Rights: The University of Waikato Published 21 June 2007 Download

Dr Justin Keogh from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) talks about the reasons for choosing a research topic and describes a conventional research process that provides input to athletes to improve their practice.


We choose our research topics probably of the basis on three factors, one is the interest that we have. Obviously we’re not real keen to do stuff that we are not interested in and we don't have a background in. The second thing is probably what topics are going to be of interest to our Post Grad students coming through. Cause at the end of the day our Post Grad students do the hands on research and we supervise and assist them in the process. The third thing which might become important as well is funding sources. So sports performance research might not have the greatest amounts of money available, but if you look in terms of injury prevention, things like ACC, Health Research Council in NZ can be large funding sources which can contribute to your research.

The research process takes a fair amount of time. The first step is initially coming up with the question. What are we interested in doing? What isn't really known? From there, the approach to the question, how are we’re actually gonna ask this question? What type of subjects will we need to recruit? What methods will we need to actually utilise? So designing the experiment is very important. From there you actually conduct the experiment, recruit your subjects, perform your tests, analyse the data, do some statistics on that data, and then with your reading that you’ve done on that literature try and come up with some discussions and some conclusions and some practical applications of your research.

Once the research project’s been conducted we then obviously like to publicise the research so that people can make use of it. This happens in a number of ways, the first thing is the writing of journal articles and presenting at conferences. This is typically very much a scientific forum, so the general population might not understand everything. What we then also do particularly at our university we have a sports performance centre where we consult out to different sports and the research that we do is fed back to our practitioners, our strength and conditioners, our exercise physiologists and they use that information to improve their practice.