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Physical Education Dissertation Topics

Info: 2973 words (12 pages) Dissertation Topic
Published: 16th Aug 2021 in Dissertation Topic

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Tagged: Physical Education

We have provided a selection of example physical education dissertation topics below to help and inspire you.

History of Sport

If you are interested in how physical education has changed over the years, these examples will give you some ideas and would be an interesting route to take:

Example history of sport dissertation topic 1:

A review of the facilities offered in the gymnasiums of England’s public schools 1970-2012

Noting the comments of an Old Etonian in the Sunday Telegraph of 10th February 2013, this dissertation charts the development of gymnasiums in the leading public boys’ schools of England from the 1970s to the present day. Charting the decline of unheated rooms possessing little more than a couple of ropes and a horse, in preference to the development of state of the art multi-gyms and sports halls, this dissertation interviews past masters and pupils of Charterhouse, Harrow and Bedales. Through so doing it seeks not only to comment on the changing nature and expectations regarding facilities but also to show a link between the improvement of facilities and boys’ readiness to engage in PE.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Chandler, T.J. (1988). Emergent athleticism: games in two English public schools, 1800-1860. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 5(3), pp. 312-330.
  • Harries, R., Cattermole, P. and Mackintosh, P. (1991). A history of Norwich School: King Edward VI’s Grammar School at Norwich. Norwich: Friends of Norwich School.
  • Richards, J. (1988). Happiest days: The public schools in English fiction. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Sports for development and peace

You may think that sports development is the best option as it promotes social inclusion and a healthy balanced lifestyle. Have a look at the below options for further details:

Example sports for development and peace dissertation topic 1:

An evaluation of the staffing profiles of male gym teachers within both the maintained and independent sectors: Is greater professionalism emerging?

This dissertation seeks to debunk myth from fact with regards to the anecdotal evidence that has plagued male gym masters for generations. Focusing on those presently undertaking the Post Graduate Certificate in Education and those within their first five years of teaching, this dissertation seeks to banish the suggestion that ‘if you can’t teach, you teach PE’ and that the only academic subject that PE staff are capable of teaching is Geography. Rather, this dissertation hopes to show through both qualitative and quantitative primary research and analysis that today’s guardians of the physical health of school-aged boys are professionals pursuing a career in a discipline as rigorous as that of traditional subjects such as Maths and History. This is a dissertation that could also benefit from the conducting of focus group interviews with existing parents of pupils as to their experiences of PE whilst at school as well as their perceptions of how the lessons (and staff) have changed with regard to the experiences of their offspring.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Capel, S. and Katene, W. (2000). Secondary PGCE PE students: Perceptions of their subject knowledge. European Physical Education Review, 6(1), pp. 46-70.
  • Capel, S. and Whitehead, M. (2010). Learning to teach physical education in the secondary school: A companion to school experience. London: Routledge.
  • Penney, D. and Chandler, T. (2000). Physical education: what future(s)?. Sport, Education and Society, 5(1), pp. 71-87.

Teaching and Learning

This is a very relevant topic as some children really struggle with sports participation from a young age and this may affect their mental health. Take a look at some suitable suggestions listed below:

Example teaching and learning dissertation topic 1:

PE for an hour a day: A suggested legacy policy from London 2012

Commenting on the success of the London 2012 Olympics both the London Mayor Boris Johnson, and the Prime Minister David Cameron, recalled aspects of their own sporting experiences at Eton. Thereafter, the Mayor of London backed campaigns that sought to ensure that there was at least one hour of PE per day provided within the nation’s schools. Such campaigns, along with those spearheaded by Duke William of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales to save school playing fields, have once more brought the question of sport and fitness within the nation’s schools centre-stage. Arguing that physical fitness is a necessary pre-requisite to mental well-being, this dissertation posits, through using interviews with leading commentators and existing secondary literature, that PE should be seen as being as important as the core curriculum subjects of Maths and English. Accordingly, in order to keep children healthy and prepare them for adulthood, a minimum of one-hour of PE should be timetabled into each school day.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Griggs, G. and Ward, G. (2012). Physical education in the UK: disconnections and reconnections. Curriculum Journal, 23(2), pp. 207-229.
  • Mallam, K. M., Metcalf, B. S., Kirkby, J., Voss, L. D. and Wilkin, T. J. (2003). Contribution of timetabled physical education to total physical activity in primary school children: cross sectional study. BMJ, 327(7415), pp. 592-593.
  • Ovens, A., Hopper, T. and Butler, J. (eds). (2012). Complexity thinking in physical education: Reframing curriculum, pedagogy and research. London: Routledge.

Example teaching and learning dissertation topic 2:

An assessment of the difficulties encompassed in completing risk assessment forms for sports teams at university level

As the needs of teams involved in BUCS tournaments continues to grow, this dissertation looks at the implications that the burgeoning of competitive sports at university level has had on the compiling of risk assessment forms and codes of compliance. In seeking to evaluate present perceptions as to both the importance of such forms being completed and the way in which risk assessment is viewed by the students themselves, this qualitative study hopes, through the responses it receives to be able to make recommendations for the creation of agreed risk assessment protocols to cover all core sports within universities. This process, it argues, would save valuable time and money and enable more sport to be enjoyed.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Baker, T. and Simon, J. (eds.). (2002). Embracing risk: The changing culture of insurance and responsibility. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Fuller, C. and Drawer, S. (2004). The application of risk management in sport. Sports Medicine, 34(6), pp. 349-356.
  • Osborne, B. (2001). Principles of liability for athletic trainers: Managing sport-related concussion. Journal of Athletic Training, 36(3), pp. 316-321.

Example teaching and learning dissertation topic 3:

From ‘PE’ to ‘Dance’ – an assessment of their relative strengths and a call for a return to traditional exercise within schools

Focusing upon the work of those presently ‘on practice’ as part of their PGCE in schools within Birmingham, this dissertation firstly notes how, within the arena of girls’ PE, traditional exercises have given way to the use of dance as a form of timetabled physical education. In the second part of the dissertation qualitative study is carried out on the perceptions of using dance over trampolining and gymnastics. This will involve both the views of staff and pupils in Key Stage Three. In the third part of the dissertation, an experiment is undertaken with two classes of Year 9 girls in which one set continue with dance for a month, whilst the others are introduced to the joys of netball, tennis and rounders. One month on, all pupils will be interviewed as to their enjoyment of the PE they have participated in over the month long study – it is hoped that the results will show that traditional sport can provide just as much enjoyment within the PE classroom than modern day trends such as dance and yoga.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Connolly, M. K., Quin, E. and Redding, E. (2011). Dance 4 your life: Exploring the health and well-being implications of a contemporary dance intervention for female adolescents. Research in Dance Education, 12(1), pp. 53-66.
  • Mersh, R. and Fairclough, S. J. (2010). Physical activity, lesson context and teacher behaviours within the revised English National Curriculum for Physical Education: A case study of one school. European Physical Education Review, 16(1), pp. 29-45.
  • O’Neill, J. R., Pate, R. R. and Hooker, S. P. (2011). The contribution of dance to daily physical activity among adolescent girls. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8(1), pp. 87-92.

Excercise Referral and Rehabilitation

Have you had a career threatening sport injury and wanted to focus on solutions to this via a dissertation? The below topics may be of use to you:

Example referral and rehabilitation dissertation topic 1:

An assessment of the sporting facilities available for prisoners and proposals as to how make inmates ‘fit for release’

This dissertation contains two distinct aspects. The first is a critique and evaluation of existing gym facilities available to prisoners at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. This part of the dissertation will consist of an audit of facilities as well as the evaluating of data received from prisoners upon two wings who have volunteered to give their opinions of the facilities presently open to them. The second part of the dissertation relates to the concern that many inmates are, whilst inside, either denied access to keep fit facilities ort choose to vegetate rather than keeping their minds and bodies active. Noting that educational sessions are mandatory for inmates, this dissertation proposes that, based on the opinions of staff, inmates, and professional health workers, physical exercise should become a mandatory element of daily prison life. In so doing, it seeks to assess the potential health and safety and security risks of implementing a daily ‘yard workout’ in lower category prisons throughout England and Wales.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Bayliss, P. (2003). Learning behind bars: time to liberate prison education. Studies in the Education of Adults, 35(2), pp. 157-172.
  • Caraher, M., Dixon, P., Carr-Hill, R., Hayton, P., McGough, H. and Bird, L. (2002). Are health-promoting prisons an impossibility? Lessons from England and Wales. Health Education, 102(5), pp. 219-229.
  • Meek, R. and Lewis, G. (2012). The role of sport in promoting prisoner health. International Journal of Prisoner Health, 8(3/4), pp. 117-130.

Physical Education and Wellbeing

Want to promote a healthy balanced lifestyle to your class of students? This is a very important area of development for young people and they will carry this throughout their adult life. Take a look at some suggestions listed below:

Example physical education and wellbeing dissertation topic 1:

Counting the costs of austerity: the longer term societal consequences of the closing of council leisure facilities and its effects upon those referred to sport for therapy

Looking at physical health in its widest sense (so as to encompass aspects of healthy living and mental well-being), this dissertation first notes, with concern, the decline in council funded leisure facilities across the nation as a consequence of the present depression. Thereafter focusing upon the counties of East Anglia, this dissertation evaluates the concerns of health care professionals and professional gym staff as to the longer-term health complications that may arise as a consequence of doctors no longer being able to refer patients to sports centres for exercise classes as part of their treatment. This is a dissertation that would also benefit from the undertaking of primary research with former users of treatment referral programmes who are now having to cope without access to the sporting facilities that were deemed necessary to aid their recoveries.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Audrey, S., Wheeler, B. W., Mills, J. and Ben-Shlomo, Y. (2012). Health promotion and the social gradient: The free swimming initiative for children and young people in Bristol. Public Health, 126(11), pp. 976-981.
  • Charlton, T. (2010). ‘Grow and sustain’: The role of community sports provision in promoting a participation legacy for the 2012 Olympic Games. International Journal of Sport Policy, 2(3), pp. 347-366.
  • Liu, Y. D., Taylor, P. and Shibli, S. (2009). Sport equity: Benchmarking the performance of English public sport facilities. European Sport Management Quarterly, 9(1), pp. 3-21.

Example physical education and wellbeing dissertation topic 2:

Splash! An unexpected viewer hit – creating a wave of excitement within pools

As a cardiovascular exercise the benefits of swimming are well known. Nevertheless, as with all forms of physical exercise, it can be difficult to get members of the public, who are presently predominantly sedentary, interested in improving their physical fitness. Though acknowledging that this is a dissertation on the margins of mainstream physical education, this study argues that any medium that actively encourages people to ‘get moving’ and educates them as to the fun and enjoyment (as well as the health benefits) that leading a more active life brings – is good news. Accordingly, this dissertation, in noting the upsurge of interest amongst members of the public to undertaking swimming and diving lessons since the screening of the TV series Splash! – seeks both to evaluate what it was about the programme that attracted viewers to it, whilst also providing quantitative data as to the actual positive impact that it has had upon the uptake of swimming and diving amongst the general public; with especial reference to those living in the north-west of England.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Boardley, I.D. (2012). Can viewing London 2012 influence sport participation? Viewpoint based on relevant theory. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics (ahead of print).
  • Lines, G. (2007). The impact of media sport events on the active participation of young people and some implications for PE pedagogy. Sport, Education and Society, 12(4), pp. 349-366.
  • Payne, W., Reynolds, M., Brown, S. and Fleming, A. (2003). Sports role models and their impact on participation in physical activity: A literature review. Melbourne, Vic.: VicHealth.

Accredited Physical Education

Do you feel that a specific sport doesn’t get the recognition it deserves? Think about writing a dissertation on this topic to make your thoughts known. Have a look at some of the ideas listed below to help you with this:

Example accredited physical education dissertation topic 1:

Boxing as part of the PE curriculum – a personal rejoinder

Fifty years ago, boxing was a mainstream component of boys’ physical education within secondary modern schools as well as the independent sector. In addition, national organisations such as the Lads’ Club (branches of which still exist) had boxing as a central element of their programmes to keep young minds and bodies fit and active. Arguing that boxing is a game of skill that requires substantial mental as well as physical agility, this dissertation evaluates attitudes amongst pupils in Salford to its reintroduction as part of mainstream PE in Key stages 3 and 4. This is a dissertation for which there exists a sizeable amount of existing secondary data and is additionally a subject area that would benefit from historic contextualisation.

Suggested initial topic reading:

  • Purcell, L. K. and Leblanc, C. M. (2012). Boxing participation by children and adolescents: A joint statement with the American Academy of Pediatrics. Paediatrics & Child Health, 17(1), pp. 39-42..
  • Shear, S. B., Korfiatis, C. and Diekema, D. S. (2011). When institutional, professional, and public health obligations conflict: the controversial case of youth boxing. In, Diekema, D.S., Mercurio, M.R. and Adam, M.B., Clinical Ethics in Pediatrics: A Case-Based Textbook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 211-214.
  • Wright, W. (2006). Keep it in the ring: Using boxing in social group work with high-risk and offender youth to reduce violence. Social Work with Groups, 29(2-3), pp. 149-174.

If these example dissertation topics have given you some inspiration and you now feel ready to choose a topic, see our guide to choosing a dissertation topic for further guidance.

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Physical Education, or PE, develops practical and academic skills and knowledge in the field of sports and sporting activities. Physical Education degrees often provide a foundation for a career in teaching sports or PE.

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