Sociology, History, and Philosophy in the Research Quarterly

Article excerpt

The accounts of our subdiscipline's contributions to The Research Quarterly are similar. Sociology, history, and philosophy operate at some distance from the biological sciences. The research methods used by scholars in each of our domains address distinctive issues related to objectivity and, thus, validity. Our contributions to The Research Quarterly have been modest, numbering about 240 articles, or slightly over 3 per volume. In short, we have enjoyed only a minority presence in The Research Quarterly during its 75 years of existence. Our stories, however, also diverge in important ways. Our research methods are different, and our relationships with our parent disciplines are not the same. In addition, our perceptions of The Research Quarterly as a potential repository for our respective publications vary considerably.

Key words: humanities, physical activity, scholarship, social sciences

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The three following accounts of our subdisciplines and their contributions to The Research Quarterly (RQ: the name was changed to the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport in 1980 but will be referred to as the RQ throughout the remainder of this article) are similar. All three areas operate at some distance from the biological sciences. The research methods used by scholars in each of our domains address distinctive issues related to objectivity and, thus, validity. Our publications invariably touch on such difficult-to-measure phenomena as what individuals think, how culture develops, and what groups of people believe now or valued in the past.

As a group, our three subdisciplines have contributed only marginally to The Research Quarterly. In round numbers, we produced about 240 articles for the journal, or slightly over 3 articles per volume. While some of this work has been of high quality, and while our subdisciplines have carved out a firm if small niche in RQ across the decades, it is also clear that our presence is dwarfed by such subdisciplines as physiology, biomechanics, and pedagogy. Consequently, it can be said that our collective story is much the same. We have enjoyed only a minority presence in The Research Quarterly during its 75 years of existence.

It is also the case, however, that our stories diverge in important ways. Our research methods are different. Our relationships with our parent disciplines are not the same. The development of our subdisciplines in the 1960s and 1970s and the founding of our specialized journals have taken diverse routes. And, significantly, our perceptions of The Research Quarterly as a potential repository for our respective publications vary considerably. Sociology and history are far more visible in RQ than is philosophy.

The following pages, consequently, provide an account of both convergence and divergence. In similar and different ways, under common and diverse conditions, sociology, history, and philosophy have helped Research Quarterly fulfill its mission as valuable interdisciplinary journal in kinesiology.

Sociocultural Aspects of Physical Activity Research as Represented in the The Research Quarterly

The main purpose of the section is to describe how the sociocultural aspects of physical activity research have been represented in the The Research Quarterly and how this has contributed to human movement scholarship. As a preface to that task, we begin with three general statements. First, the word "sociocultural" is used in this paper as a general concept concerned with the systematic study of social phenomena that overlap the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. Second, there is no absolute standard for classifying human movement study and research as sociocultural. We have given priority to RQ research contributions that seemed to emphasize variables, issues, or questions that were sociological, anthropological, or cultural studies. There was a great deal of ambiguity even in doing that. …