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Best Practices in Research (BPR)

Mission Statement

Best Practices for Research (BPR) is a resource to help guide future research in sport psychology. BPR provides AASP student members with effective strategies for conducting and understanding best research practices. BPR informs readers of common obstacles and pitfalls that sports researchers face, offers general guidelines for overcoming and preventing them, and details the steps needed for a successful research project. BPR is created and updated by AASP student members.


The objectives of BPR are as follows:

  • Distribution of best practices for conducting research in sport psychology that is clear, concise, and easily applied
  • Deliver information in multiple media formats
  • Create a foundation for AASP student members new to the research process to confidently and competently contribute to the scientific community
  • Improve the research quality of AASP student members so that student members continue to strengthen the scientific products of the Association
  • Increase student member involvement in student initiatives through submission of ideas and suggestions to the BPR 


How to Get Involved with Research

Before you begin a research project, it may be helpful to learn more about how to get involved in research. This document features the following sections - Know Your Resources, Explore the Faculty Directory, Use Google Scholar and Reference Pages and Consider Summer Research Opportunities.

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Finding a Research Mentor

This document provides steps and tips for undergraduate students regarding the process of finding a reserach mentor.

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Finding a PhD/PsyD Research Mentor

This document provides steps and tips for doctoral students regarding the process of finding a research mentor.

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An Overview of Research Ethics

This ethics document provides information on general ethical guidelines in research, emphasizing the AASP and APA ethics codes. This document also provides practice scenarios of commonly encountered issues and potential solutions. The ethics document is intended for those students who may be interested in conducting their own research and should be used as a supplement to the resources provided at their own universities.

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How to Create an IRB Application

The IRB PowerPoint provides information on commonly required materials for creating institutional review board applications. It also gives tips on what aspects to include in an application, how to overcome common obstacles, and emphasizes the unique requirements that are at each institutional level. How to create an IRB application is intended for students who are beginning to undertake research and need to complete an application with their university. The PowerPoint presentation should be used as a supplement to the resources each student’s university provides.

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Choosing a Research Topic

Research is an element of many graduate programs and is often required of students to complete their degree. Even when research is not required to graduate, many students seek to gain research experience out of curiosity or to improve their curriculum vita/vitae (CV). Regardless of why you are participating in research, choosing a topic is often one of the most daunting aspects of the research process. Novice researchers often face the obstacle of choosing a topic that is narrow enough to be interesting and to add to the current literature, but broad enough to acquire information from the current literature. Ultimately, research is the foundation of applied work (i.e., evidence-based practice) in the field of Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology. Therefore, this worksheet may serve as a guide to assist you in identifying a research topic.

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How to Review the Literature

After selecting a research topic, you are now ready to collect and evaluate the current research. Although you may not be required to complete a full literature review, a thorough examination and understanding of the relevant literature is a crucial step of the research process nevertheless. Thus, the purpose of this worksheet is to guide you through the literature review process. However, you may need to change or adjust your research topic based on what you find during the lit review process. Additionally, keep in mind that it is common for students unfamiliar with the current literature to rework their research question entirely. 

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Hot Topics in Sport and Exercise Psychology

This quick guide is meant to aid you in your research studies. In this document, you will find a list of popular themes in sport and exercise psychology research along with examples of measurements associated with research in that area. Note: This is not a comprehensive document. If you believe that additional measures should be added to the list, please contact the current Chair of the BPR Initiative. 

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