posters, presentations, research, Uncategorized

Resolve to Walk conference poster



I’m on that final day of a conference, when you if you don’t actually have a hangover, you feel like you do. God knows how people go to week-long conferences, after 3 days of absorbing information and meeting great people, my brain cells feel like they’re sizzling!  I would very much like to curl up in a tree like the koala above and sleep for a week. Well, maybe not in an actual tree, I’m not great with heights.

Anyway, before I forget to do this, I’m going to pop my poster on here, because I spent a gazillion years making it and I think my results are really interesting. There’s some tralala backgroundy stuff about the research background to the poster in this post here


All comments welcome 🙂

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.

Making a Virtue out of Necessity

By Alex Genz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
This isn’t me, but my smile when scooting is similarly wide

Recently I’ve had several triathlons in a day. No, not swimming/cycling/running, but rather active transport triathlons. I started out by running to the gym, which is about a mile away. I could have cycled there, but a) it’s uphill and b) getting my bike out of the shed and through the path down the side of my house is frankly rather faffy. PLUS, I have a running target this year of 1000 miles, which is about 2.8 miles a day, and I’m behind on this target. I don’t need to take much to the gym: just some water and my house keys, or I can get water at the gym if I can’t be bothered lugging it there. It’s a nice warmup and cooldown, plus running home downhill is usually a relief after a tough class. I also got a Fitbit recently, and I must admit to being a *tiny* bit keen on getting my 15,000 or 20,000 steps in…Active transport is brilliant for working extra exercise into your day, often with little or no extra time spent, it’s a win-win.

Later on, I needed to go to my local shops. These are about a quarter of a mile away, so walking seems a good choice. But actually, I don’t like walking for transport very much, it just seems so SLOW! And I didn’t want to run because I had a couple of bags of shopping to carry.  Cycling there was a no-go (too faffy, plus it’s along the main road and the way drivers overtake you on a blind crest is properly scary, and there is nowhere to park your bike. So I took my scooter. I love my scooter: for distances of up to 2 miles (which is actually most journeys for many) it’s by far the quickest and easiest way of getting about. If there are any stairs or other obstructions which make cycling a pain, then it’s the obvious choice. It’s twice as fast as walking, twice as much fun, you can go on the footpath, and you can fling a few bags of shopping onto the handlebars without too many problems. Plus it makes people smile, me included. Or stare open-mouthed, in some cases. These people need to open their minds and put their prejudices aside, because scooting is the future…

In the afternoon, I had to make a trip into town and take some coins into the bank and books back to the library. This time I chose to take my bike, as the convenience of being able to travel a mile reasonably quickly whilst carrying a heavy bag outweighed the faffiness. Plus there’s a cycle rack just outside the library and the bank. The route to town (about a mile) is hilly, but except for the horrible junction up a tiny hill onto a main road and then immediately right, the roads are fairly quiet. Even so, I’d say that cycling is my least favourite way of getting around shorter distances, as the cycling environment in my town is hostile to say the least. There are only tiny amounts of the most derisory cycle paths imaginable (and then there are usually cars parked on them), they don’t join up at all, and there are large stretches of main road where you have to mix it up with lorries, idiot car drivers trying to kill you, and potholes/illegally parked cars/insert other possible obstruction here. In an environment which discourages and frightens cyclists, it’s no wonder there are very few people cycling. The design of the roads screams ‘CARS ARE KING, YOU HAVE NO PLACE HERE’.

In the face of all this and the utter incompetence of the local roads department, I usually prefer not to cycle. I went to an exhibition about a ‘new’ cycle path along the river last year, and chatted to the very nice council people about their plans. They’re basically taking an existing path and ‘upgrading’ it by putting some gravel down, as far as I can tell. This path is under about 3 feet of water when heavy rains swell the river, so I wish them luck with their *magic* gravel…While they’re fiddling as the planet burns, I’ll keep using my scooter or run for many of my journeys.

Of course, I could have used my car for any or all of these journeys: most people do. Occasionally I drive to the gym, as it’s made too convenient for me. There’s usually plenty of parking, and it’s free. However, I feel too guilty when I drive to the gym: just how lazy is that, to drive a mile? If they charged me for parking, then I’d probably never drive there…Driving to town is much more difficult: parking is in a couple of multi-storeys which are seemingly populated by the most indecisive, worst-parking drivers you have ever seen. It’s quicker to walk to town than it is to find a park and walk down the stairs. I actually can’t remember the last time I drove to town. Similarly, I’d never drive to my local shops, it would make no sense for such a tiny distance, and parking along there is hit and miss. It’s considerably quicker to walk there than to drive (which doesn’t stop most people, including my husband *rolls eyes*).

But actually, door to door, in most cases driving is the slowest and often the least convenient option logistically. Yes, active commuting has the added benefit of increasing your physical activity levels, improving your mood and fitness and all the other things exercising does for you. But the main reason I run, scoot and bike around my little urban area is just sheer pragmatism. I can understand why many people don’t (not everyone runs, the cycling environment is hostile), but of all of my active transport options, I think that scooting has the most potential to be adopted more widely if government has no courage to spend money on cycling infrastructure. It doesn’t, with a couple of notable exceptions. If you go to London or other big cities, chances are you’ll see at least one adult on a scooter. I think the only thing stopping adults from scooting is the framing of it as a kids’ toy: if we can change that then I predict an army of adults nipping onto buses, trains and tubes with folded scooter in hand, whizzing down footpaths (minding out for pedestrians, of course) and generally commuting and running errands with the wind in their hair and a smile on their faces. Soooo much nicer than being stuck in aggressive traffic breathing in traffic fumes and fretting about being late 🙂


Photo: By Alex Genz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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

General journal:

Segar, M. L., & Richardson, C. R. (2014). Prescribing Pleasure and Meaning. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1–4.

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.

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.

23things, networking, posters, research, Uncategorized, writing

1 out of 12 ain’t bad


More East Sussex views

I appear to have 12 draft blogs sitting in WordPress at various stages of completion, I’ve been busy writing them sometimes but apparently not actually hitting publish! Must do better…

Anyway, I have also been busy writing stuff for my PhD, including two writing retreats. One retreat was very isolated and full of running, napping and walking. I took myself off to a campsite in East Sussex in mid-May and had a lovely time writing and running during the day and then walking to the pub for dinner and a pint or two, chatting to the cute lambs in the field en route. It was sheer bliss. I fell asleep to the sound of owls, slept for at least 10 hours every night, and the campsite chickens came and tried to nick my food. I had some beautiful runs in the countryside, through beech woods and fields, and I didn’t even get very lost! I would love to do this again sometime, it was very productive and I mostly finished planning a paper I’m wanting to write. It was also very calming to escape from the chaos of everyday life.


Beech woods

East Sussex views

The second writing retreat was last weekend and organised by the lovely RDP people at uni. We set goals, wrote for 2 days between 10 and about 4, lunch was provided and dinner on the Saturday night (dinner was delicious and it was great to meet people I’d never otherwise encounter). I did a short run round campus both days to shake the day off and to stay awake on the second day. I planned out my methodology chapter and filled in lots of gaps for my 2 studies so far. It was good to be able to focus on the bigger picture of my PhD, especially as I’m up to my eyeballs in data collection and analysis (the latter being apparently never-ending…) Now the challenge is to keep moving forward on daily writing, so far this has been happening most days unless I’ve had to travel to see participants.

I’ve been feeling very inspired recently, as I’m interviewing participants from my New Year’s resolution study, and getting feedback from them and hearing how they’ve progressed through the last 6 months has been a real privilege. When you’re bogged down in endless data it’s good to remember why I’m doing this: to understand how we can help people become more active (and stay more active).

I’ve also written an abstract for a conference on something a bit random but interesting, and registered for another conference which will need another abstract in August. Gulp, that’s actually quite soon…I haven’t been to many academic events this year, with the exception of a day at a health psychology network, where I presented a poster on initial findings from my resolution study and enjoyed chatting to other PhD students from different universities. Sometimes signing up for these things provides the motivation to prioritise writing, to see what findings you have which are of theoretical or practical benefit, and to get some analyses finished to have something to present. Plus I absolutely love conferences and seminars where you can chat to people and gain different perspectives on your work (particularly as I’m the only person in my department working on physical activity: it gets lonely sometimes!)

I just signed up for another 23 Things online course: 23 Things for Publication, which I’m hoping will be as useful as the previous 23 Things. I have a plan for a paper, but I’ve got a bit stuck on background theory (I think there’s a hole in there somewhere which I need to track down), and knowing where to start with it all has meant it’s been on the back burner for a few months. So somewhere in here I need to juggle writing this paper along with everything else…I’m looking forward to getting to know some of the other participants (even if only virtually) and us all celebrating some progress together! Because cute as they are, lambs aren’t quite as good at being writing companions as people…


Cute lambs