Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

J. Nicholls Eastmond


J. Nicholls Eastmond


M. David Merrill


Robert J. Mills


Rolayne Wilson


Byron R. Burnham


Millions of people, young and old, participate in sporting events in the roles of athlete or spectator or both. Sportsmanship affects the experience of both groups of participants. There is an absence of evidence showing that software that is designed using a set of research-based rules, can make a lasting, or even short-term difference in (a) the acquisition of sportsmanship knowledge and attitudes, and (b) the way children respond when placed in sporting situations, either as athletes or as spectators.

The purpose of this study was twofold. First, determine whether schoolchildren, grades three through five, who use STAR Sportsmanship, a computer-based software program that was designed using a set of research-based rules and is rich with visual/ auditory examples and nonexamples, will (a) acquire more sportsmanship knowledge and attitudes, and (b) exhibit more sportsmanlike behaviors than those who do not use the software. Second, determine how those two outcomes would be impacted if all visual/ auditory examples (modeling based) were removed and replaced with auditory-only examples (lecture based).

Through the use of a pre-post questionnaire of attitudes, and then with observations of behavior while youngsters were engaged in athletic events, changes in sportsmanship knowledge and attitudes were measured. This study compared questionnaire response levels and observation data of participants who either received no treatment or were assigned to use either a modeling-based or a lecture-based version of software that was developed to teach sportsmanship attitudes and behaviors to children.

In regards to sportsmanship attitude and understanding, there was no measurable difference when comparing the pooled treatment group scores with the control group. The modeling treatment appeared to have a small effect when compared to both the lecture group and the control group. Furthermore, the findings showed some differences in measured attitudes and understanding between the grades, with the highest levels of sportsmanship understanding in those at the fourth grade.

In regards to behavior, placement in either treatment group of the control group did not make a statistically significant impact. Grade placement, however, did however appear to make a significant impact.




This work made publicly available electronically on October 19, 2012.