Sports Participation and Character Development Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Sports Participation And

Character Development

sports participation


Opening statement

Summary of the literature framing history of the project, using 5 articles related to the problem

Gaps and/or deficiencies in prior research

Importance of present study

Why the study should be pursued

For whom is it important

Purpose of the statement

Research design (experimental, quasi-experimental, or non-experimental)

Theory tested or described

Intent (describe, compare, relate)

Variables (independent, dependent, controlling, intervening)

Research question(s) and hypotheses

Does sport build character?

Can sports participation result in positive character development?

Can the sport environment be modified or controlled?

Null and alternative hypotheses for each research question, including how each of the variables will be operationalized

F. Nature of the study

a. Design

Paradigm (quantitative)

Design 1. Experimental, quasi-experimental, or pre/non-experimental

2. Specific design (e.g., pre-post test control group, time-series, etc.

See Campbell & Stanley 1963.)

iii. Rationale for the design

b. Methodology

i. Population= ADOLESCENTS

1. Definition

2. Size, if known, or approximate/estimated size

ii. Sampling 1. Type of sampling

2. How the sample will be drawn

3. Sample size and why chosen in relation to population size iii. Instrumentation and materials

1. Identify instrument

2. Establish reliability

3. Establish validity

iv. Data analysis plan: indicate what analytical tools will be applied to each set of data collected.

c. Limitations

i. Potential design and/or methodological weaknesses of the study

ii. Explain how the weaknesses will be addressed iii. Threats to validity and how they will be potentially addressed in the study

d. Ethical Concerns

i. Describe your proposed procedure for providing informed consent and any ethical concerns you may need to address.

G. Significance of the study

a. Practical contributions of the study

b. For whom the study is important

c. Implications for social change


"Sports do not build character.

They reveal it"

- John Wooden (2011, ¶1).

Opening Statement

Many parents reportedly prefer to believe and expect coaches to support the expectation that participation in sports will teach and equip participating individuals to display positive character traits like integrity, respect, responsibility, self-control, self-discipline, and good sportsmanship. Little contemporary evidence, albeit, supports this lofty claim, leading some to challenge the long held contention that sports build character. In the article, "Do sports build or reveal character - an exploratory study at one service academy," Joseph Doty and Angela Lumpkin (2010) argue: "Rather, there is evidence that sports do not build character . . . " (Review of Literature Section ¶ 8). During the paper focusing on sports participation and character development, the researcher develops and depicts an understanding about the relationships between research questions and hypotheses, research design, and statistical tests; primarily considering the design and methodology of the quantitative research proposed.

Background of the study

People look for leaders to reveal positive character traits in their personal and professional lives. They also look for character strengths in their work colleagues as well as in their children, siblings, brothers and sisters, and friends. In the report, "Building strengths of character: Keys to positive youth development: Character strengths are foundations of positive youth development and thriving . . . ., " Nansook Park (2009) stresses: "Character matters. Good character is central to individual and societal well-being. . . . Good character is not simply the absence of deficits, problems, and pathology, but rather a well-developed family of positive traits" (¶ 1). Simply stating that a person does or does not have good character; however, does not lead to meaningful points. Character evidently mattered to John Wooden, formerly one of basketball's most successful coaches (U.C.L.A.), who earned the nickname the Wizard of Westwood. Throughout his life, Wooden carried a message that reveals his understanding of character. His father had handwritten the following on piece of paper:

"Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day. Pray for guidance, count and give thanks for your blessings every day." (Litsky & Branch, 2010, p. 1)

When young and playing for U.C.L.A., Marques Johnson said he did not appreciate Wooden's character or the life lessons his coach tried to pass on to him and the other players. "I didn't want to hear anything about principles and living a life of integrity at that time. But as you get older, and . . . have kids, and you try to pass on life lessons, now it becomes a great learning tool" (Litsky & Branch, 2010, p. 3). As the quote introducing the paper notes, Wooden argued that sports reveal the individual's character; they do not build it. As a coach, Wooden tried to build the character of the young men who played on his team. Character, reportedly a universal phenomenon, depicts a trait of individuals with the conviction as well as the courage to live by moral virtues. Unethical behavior depicts the antithesis of character which embodies a person doing what is right. During the journal article, "Teachers as Role Models Teaching Character and Moral Virtues: Teachers Are Role Models-But What Are They Modeling?," Angela Lumpkin (2008), Professor in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences; University of Kansas, explains that a person with character, also known as integrity, possesses "the wisdom to know right from wrong; is honest, trustworthy, fair, respectful, and responsible; admits and learns from mistakes; and commits to living according to these principles" (¶ 4). Lumpkin asserts it expedient that teachers serve as role models who also teach character and moral virtues; that as teachers teach students how to reason morally, the practice simultaneously helps teachers better model the way for students to live a life of character founded on ethical qualities. Previous research regarding the development of character in physical education has demonstrated:

. . . [T]he organized physical activity context is ripe for positive moral growth. Furthermore, evidence indicates that unless character development is directly addressed, the moral maturation process will not likely occur. Therefore, the physical educator has the responsibility and opportunity to create situations that will enhance the character development of children in their care. (Solomon, cited in Lumpkin, 2008, ¶ 13)

Character development and competitive sports experiences comprise critical components of students' lives, particularly at the service academies. Consequently, coaches need to educate players about as well as reinforce their moral values and ethical behaviors. Doty and Lumpkin (2010) also recommend that: "Sport administrators and service academy leaders should hold coaches accountable for the behavior of athletes. Perhaps[,] language can be added to a coach's contract to address athletes' behaviors" (Doty & Lumpkin, Conclusion Section, ¶ 5). Team members can benefit from the coach using teachable moments in sports. When one athlete displays unsportsmanlike behavior, for example, the coach can discuss, explain, model, and reinforce the meaning of respect and integrity and behaviors that leaders of character possess and exhibit. Neglecting to emphasize and encourage the development and display of ethical behaviors in a sport setting will continue to contribute to current concerns relating to the development of the sport player's character. Not developing character of young people through sports, as in any other opportunities for youth, will, in turn, negate and/or hinder values that future citizens need to contribute to and become a part of a productive and nurturing society.

At the start of the 21st century, researchers advocated for two distinct forms of character traits. In the study, Which character should sport develop?, Andy Rudd (2005) explains: Many coaches, sport administrators and parents "define character with values such as teamwork, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and perseverance, which may be considered 'social character'. Sport scholars, on the other hand, tend to define moral character with values such as honesty, fairness, responsibility, respect, and compassion" (Conclusion Section, ¶1). These traits lead the one who possesses them to diverse sport experiences. Some overlap exists; however, consequently confusion and disagreement cloud the understanding regarding what specifically formulates desirable traits or character in sport. Rudd explains the differences between the two "camps" regarding character:

The first camp consists of coaches, administrators, and players who may typically define character with social values such as teamwork, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and perseverance. This could be designated as "social character." The second camp consists of sport scholars, and people of earlier generations still alive, who typically define character with moral values such as honesty, fairness, responsibility, compassion, and respect. This is commonly referred to by many of them as "moral character." The existence of these two camps, each with their respective definitions of character, suggests that there is confusion and disagreement concerning the definition of character in sport. (Rudd, 2005, Introduction Section, ¶ 5)

Some, albeit, may vacillate between the two camps regarding character and accept an overlapping, perhaps contradictory set of values to describe the term "character." As the research addresses the crisis that currently exists in the realm of encouraging ongoing character development in youth participating in sports, of whether adolescents develop positive character within a controlled or modified environment, the researcher vacillates between…

Sources Used in Document:


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Duffy, M. & Chenail, R.J.. (2008). Values in qualitative and quantitative research. Counseling and Values. American Counseling Association. Retrieved February 10, 2011 from HighBeam Research:

Ellis, T.J. & Levy, Y. (2008).Framework of problem-research: A guide for novice researchers on the development of a research-worthy problem. Informing Science: the International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline. Informing Science Institute. Retrieved February 09, 2011 from HighBeam Research: 199195049.html

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