Systemic Observation Research: Overview, Protocols, & Links

GENERAL OVERVIEW:

McKenzie, T. L., & van der Mars, H. (2015). Top 10 research questions related to assessing physical activity and its contexts using systematic observation. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 86(1), 13-29. doi 10.1080/02701367.2015.991264

McKenzie, T. L. (2010). 2009 C. H. McCloy Lecture:Seeing is believing: Observing physical activity and its contexts. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport. 81(2), 113-122.

McKenzie, T. L. (2002). The use of direct observation to assess physical activity. In G. Welk (Ed.), Physical activity assessments for health-related research (pp. 179-195). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

McKenzie, T. L. (1991). Observational measures of children’s physical activity. Journal of School Health, 61, 224-227.


Each of the following systems is based on the same physical activity codes which have been validated by heart rate, accelerometer, and pedometer.

The 10 observer training videos identified below are also available on my YouTube channel by searching “Thomas McKenzie”.

1. SOFIT: System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time

Purpose. To obtain simultaneous objective data on student activity levels, lesson context in which they occur (i.e., how lesson content is delivered, including time for fitness, skill drills, game play, knowledge, and management), and teacher interactions relative to promoting physical activity and fitness. Teacher gender, class gender composition, and lesson location, and number of students in class are also recorded.

Original paper. McKenzie, T. L., Sallis, & Nader, P. R. (1991). SOFIT: System for observing fitness instruction time. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 11, 195-205.

Protocol. McKenzie, T. L. (2015). SOFIT: System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time.
Available at: http://activelivingresearch.org/sofit-system-observing-fitness-instruction-time

Observer Training Video. McKenzie, T. L. (2009, March). System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT): Introduction and Coding Lessons. (93 minute video). San Diego State University, San Diego, California. (T. McKenzie, writer, producer, narrator; D. Graves, editor).
Available at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/soplay-soparc-3-assessment/id529513043?i=115757894

SOFIT audio pacing file. McKenzie, T. L. (2009). SOFIT observation pacing electronic audio file. (48 minutes).
Available at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/soplay-soparc-3-assessment/id529513043?i=115757894

2. SOPLAY: System for Observing Play and Leisure in Youth

Purpose
. To obtain objective data on the number of participants and their physical activity levels during play and leisure opportunities in targeted areas. Separate scans are made for girls and boys, and simultaneous entries for contextual characteristics of areas including their accessibility, usability, and whether or not supervision, organized activities, and equipment are provided. The predominant type of activity engaged in by area users is also recorded (e.g., basketball, dance).

Original paper. McKenzie, T. L., Marshall, S. J., Sallis, J. F., & Conway, T. L. (2000). Leisure-time physical activity in school environments: An observational study using SOPLAY. Preventive Medicine, 30, 70-77.

Protocol. Mckenzie, T. L. (2006). SOPLAY: System for Observing Play and Leisure in Youth.
Available at:http://activelivingresearch.org/node/10642

Observer Training Videos. McKenzie, T. L. (2005, November). Systematic Observation: SOPLAY/SOPARC Introduction, Practice, and Assessment. (27 minute total). San Diego State University, San Diego, California. (T. McKenzie, writer, producer, narrator; D. Graves, editor).

SOPLAY/SOPARC PART 1-INTRODUCTION (15:26)

SOPLAY/SOPARC PART 2-CODING PRACTICE (5:47)

SOPLAY/SOPARC PART 3-ASSESSMENT (4:54)

3. SOPARC: System for Observing Play and Active Recreation in Communities

  1. To obtain objective data on the number of participants and their physical activity levels in park and recreation settings. Simultaneously codes contextual characteristics of areas including their accessibility, usability, and whether or not supervision, organized activities, and equipment are provided. Expands SOPLAY by making separate scans for race/ethnicity and age groupings.

Original paper. McKenzie, T. L., Cohen, D. A., Sehgal, A., Williamson, S., & Golinelli, D. (2006). System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Communities (SOPARC): Reliability and feasibility measures. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 1, S203-217.

Protocol. Mckenzie, T. L (2006). SOPARC: System for Observing Play and Active Recreation in Communities. Protocols, mapping strategies, forms).
Available at: http://activelivingresearch.org/node/10654

Observer Training Videos. McKenzie, T. L. (2005, November). Systematic Observation: SOPLAY/SOPARC Introduction, Practice, and Assessment. (27 minute total). San Diego State University, San Diego, California. (T. McKenzie, writer, producer, narrator; D. Graves, editor).
(SEE VIDEO LINKS IN THE SOPLAY SECTION ABOVE)

App for I-PAD. iSOPARC is a free downloadable application suitable for use with both SOPARC and SOPLAY. It enables data to be entered from the field and to be stored, processed, and exported.
iSOPARC website.https://ciafel.fade.up.pt/isoparc/
Available at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/isoparc/id626580694?mt=8

Online App: RAND has a free online app that automatically aggregates and summarizes SOPARC data, creates bar charts, and permits downloads to excel files.
Available at: http://www.rand.org/health/surveys_tools/soparc/user-guide.html.

4. SOCARP: System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play

Purpose. To obtain objective data on children’s physical activity levels on the playground while simultaneously assessing the contextual variables of social group size, activity type, and pro- and anti-social interactions with peers.

Original paper: Ridgers, N. D., Stratton, G., & McKenzie, T. L. (2010). Reliability and validity of the System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP). Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 7, 17-25.

Protocol. Ridgers, N. D., McKenzie, T. L., & Stratton, G. (2011). System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play: Description and Procedures Manual.

5. BEACHES: Behaviors of Eating and Activity for Children’s Health: Evaluation System

Purpose. To obtain objective data on children’s at home physical activity, sedentary, and eating behaviors and selected environmental (social and physical) variables that may influence these events.

Original Paper: McKenzie, T. L., Sallis, J. F., Patterson, T. L., et al. (1991). BEACHES: An observational system for assessing children’s eating and physical activity behaviors and associated events. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 24, 141-151.

Protocol. Mckenzie, T. L (2009). BEACHES: Behaviors of Eating and Activity for Children’s Health: Evaluation System.
Available at:http://activelivingresearch.org/beaches-behaviors-eating-and-activity-childrens-health-evaluation-system

6. SOPARNA: System for Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Natural Areas

Purpose. To obtain data on participants and their physical activity levels in wilderness and natural open spaces. Records (a) characteristics individuals (i.e., gender, age group, apparent race/ethnicity, activity level) and (b) contextual characteristics of target areas including their accessibility, usability, and whether or not supervision, organized activities, equipment, and recreational supports are being provided.

Protocol. Sasidharan, V., & Mckenzie, T. L. (2014). SOPARNA: System for Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Natural Areas: Description and Procedures Manual. San Diego State University.
Available at: http://activelivingresearch.org/node/13208