interview schedules, information sheets and consent forms and other documents that you used. If you are describing questionnaires, please make sure that you cite their authors and that you document their reliability and validity and previous use, if any, with the population you sampled. You may want to provide an example of the type of question used. You should also describe the scoring of the questionnaire and it is helpful to state what a high score on the questionnaire means. It is helpful to include response rate as a percentage. In support of this section, relevant materials should be included in the appendices and referred to, i.e., a copy of the questionnaire itself.
Results/Discussion (2500 – 3500 words)
In qualitative (or mixed method) research you may wish to combine both the Results and the Discussion sections and/or to write up your findings via ‘themed’ chapters. Themed discussion should be described and presented alongside illustrative quotations (transcript extracts) from your participants. All themes should be interpreted in relation to the academic literature that you have already reviewed. Make sure in this section that you avoid revealing your participants’ identities, using instead pseudonyms.
In quantitative research you should keep the Results and Discussion sections separate. At the start in one or two sentences tell the reader what the structure of the Results section will be. You might, for example, want to structure it around each hypothesis, or you may wish to present descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations or medians and ranges) first, followed by inferential statistics (logistic regression, MANOVA etc.). It is up to you (in consultation with your Supervisor) to decide which ordering makes the most sense.
You can include tables and figures where necessary but avoid presenting information in the text and in a table, or in a table and in a figure. Tables should be clearly and accurately formatted according to conventions relevant to your disciplinary area. Titles for tables should precede the table whereas titles for figures should follow the figure. If you do present a table or figure, remember to interpret its contents. When reporting inferential statistics, first report how you tested the assumptions of the statistical test used. Once you have demonstrated to the reader that your data met the relevant assumptions you can then report the statistics themselves. In reporting your statistical output, you are recommended to follow the standard notations reported in relevant text books. You should report both significant and non- significant results. Make sure that all of your data as reported is relevant, so avoid reproducing tables of SPSS output. SPSS often reports superfluous output therefore only include in tables what is relevant.
In the quantitative Discussion section you should interpret the findings from your analyses in relation to the academic literature that you have already reviewed. Therefore, you can state if a finding is significant or not in your results section but it is in the discussion that you compare your findings to those of past researchers. Where your research converges from previous research try to explain why this might be. Similarly, if you did not find what you expected you need to consider why this might be. Take care not to over-interpret what you have found (i.e. claim to have found more than you have, remember to be tentative). Remember to relate your findings to practice in the real world. Towards the end of the discussion section you should highlight the more salient limitations of your study showing that you are aware of its limitations and what this means for interpreting your findings. At the end of the discussion you should also suggest avenues for future research. These should not just relate to replication with a larger sample, but should be informed by your consideration of the study’s limitations and how it relates to past research – so you might find it useful here to reflect on the elements of your conclusions about which you were most tentative and consider what further research might look like.
Conclusion (1200 – 2000 words)
In the final section, you need to write a formal conclusion to the study. This should summarise the main findings of your research and utilize these findings to outline the implications of your research (for practice, for theoretical perspectives and/or for future research).
Reference List/Bibliography
Your bibliography should be formatted according to APA 6. List all of (and only) the academic readings which you have used in the project.
Appendices, whilst adding value, should be kept to a minimum and only include information that a reader would need to make sense of your manuscript e.g., ethical approval form; an information sheet and/or informed consent form; a list of interview questions; a questionnaire; an interview schedule (time/dates/locations of interviews).
Your Independent Project should be submitted electronically to Moodle. There is no requirement to submit hard copies of your project. The project must be typed/word-processed in A4 portrait format, the typing of textual material should have margins of 25mm on all sides except for the left-hand side. On the left- hand side the margin should be 40mm wide to allow for comments and feedback.
Select a simple typeface (Arial font size 12, the present typeface, is recommended for the main body of the text).
Double or one-and-a-half spacing should be used in the typescript except for indented quotations or footnotes where single spacing may be used.
The name of the candidate, the year of submission, and the title of the assignment should appear on the front cover.
Pages of all assignments should be numbered consecutively. You should follow APA 6th Edition guidelines for the formatting of the written assignments.
Advances in software capabilities make it possible to produce documents of high production quality. However, a visually striking presentation cannot make up for weaknesses in content. An independent project is a serious and scholarly pursuit, and resulting assignments should reflect this. Normally, the text itself should be in black and white.

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