23things, Uncategorized, writing

Thing 13: Getting the cogs to mesh


Thing 13 is about writing a discussion section. This is the part where you try to line up your arguments from the introduction with your results, hopefully without any grinding of gears…

I’ve been struggling with this paper no end recently, I know what I want to say it but how I say it is proving tricky. One reason is that this study was fairly exploratory, but I found something which is in line with a previous study and I want to go in-depth on this particular bit. But most papers are written as ‘we set out to look at X and here are our results’. Whereas I am more along the lines of ‘I set out to look at the alphabet and I found that X was important’, yet most of the background needs to be about X. So that either requires fuzziness over what you were looking for, misleading your reader (‘I wanted to look at X’ or ‘I thought X might be important’) or otherwise doing some writing contortions around the alphabet and the role of X so that the reader isn’t left puzzled by why you are talking about X. Most qualitative papers are not that helpful here, because they are much broader and are just looking at the alphabet, so I haven’t found an example to copy.

On a positive note, I have found some excellent papers about how to write qualitative papers. This one is about how to write up a qualitative study (or proposal) for a non-qualitative audience. It’s incredibly useful! This paper is also useful for thinking about a few different structures for qualitative papers, and is worth reading. I have loads of books on qualitative research, but they tend to be more how to do the research rather than how to write it up, so these papers have been most helpful. Qualitative research is difficult to do and very difficult to write up, which I think is evidenced by how hard it is to find a well written paper which is easy to read and not full of jargon. I think the first paper in particular ought to be compulsory reading…

Anyway, I am going off topic here. Back to Thing 13:

‘Choose one of your four articles, and consider the following aspects of its Discussion section:

  1. Do you think it is cautious, confident or neutral in its tone? What is it about the language used that makes you think this?
  2. Does it explicitly state the study’s contribution to the field? If so, what phrases are used to do this?’

1. Hmmm, let me see. I think cautious to neutral. Qualitative research is Not Keen on talking about Universal Truths, so being too confident in a qualitative paper would be out of place in the field. However, I did think that the caution was more over the theories and ideas already existing in the literature, rather than the findings of the study. The authors talk about ‘proposed’ theories and the ‘literature suggesting’, but then weren’t too overly hedgy when discussing their evidence, e.g.

‘our findings suggest’

‘Our findings also revealed that’

‘Our interview findings provide evidence that’

2. Contribution to the field: this paper actually includes something along these lines throughout each sub-section of the discussion, e.g.

‘provides a novel and original contribution to our understanding of this process within the exercise context’

‘A novel finding from the present work that extends the concept of’

‘These findings lend new evidence to support the proposal that’

I like the way this paper does this, it doesn’t come across as too boastful or too defensive about the use of qualitative methods (which I think many qualitative papers suffer from), but gently points out at regular intervals that there is a contribution being made to the field in many different ways. I think I will adopt this tactic in my paper 🙂

23things, research, Uncategorized, writing

Thing 12: no, the 23 things have not been shelved (despite appearances to the contrary)


This is actually what my PhD looks like right now in my mind. Maybe not quite so tidy though…

I’ve been up to my armpits in writing and submitting abstracts recently, and combined with teaching and all the life clutter currently going on in my world, I’ve put the Things on the back burner. But I have a little window now so I can focus on this for a bit. Firing up the forklift to retrieve it from its spot in the warehouse…

Sooo, where were we? Story arcs and flow, OK. Actually, one of the many reasons why I dropped the 23 things for a bit was that I knew I had a bit of a theoretical hole in my story. I knew the background literature for this particular hole must exist, but I could not for the life of me find it! And then something popped up from nowhere and led me to a paper which led me to another paper and then lo! There were a bunch of great papers which were just what I needed to plug the gap in my story *does happy dance*.

Thing 12 looks at how to build an argument through the paragraphs. First, you need to be clear about the particular story you’re trying to tell. I think I have this bit sorted, now I’ve found my gap, and I’ve made a list of important points which I think I need to weave into the introduction. I usually use mind maps to do this sort of stuff, as sometimes a big sheet of paper and some pens are the best way for me to literally connect the dots. You can see which bits are missing and which points need some more meat on the bones when you stick things in bubbles and draw arrows between them. I think this is even more important for qualitative work, when you have a mountain of data and you could tell a thousand stories about it. It’s much easier when you’ve done a quantitative study!

There are some useful links and guidance here for linking paragraphs using key words and transitions, I think I’ll bookmark these for when I have my argument completely sorted out and want some ideas on how to do this. The writing for this Thing is to look at my example paper and make some observations about key words. Initially, I thought maybe the structure of the introduction was not that logically clear, but on looking more closely there are plenty of key words used and the transitions are ok. The main culprit getting in the way of clarity here is the use of enormously long sentences. Stick 5 or 6 references in there as well as long sentences, and even the most assiduous reader will lose the will to read! In physical activity there is something called ‘the talk test‘, where you use talking as a measure for the intensity of an activity. During moderate intensity activity, you can talk but not sing. During vigorous intensity activity, you can’t say more than a few words  without needing a pause to take a breath. Using too many long sentences is the written equivalent of making people run too fast for too long: it’s not pleasant, and you’ll want it to stop…Related to this is a fascinating piece by Peter Elbow (a very good writing educator) on why it’s important to read your work aloud. I loved the way he talks about ‘word music’, and he’s talking about all writing, not just fiction or poetry. I don’t think he finds academic writing particularly poetic, somehow.




23things, research, Uncategorized, writing

Thing 11: in which I abandon rhyming titles as the only thing which rhymes with eleven is…

Completely gratuitous minion meme


OK, Thing 11. Bring it.

Oh. Paragraphs. Yawn.

It might be difficult to get excited about paragraphs, but analysing them is a lot less scary than looking at sentences, as there is a lot less jargon. Plus you can kind of see the point of paragraphs because there is nothing more intimidating than looking at huge swathes of text. Endless vast tracts of words unbroken by paragraph breaks, and you’re just thinking ‘I really don’t want to read this stuff, it looks A Bit Much’ and then you also think that if someone hasn’t used many paragraphs then chances are they are a bit rambly and should probably get to the point already, probably delete a few sentences or twenty, and take the needs of the reader into account. So this is just a short list of reasons why you probably shouldn’t just bung lots of sentences together without considering the impact on the reader and the flow of the writing and the argument and…

But too short a paragraph makes things seem bitty.

It’s also hard on the eye to flit about too much with very short paragraphs.

And how are you supposed to build an argument with such short paragraphs?  There needs to be a happy medium, particularly in an academic context where building and supporting the argument is everything.

Yeah, I made my point, badly. It must be time for another meme. Will academic papers of the future use memes? Cos that would be cool.

OK, I got carried away with the memes. I promise to stop. Probably.


Right then, what am I supposed to be doing here, oh 23 Things Oracle?

‘Take one paragraph from one of the journal articles you’ve chosen, and have a go at analysing the purpose of each sentence in the paragraph. Do you think the paragraph is as concise as it could be, or could you improve it? Write your views on the paragraph in your blog.’

I looked at the qualitative paper I’ve used as a model so far, and eeeek! Some of the paragraphs are huuuuuuuuugely long. Although the paper is generally well structured using headings to signpost different theoretical areas and different themes in the results, this clarity does not extend to paragraph length. Yes, you need to contain your ideas in paragraphs, but it’s extremely difficult to keep your focus if the paragraph takes up more than half a column. Your brain gets twitchy and starts to wander when it sees a long paragraph (or is that just me?)

My example paragraph is structured as:

  1. Acknowledgement of an issue in dichotomizing participants
  2. Reason why this might be an issue
  3. How this limited further exploration of the concept
  4. An alternative sampling strategy
  5. What this could offer to a study
  6. I dunno, what does this sentence even mean? Losing the will to live here…
  7. Other factors involved in exercise experiences blah blah context
  8. Unrelated sentence giving a limitation which I don’t even think is a valid limitation, which could have been better defended or given a reference


The paragraph I chose is 8 sentences long, which doesn’t seem too bad until you look at the sentences and realise that most of these are also extremely long. One of them contains 60 words! Combined with some complex ideas and a certain woolliness in wording (‘this would allow one to examine’ springs out as an example), and this paragraph needs a damn good edit. Frankly, a 60 word sentence is a crime against writing. It’s particularly interesting that this paragraph is the muddiest of the paper when you consider that it’s evaluating the weaknesses of the study. The psychologist in me wonders if this is precisely why it’s the muddiest? Perhaps the authors didn’t want to be all boasty-boasty? Or perhaps this is the part when all the authors weighed in with their own ideas, or Reviewer 2 made an annoying suggestion and the authors gave up the fight. Anyway, it’s a bit painful to read whatever the cause.

Well, if ever you needed a meme to express something, this would be the time

And the final bit I need to do in this blog:

‘Looking at the results you wrote in Thing 10; are your paragraphs as concise as they could be?’

I’m thinking probably not. Let me see what stuff I wrote:

‘Affective responses to exercise predict future exercise behaviour. The better people feel during exercise, the more likely they are to continue (Rhodes and Kates, 2015). Given this, how can we help people to feel better during exercise?

 Qualitative research on affective responses to exercise is scarce, yet more is needed to understand what factors are influential, and how these can be altered to improve affective responses to exercise. Knowing quantitatively how people are feeling does not tell us anything about the context of these feelings, or pinpoint areas for improvement. Qualitative research on affect during exercise is even more scarce. Rose and Parfitt (2010) provide a rare exception: they asked high and low active women to talk aloud during a laboratory exercise bout about how they were feeling, and why they were feeling that way. Some of the themes they found have obvious practical applications, such as directing attentional focus during exercise to reduce discomfort, or interpreting physiological information positively rather than negatively.

Most research on affect during exercise is lab-based. There is evidence, however, that affective responses to exercise in laboratories differ from those in everyday environments (Dasilva et al., 2011). This makes intuitive sense — running on a treadmill is a very different experience from running alongside a river — but there is no qualitative research on affective responses to exercise in such everyday environments. This study aimed to fill this gap.’

Paragraph 1 is probably a bit too short. But I wanted to set the scene in a very quick way, and hopefully this accomplishes this aim. Plus I stole it from several abstracts I’ve done, and abstracts are highly condensed 🙂 The first two sentences propose one reason why people continue to exercise. The first sentence is perhaps not that clear, as I don’t define ‘affective responses’, so I could put ‘Affective responses (how people feel)’ to clarify this part, though it’s a bit clumsy. This is why I use sentence 2 to say exactly what the research basis is for looking at affective responses. The third sentence is a bit non-academic-y, but hey ho, it’s what the substance of my research area is. I really don’t want to stick ‘ameliorate’ in there just for the hell of it…

Paragraph 2: I’d probably rejig the first two sentences, maybe popping in something in the first sentence about how there’s plenty of quantitative research in this area but not much qualitative stuff. Also, thinking about it, my first and third sentences don’t make much sense because I haven’t previously mentioned the during part as being crucial (rather than the responses afterwards, which seem to be useless). So I should probably stick this in the first paragraph. Then say why we need qualitative research (it might be scarce because it’s just not very interesting or useful), I should beef up this section. I think the final 2 sentences are OK actually, as they give a concrete example of some qualitative research and show how it’s useful.

Paragraph 3 starts OK, though I could emphasise the lack of ecological validity of much of the lab-based research by mentioning that not only are participants on a treadmill or bike, but they are also usually wired up to heart-rate monitors, and sometimes with gas masks over their faces to collect the gases they breathe out. Yeah, not exactly your everyday exercise experience, is it? I quite like the example I give of the treadmill versus the river, but again I need to emphasise the during part, as it’s missed out here. Also, there is some qualitative research on exercise experience outdoors, but it tends to be bitty, autoethnographic stuff, or social geography, or from other disparate research areas. I probably ought to emphasise the particular perspective I’m coming from here.

I should probably rewrite those paragraphs now, but to be honest, I can’t be bothered. Now, there are bound to be stacks of memes I could use here 🙂




23things, research, Uncategorized, writing

Thing 10, Begin Again


Well, sorry to the 23 Things cohort for going off radar for a while there: I was travelling in Europe for a couple of weeks and a lot of the time I had NO internet access. Yes, such a thing is possible, who knew? In Germany my phone pretty much had no signal good enough for data, and the campsite we were staying in didn’t have wifi. It was quite blissful actually 🙂

My younger son and I had the BEST road trip: we drove to Luxembourg and stayed a few days there (it’s lovely, we want to go back), then we drove to the Moselle valley and stayed there before driving ALLLLLLL the way across France (it’s a big place!), picking up my husband and older son and spending 4 days in Cahors, 2 in Le Mans and then back home. The photo above is of the Moselle valley. Beautiful! It was a fantastic way to spend the dregs of summer: we walked and did a few touristy things, watched the rivers go past (all 3 of them!), I made pancakes for my son and I, I tasted and bought wine, I ran up lots of hills and along rivers, we hired bikes and pedalled along the river, we read a bit, I did some stats and a bit of other PhD stuff, we watched Tom and Jerry DVDs, we swam in the cold pool in hot Cahors, and I slept loads. I really love camping, I would happily live outdoors if we didn’t have this pesky thing called winter!

And now it’s back to school and uni and all that shizzle…

*sound of gears crunching as brain tries to re-engage*

I really have no idea where I’m up to with the 23 things. According to my last blog, I should be on Thing 10. I looked at the blog and saw lots of stuff about grammar and got some nasty flashbacks to my son’s SATS homework last year…

(Son: it’s really quite simple mum, I don’t understand why you don’t understand how to spot a nominal clause

Me: *sticks fingers in ears* Lalalala, can’t hear you, can you please stop torturing me?

Son: it’s when…

Me: I can’t hear you, I’ve got a fish in my ear!)

So yes, I’m struggling a bit with Thing 10. Sentences are Not Fun. So I’ll try to simplify it a bit for my simple brain by copying the relevant bits:

‘Simple sentence

This type of sentence is not necessarily short; it is simple because it contains just one complete idea.

Compound sentence

In contrast to a simple sentence, a compound sentence includes more than one complete idea. It can contain two or more complete ideas that are linked with words such as and, but, or, for, yet, so.

Complex sentence

Like a compound sentence, a complex sentence also contains more than one idea. However, it will have at least one dependent clause as well as an independent clause.’

I was fine until that last bit…

‘See how much fun sentences can be!’

Er, no. *sticks fingers in ears*

However, I think I get the gist of the rest of it: if you want to draw attention to one idea of several in a complicated sentence, then you need to make that a sentence which could stand alone. The other idea(s) in the sentence which are just sentence ‘snippets’ then take a back seat. Phew! I just about get the usefulness of that. It’s probably something I do anyway without realising…

Now, what am I supposed to be doing again?

Writing for this Thing
Use different sentence structures (simple, compound and complex) to write a brief introduction to your specific research topic, and post it on your blog. Your introduction should include three paragraphs: a paragraph on the general research context/background; a paragraph establishing the gap in the field; and a paragraph explaining what you wish to research and how it will help to fill the gap.’

OK, let’s do this! You’ll have to excuse any sloppiness, I’m trying to squeeze this blog out in between data analyses, so I’m not editing…


Affective responses to exercise predict future exercise behaviour. The better people feel during exercise, the more likely they are to continue (Rhodes and Kates, 2015). Given this, how can we help people to feel better during exercise?

 Qualitative research on affective responses to exercise is scarce, yet more is needed to understand what factors are influential, and how these can be altered to improve affective responses to exercise. Knowing quantitatively how people are feeling does not tell us anything about the context of these feelings, or pinpoint areas for improvement. Qualitative research on affect during exercise is even more scarce. Rose and Parfitt (2010) provide a rare exception: they asked high and low active women to talk aloud during a laboratory exercise bout about how they were feeling, and why they were feeling that way. Some of the themes they found have obvious practical applications, such as directing attentional focus during exercise to reduce discomfort, or interpreting physiological information positively rather than negatively.

Most research on affect during exercise is lab-based. There is evidence, however, that affective responses to exercise in laboratories differ from those in everyday environments (Dasilva et al., 2011). This makes intuitive sense — running on a treadmill is a very different experience from running alongside a river — but there is no qualitative research on affective responses to exercise in such everyday environments. This study aimed to fill this gap.

Not perfect, but it’ll have to do. SPSS is calling me! And I’m *gulp* about a gazillion Things behind already. I’ll leave you with another photo: this is of some of the vineyards in the Moselle. They are planted on very steep slopes. Like, scary steep! I figure harvesting these grapes must be like doing a PhD: never look down, don’t look ahead too far. Focus on one bunch of grapes at a time!















23things, research, Uncategorized, writing

WordPress ate my homework…

Honestly, I could cry! I put loads and loads of time into a blog for Things 7, 8 and 9 (I was on holiday too), pressed save whenever possible, and when I opened the draft version this morning, WordPress has LOST two thirds of it. In future I will have to either write the thing in Scrivener or copy and paste as I go. But WordPress: your save function properly sucks!

*shakes tiny fist at WordPress*


So here are the edited highlights:


Journal chosen: Psychology of Sport and Exercise

Structure imposed by the journal: very flexible, ditto length, so I’m going for about 10 pages

I looked at 3 papers for their structure and chose this one as having a really great structure which makes the most of qualitative research and doesn’t squeeze everything into the boxes you have to use for quantitative research:

“Coveting Thy Neighbour’s Legs”: A Qualitative Study of Exercisers’ Experiences of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Goal Pursuit
(Sebire, Standage, Gillison, and Vansteenkiste, 2013)

Then some stuff about Hitchhiker’s Guide and towels:


It made sense in the version which didn’t get saved…

Then some silly questions from potential readers, which I answered a bit sarcastically. But I have a good idea of what I need to do in each bit, I just can’t be bothered writing it all out again.  I have a structure which I like (though the headings in the intro and discussion will be idiosyncratic to my study), and a rough idea of what I’m going to say and where.

I’m going to hit Publish quickly, before stupid WordPress gets hungry again…


23things, reference management, research, Uncategorized, writing

Things 6, (and not 7 and 8): the Goldilocks week


Journal editors=bears



This week’s things are all about targeting a journal, finding out more about its scope and what kinds of papers it accepts, who reads it, what its reputation is, how long it takes to get published. Oh wait, that’s just thing 6! Wow, this week is a bit of a beast…I might have to save 7 and 8 for another blog, 6 has taken *forever*.

Thing 6: Choosing where to publish

So I’ve called this the Goldilocks ‘thing’. Is the journal too soft? Too hard? Which one is just right? Because if you write a good enough paper then hopefully if you choose a journal which appreciates your type of paper then nobody will get eaten by bears, I mean you might get published. It’s Sunday, I’ve been doing data entry all day, my brain is as mushy as bear porridge right now, I’ll stop with the weird analogies.

Eek, this thing is hard! So I decided to start by trawling through my Mendeley database using ‘qualitative’ as a search term. Not all journals in my field seem to rate qualitative research much, so I might as well choose one which is friendly towards qual studies, at least in principle. I also then did a search on ‘naturalistic’ or ‘field study’ to see where these types of studies were published, as many of the studies in my area are either lab studies or RCTs, neither of which relates to my work.

The paper I’m planning is a small part of a mixed methods longitudinal study, focusing on a single theme which I found in my qualitative analysis (which was also found in a couple of other qualitative lab studies). I want to relate this theme to some theoretical constructs used in sport and exercise psychology (but I’m more keen to emphasise the exercise aspect rather than the sport), point out how these constructs are related to real-life behaviour, and suggest some practical applications of my findings.

I went through and made an extraordinarily boring table with the journal name, the type of paper/s I found in my database which they published, and I copied and pasted the aims and scope from the journal websites. Gosh, this table is so dull it’s making my eyes glaze over, please don’t even think of reading it. Basically, I put an asterisk next to journals which I think might be the most relevant in terms of their qualitative-friendliness, and the similarity of the papers to the one I’m planning. I don’t think this paper will be suitable for more general journals, health psychology journals or Big Picture Theory journals, and definitely not for RCT-loving journals. I included the other journals just because I think it might make life easier when I come to write other papers to have these handy…

I ignored the bits about open access (because I’m self-funded, I don’t have a funding body coughing up a couple of k just to share my work with the world), reputation (they’re all pretty good, and I figure that it’s fairly difficult to get qualitative papers published anyway so better to get the right fit. Plus, my first paper is unlikely to feature in Nature), and the only one to give any indication of publication timelines is the top one. None of them give any idea of success rates (unless I can find this somewhere else?) Audiences seem to be similar for the top 4  I think, though QRSEH is probably more likely to have a sociological lean, given its emphasis on qualitative research. I still haven’t actually narrowed it down to a single journal yet, I need to go back and look at the papers within each one for a better idea of which one would be best. Then it’s onto Thing 7!



Picture (it’s rather delightful, isn’t it?) By Arthur Mee and Holland Thompson, eds. The Book of Knowledge (New York, NY: The Grolier Society, 1912) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Table 1: Exceptionally Boring Summary Table

Journal name Type of article Aims and scope
Psychology of Sport and Exercise* qualitative lite, lots of motivation studies Psychology of Sport and Exercise is an international forum for scholarly reports in the psychology of sport and exercise, broadly defined. The journal is open to the use of diverse methodological approaches. Manuscripts that will be considered for publication will present results from high quality empirical research, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, commentaries concerning already published PSE papers or topics of general interest for PSE readers, protocol papers for trials, and reports of professional practice (which will need to demonstrate academic rigour and go beyond mere description).
International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology* thematic analysis, runner’s thoughts The International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology ( IJSEP ) publishes empirical and theoretical contributions in the science of physical activity, human movement, exercise, and sport.  The journal’s Editors and Editorial Board encourage researchers and scholars worldwide to submit their work for publication, since the journal emphasizes its international perspective. Innovative applications, cultural and cross-cultural research and position statements of international organizations are especially welcomed.
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health* discourse study, grounded theory Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health is the first international journal solely dedicated to the advancement and debate of qualitative research within sport and exercise psychology, sport sociology, sports coaching, and sports and exercise medicine. Providing a forum for qualitative researchers within all the social scientific areas of sport, exercise, and health the journal offers researchers, practitioners, and students access to cutting edge empirical inquiry, scholarly dialogues, and the latest developments in qualitative methodologies and methods. Open to all qualitative approaches, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health aims to be eclectic in content. It publishes original empirical work that uses qualitative approaches as well as qualitative meta-syntheses and review articles on the methods and methodologies of qualitative research.
Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology* narrative analysis, IPA The Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology (JSEP) publishes research articles by leading world scholars that explore the interactions between psychology and exercise and sport performance, editorials about contemporary issues in the field, abstracts of current research on sport and exercise psychology, and book reviews.
International Journal of Behavioural Medicine parkrun study, a bit qualitative lite but applied The International Journal of Behavioral Medicine (IJBM) is the official publication of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine (ISBM). It presents original research and integrative reviews on interactions among behavioral, psychosocial, environmental, genetic and biomedical factors relevant to health and illness. The scope of the Journal extends from research on biobehavioral mechanisms and clinical studies on diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to research on public health, including health promotion and prevention. IJBM publishes research originating from all continents, inviting research on multi-national, multi-cultural and global aspects of health and illness.
BMC Public Health mixed methods study of community intervention BMC Public Health is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that considers articles on the epidemiology of disease and the understanding of all aspects of public health. The journal has a special focus on the social determinants of health, the environmental, behavioral, and occupational correlates of health and disease, and the impact of health policies, practices and interventions on the community.
Health Promotion Practice interpretive study Health Promotion Practice (HPP) publishes authoritative articles devoted to the practical application of health promotion and education. It publishes information of strategic importance to a broad base of professionals engaged in the practice of developing, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and disease prevention programs. The journal’s editorial board is committed to focusing on the applications of health promotion and public health education interventions, programs and best practice strategies in various settings, including but not limited to, community, health care, worksite, educational, and international settings. Additionally, the journal focuses on the development and application of public policy conducive to the promotion of health and prevention of disease. The journal includes issues related to the professional preparation and development of health educators. The journal recognizes the critical need to (1) promote linkages between researchers in the academic and private sectors with health promotion and education practitioners; and (2) address the health issues of ethnic and racial minority populations. These partnerships and collaborations are reflected in the editorial philosophy and the broad scope of published articles and contributed sections.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity qualitative lite IJBNPA is devoted to furthering the understanding of the behavioral aspects of diet and physical activity and is unique in its inclusion of multiple levels of analysis, including populations, groups and individuals and its inclusion of epidemiology, and behavioral, theoretical and measurement research areas.  IJBNPA prioritises research based on randomised controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews (with or without meta-analyses, as appropriate), and observational studies. IJBNPA will also review other study designs such as strong or ground-breaking methodological papers, rigorous qualitative studies, debate papers and commentaries. IJBNPA publishes pilot studies only in exceptional circumstances and it does not publish protocol papers or letters to the editors.
Perspectives in Public Health ethnography of running Perspectives in Public Health is an indexed bi-monthly, multidisciplinary public health journal with a truly international scope. Indexed in PubMed and ISI, Perspectives in Public Health publishes original peer-reviewed articles, literature reviews and research papers, and opinion pieces on all aspects of the science, philosophy, and practice of health promotion and public health, as well as news and features.
Psychology, Health and Medicine thematic analysis of habit formation Psychology, Health & Medicine is a multidisciplinary journal highlighting human factors in health. The journal provides a peer reviewed forum to report on issues of psychology and health in practice. This key publication reaches an international audience, highlighting the variation and similarities within different settings and exploring multiple health and illness issues from theoretical, practical and management perspectives. It provides a critical forum to examine the wide range of applied health and illness issues and how they incorporate psychological knowledge, understanding, theory and intervention. The journal reflects the growing recognition of psychosocial issues as they affect health planning, medical care, disease reaction, intervention, quality of life, adjustment adaptation and management.ReadershipPsychology, Health & Medicine is aimed directly at health psychologists, general psychologists, and health care workers such as hospital and community doctors, social workers, planners and managers. The journal will be accessible and of use to both the academy and the professionals.
Qualitative Health Research IPA study, dragon boats Qualitative Health Research is an international, interdisciplinary, refereed journal for the enhancement of health care and to further the development and understanding of qualitative research methods in health care settings. We welcome manuscripts in the following areas: the description and analysis of the illness experience, health and health-seeking behaviors, the experiences of caregivers, the sociocultural organization of health care, health care policy, and related topics. We also seek critical reviews and commentaries addressing conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues pertaining to qualitative enquiry.
Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport mixed methods study, workplace intervention Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport publishes research in the art and science of human movement that contributes significantly to the knowledge base of the field as new information, reviews, substantiation or contradiction of previous findings, development of theory, or as application of new or improved techniques. The goals of RQES are to provide a scholarly outlet for knowledge that: (a) contributes to the study of human movement, particularly its cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary nature; (b) impacts theory and practice regarding human movement; (c) stimulates research about human movement; and (d) provides theoretical reviews and tutorials related to the study of human movement. The editorial board, associate editors, and external reviewers assist the editor-in-chief. Qualified reviewers in the appropriate subdisciplines review manuscripts deemed suitable. Authors are usually advised of the decision on their papers within 75–90 days.
British Journal of Health Psychology The British Journal of Health Psychology publishes original research on all aspects of psychology related to health, health-related behaviour and illness across the lifespan including:

• influence of emotion on health and health-related behaviours

  • psychological interventions in health and disease
  • (other stuff, not relevant to me)

It encourages submissions of papers reporting experimental, theoretical and applied studies and research carried out at the individual, group and community levels is welcome. The journal also welcomes systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Submissions concerning clinical applications and interventions are particularly encouraged.

BMC sports science, medicine and rehabilitation observational study, not qualitative BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation is an open access, peer reviewed journal that considers articles on all aspects of sports medicine and the exercise sciences, including rehabilitation, traumatology, cardiology, physiology, and nutrition.
Social Science & Medicine IPA, walking Social Science & Medicine provides an international and interdisciplinary forum for the dissemination of social science research on health. We publish original research articles (both empirical and theoretical), reviews, position papers and commentaries on health issues, to inform current research, policy and practice in all areas of common interest to social scientists, health practitioners, and policy makers. The journal publishes material relevant to any aspect of health and healthcare from a wide range of social science disciplines (anthropology, economics, epidemiology, geography, policy, psychology, and sociology), and material relevant to the social sciences from any of the professions concerned with physical and mental health, health care, clinical practice, and health policy and the organization of healthcare. We encourage material which is of general interest to an international readership.
Sport, Education and Society Les Mills study Sport, Education and Society is an international journal which provides a focal point for the publication of social science research on pedagogy, policy and the body in society and the wide range of associated social, cultural, political and ethical issues in physical activity, sport and health. The journal concentrates both on the forms, contents and contexts of physical education, sport and health education found in schools, colleges and other sites of formal education, as well as the pedagogies of play, calisthenics, gymnastics, sport and leisure found in familial contexts, sports clubs, the leisure industry, private fitness and health studios, dance schools and rehabilitation centres.
Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being is a peer-reviewed outlet for the scholarly dissemination of scientific findings and practical applications in the domains of health and well-being. Articles are encouraged from all areas of applied psychology including clinical, health, counseling, educational, sport, cross-cultural and environmental psychology. The mission of the journal is to provide readers with outstanding articles that present the latest data and best practices in the application of psychology to the promotion of well-being and optimal functioning. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being will publish empirical work, theoretical papers, model intervention programs, case studies, debates, and reviews. Of particular interest are intervention studies (e.g., randomized  controlled trials) and meta-analytic reviews.
Journal of Applied Sport Psychology IPA, walking The purpose of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) is to promote the development of psychological theory, research, and intervention strategies in sport psychology. The journal is a direct benefit of membership in AASP and is received by student and professional members field/observational/naturalistic studies:
Journal of Health Psychology naturalistic study, not qualitative Journal of Health Psychology is a leading international peer reviewed journal that aims to support and help shape research in health psychology from around the world. It provides a platform for traditional empirical analyses as well as more qualitative and/or critically oriented approaches. It also addresses the social contexts in which psychological and health processes are embedded.
The Journal of Behavioral Medicine comparison of indoor/outdoor, not qualitative The Journal of Behavioral Medicine is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary publication devoted to furthering our understanding of physical health and illness through the knowledge and techniques of behavioral science. Application of this knowledge to prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation is also a major function of the journal, which includes papers from all disciplines engaged in behavioral medicine research including: psychology, psychiatry, sociology, epidemiology, anthropology, health economics, public health, general medicine, and biostatistics. Examples of typical research areas include: effects of psychological stress on the immune and cardiovascular function; sociocultural influences on health and illness; adherence to medical regimen and health maintenance behavior (e.g., exercise, nutrition); the study of appetitive disorders (alcoholism, smoking, obesity) that serve as physical risk factors; behavioral factors in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS; pain, self-regulation therapies and biofeedback for somatic disorders; and brain-behavioral relationships that influence physiological function.
23things, Uncategorized, writing

Thing 5, snakes alive

No, I don’t know where the snakes came from, it just sorta kinda rhymes…Perhaps the image of the snake skeleton below is relevant though, taking something scary like research papers and examining their skeletons to get insight into how it all works? Yeah, I know. Tenuous.

Thing 5 for 23 things for publication is to find 4 papers of different types and analyse how they are written and what differences there are between them.

1. A paper from a specialist journal: I chose Rose and Parfitt (2010) as it’s more or less what I based my first study on. Only theirs was a lab study and mine was a Big Hairy Audacious field study which was a lot more messy (and interesting) than a lab study could be…

The key message from this paper is the stuff which people say about how they’re feeling during exercise. There are very few qualitative papers around like this, in fact I only know of one other. Although this paper is very interesting, I find it isn’t as useful as it could be, because it seems a bit superficial in its findings. In my opinion, it covers too much ground in not enough detail, and as a result the recommendations are a bit sketchy and unsubstantiated. I think this might be partly due to space constraints, but mainly I suspect it is because the study was actually a mixed methods study and they were busy puzzling out the quantitative results (which are a messy paper in their own right), and there seems little connection between the two. I think a lack of appreciation of the power of qualitative studies is shown here, with the lack of depth meaning that there is less contribution to theory than there could be. Nevertheless, it is a clearly-written paper answering an important question in a big journal in my field. I wouldn’t use it as an example of a good qualitative paper though, there are better ones out there which aren’t so qualitative-lite.

2. A paper from a general journal: I have chosen Segar and Richardson (2014) for their paper arguing that pleasure and meaning are an important part of exercise, and that these principles can be applied to walking. The journal covers a wide range of public health issues including research, and teaching and policy applications of research. Because the journal is a general one, the language is non-technical, and definitions are used liberally, along with examples of studies illustrating the points being made. Since the paper is essentially an argument rather than an experimental paper, each point is set out as the heading for each section, with the key message for that section being explained and illustrated. This is a really effective way to orientate the reader and makes it easy to read and to follow.

3. Review paper: the review paper I’ve gone for is Rhodes and Kates (2015), which is a systematic review of the affective response to exercise and its relationship with future physical activity behaviour and motives. I was thrilled when this was published (yes, I am that sad), because it nicely summarises all the research to date on my PhD topic. Hooray! I’d already found all the relevant papers and come to similar conclusions, but it was nice to have this confirmed. The key message is that how people feel during exercise is related to their future physical activity levels, but this does not apply to how people feel after exercise. Given that I’ve been asking people how they feel during exercise, this is a fantastic justification for my work so far, I just need to find out if the relationship holds in real life as well as in laboratories…

In terms of how this paper was written, it follows a very standard format for systematic reviews, so there is nothing particularly special about this paper in this respect. I do like the way though that the key points are summarised throughout the paper, and also the way the authors avoid the usual crap about more research of better quality being needed (because that is ALWAYS the case). Instead, they form conclusions based on the limited evidence which is available, summarise the strengths and weaknesses of that evidence and offer a way forward for future research in a very clear and organised way. It also happens to be in a BIG journal in the field of behaviour change…

4. A paper by a good writer: this was a tricky one, most of the big names in my field are pretty good writers (you don’t often get published that often by writing terribly, after all). But in the end I plumped for a writer in a slightly different (albeit related) field, because I’ve decided that behavioural economics papers are generally just so damn interesting! There are exceptions, and some really dense, hard to follow behavioural economics papers, but the one I’ve chosen is beautifully written. Not for nothing is behavioural economics so popular, and so much better covered in the media than ‘proper’ psychology.

The paper is another review, but it’s more a narrative review and synthesis of research to date on the topic, so it’s more narrative in its style than a systematic review. The thing I really like about this paper is that it uses lots of concrete examples to illustrate key ideas, and it also offers a range of applications for a range of people to use, from individuals to policy makers. It’s organised around topic headings, but not too many of them (there could be a few more, I think) and follows a logical framework from introducing the problem to summarising 15 years of research to concluding with practical ways this research can help in real life problems such as obesity and climate change.

In terms of differences between the papers: two follow a rigid format which is more or less imposed by the subject of the paper (an experimental study and a systematic review), whereas two are more argumentative in tone and therefore use a different format with plenty of headings and more of a rhetorical tone. They are all excellent papers in their own right. The paper I want to write is about an observational field study, so it doesn’t fit neatly into any of these categories, though it’s closest to the first one in terms of the way I need to structure it. But since it’s a qualitative paper, I also have the scope to change the format up a bit to suit this, depending on the journal I decide to target. I have another qualitative paper in mind which does a great job in linking theory to data, and I intend to use this more as my model, though I might check out a couple of field study papers as well if I can find some.

Specialist journal:

Rose, E. A., & Parfitt, G. (2010). Pleasant for some and unpleasant for others: a protocol analysis of the cognitive factors that influence affective responses to exercise. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7(15), 15. Retrieved from http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2832617&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract

General journal:

Segar, M. L., & Richardson, C. R. (2014). Prescribing Pleasure and Meaning. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1–4. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.07.001

Review paper:

Rhodes, R. E., & Kates, A. (2015). Can the Affective Response to Exercise Predict Future Motives and Physical Activity Behavior? A Systematic Review of Published Evidence. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12160-015-9704-5

Paper by a good writer:

Milkman, K. L., Rogers, T., & Bazerman, M. H. (2008). Harnessing Our Inner Angels and Demons: What We Have Learned About WantShould Conflicts and How That Knowledge Can Help Us Reduce Short-Sighted Decision Making. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3(4), 324–338. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6924.2008.00083.x