Motivation research in the field of sport and exercise psychology : A bibliometric study of research themes and informationflow between 1985 and 2009

University essay from Umeå universitet/Sociologiska institutionen

Author: Jonas Lindahl; [2012]

Keywords: ;


Objectives: The objectives of this bibliometric study was to provide an overview of the intellectual structure of motivation research in the field of sport and exercise psychology (SEP), and to show how the intellectual structure of the field has changed over time. A secondary purpose was to explore the potential of longitudinal citation based science mapping within SEP, and further, in the sub-area of motivation research in SEP.Research questions: (1) How did the intellectual structure of motivation research within the field of SEP evolve between 1985 and 2009 with respect to research themes and topics? (2) How did the flow of information, in terms of citations, between sub areas take shape within motivation research in SEP between 1985 and 2009?Data: 739 articles published between 1985 and 2009 were used in this study. Field delineation and data collection was conducted with a multi-database approach based on controlled vocabulary. The dataset was furthermore expanded by citation-based extension.Methods: A cluster analysis was performed on the retrieved articles based on normalized bibliographic coupling (i.e., based on shared references topically similar articles was placed in mutually exclusive groups). The cluster analysis resulted in 19 clusters that were classified by a subject expert from the field of SEP. Further, the labeled clusters were visualized as research fronts along timelines subdivided into timeslices – 1985-1994; 1995-1999; 2000-2004; 2005-2009 – showing the growth and decline of research topics within motivation research in SEP. Direct citations between the research fronts was extracted and visualized in order to explore information flow.Results: Some main findings were: (1) timeslice 1985-1994 consisted of a dispersed collection of research fronts. No dominating research theme or theoretical framework could be discerned in this period; (2) the timeslices of 1995-1999 and 2000-2004 was dominated by achievement goals oriented research; (3) during timeslice 2004-2009 self-determination theory oriented research underwent a drastic growth. This timeslice was dominated by achievement goals oriented research and self-determination theory oriented research. In the direct citation network highly influential research fronts (i.e., influential research themes) could be identified. The top five with respect to received direct citations was: (1) Task-ego achievement goals 1; (2) Task-ego achievement goals 2; (3) Self-determination theory 1; (4) Motivational climate; (5) Percieved competence and motivation among children and youth.

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