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Abstract

International Journal of Exercise Science 10(7): 926-941, 2017. Applied research experiences can provide numerous benefits to undergraduate students, however few studies have assessed the perceptions of Exercise Science (EXS) students to an applied research experience. The purpose of this study was two-fold: 1) to describe the rationale and implementation of an applied research experience into an EXS curriculum and 2) to evaluate EXS undergraduate students’ perceptions of an applied research experience. An EXS measurement course was chosen for implementation of an applied research experience. The applied research experience required groups of students to design, implement, and evaluate a student-led research project. Fourteen questions were constructed, tailored to EXS undergraduate students, to assess students’ perceptions of the experience. Qualitative analysis was used for all applicable data, with repeated trends noted; quantitative data were collapsed to determine frequencies. There was an overall positive student perception of the experience and 85.7% of students agreed an applied research experience should be continued. 84.7% of students perceived the experience as educationally enriching, while 92.8% reported the experience was academically challenging. This experience allowed students to develop comprehensive solutions to problems that arose throughout the semester; while facilitating communication, collaboration, and problem solving. Students believed research experiences were beneficial, but could be time consuming when paired with other responsibilities. Results suggest an applied research experience has the potential to help further the development of EXS undergraduate students. Understanding student perceptions of an applied research experience may prove useful to faculty interested in engaging students in the research process.

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