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Measurement of Physical Activity, Exercise and Sport

Module titleMeasurement of Physical Activity, Exercise and Sport
Module codeESS2017
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Richard Pulsford (Lecturer)

Dr Lisa Price (Lecturer)

Dr Richard Pulsford (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity are strongly associated with positive health benefits for both individuals and populations.  The ability to accurately measure these behaviours is critical for establishing participation levels, screening for people who undertake insufficient levels of sport/exercise/physical activity, quantifying relationships with specific health outcomes and diseases, estimating overtraining and for determining the effectiveness of interventions.

In this module you will experiment with a range of wearable electronic devices that measure sport/exercise/ physical activity and some established self-report measures. In addition to developing practical experience with a range of measures you will also learn the relative strengths and weaknesses of each measure as well as how to choose an appropriate device for use in research and evaluation.

Teaching methods will include lectures, workshops and hands on experience using various measurement devices. To complete the module you will collect data using two different measures (one objective and one self-report) and then estimate the level of agreement between measures using appropriate statistical techniques.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module has three main aims:

  • Developing understanding in the differences between sport, exercise and physical activity and how they relate to health.
  • Learning how to measure sport/exercise/physical activity and the pros and cons of different measurement instruments. You will experiment with both self-report and objective measures.
  • Collecting physical activity data via two different measures and comparing the level of agreement.

Graduate attributes. As part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • The practical use of a variety of measures of sport, exercise and physical activity.
  • Applying measurement technologies to ‘real world’ problems.
  • People skills in communicating with peers and module teaching team.
  • Critical appraisal of a variety of measures of sport, exercise and physical activity.
  • Small group working in the collection of behavioural data.

Physical activity measurement research being undertaken by the teaching team will feed into all aspects of the programme and students will have the opportunity learn from researchers’ experiences.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in detail the terms sport, exercise, physical activity and their relation to health
  • 2. Undertake subjective and objective measures of physical activity
  • 3. Critically appraise approaches to the measurement of sport, exercise and physical activity
  • 4. Explain how to test the level of agreement between measures of behaviour
  • 5. Describe the decision-making required to select an appropriate measurement instrument

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Explain different evaluation methods
  • 7. Collect and analyse behavioural data
  • 8. Synthesise and critically appraise measurement methods
  • 9. Translate measurement knowledge into practical advice for sport and health coaches

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Manage self-learning; set and meet targets; manage time; solve problems, read for information
  • 11. Present ideas / information competently and critically
  • 12. Work in small groups

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The module will consist of a mixture of lectures, small group discussions and practicals.

The module will be divided into three phases as described in the module aims above with the following structure:

Phase 1 will focus on the reasons for measuring sport, exercise and physical activity, the definition of terms, the measurement options available and selection criteria for choosing between measures.

Phase 2 will focus on learning the practical use of a variety of the measures of sport, exercise and physical activity.

Phase 3 will focus on collecting and assessing the level of agreement between selected measures of sport, exercise and physical activity.

Each week will comprise of lectures and video content and small group work/practical work. Topics for small group work will focus on experimenting with various measurement instruments and statistical methods for measuring agreement.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Lecture, seminar or workshop
Guided Independent Study55Preparation for weekly tutorials, reading and ELE tasks
Guided Independent Study4Preparation for formative assessments
Guided Independent Study58Preparation for coursework


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Short answer quiz1 hour1, 3, 5, 6, 8Comparison with models answers and oral feedback from module team

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Data analysis and interpretation coursework1001500 words2-12Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Data analysis and interpretation courseworkData analysis and interpretation coursework (with different data) (100%)2-12August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to undertake a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Hardman AE, and Stensel DJ. (2009). Physical activity and health (2nd Edition). London: Routledge.
  • Thomas J, Nelson J, Silverman S. (2015). Research Methods in Physical Activity-7th Edition. Human Kinetics

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Sport, exercise, physical activity, population science, health, measurement, reliability, validity

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date