Martial Arts and Adolescent Maturity: help with research?

Phoenix44

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My son is a high school junior; he's been a martial artist since he was 6 years old. He's currently in the early stages of his Intel research project, looking at martial arts and adolescent maturity. He hypothesizes that participation in the martial arts helps kids make better choices in other areas of their lives. He needs a mentor to help him with research design and statistical evaluation. Anyone out there in the field of psych, adolescent behavior, statistics, education or research? If you can help, or if know someone who'd be interested, please respond to his post on the "Meet & Greet" forum. Thanks.

Hey everybody, my name is Ethan, and I am currently a high school student in New York. I have begun research for the INTEL ISEF competition, a rather prestigious competition for research students and specialists alike.

My research topic is whether there is an effect on either the participation in martial arts (or duration of training) on the maturity of adolescents.

I'm looking for a specialist or professor who would be interested in my project, and willing to serve as both an advisor and mentor.

If anybody out there is interested in my topic, or would like to know more, I would certainly respond to questions. Thank you, and happy holidays!
 

exile

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My son is a high school junior; he's been a martial artist since he was 6 years old. He's currently in the early stages of his Intel research project, looking at martial arts and adolescent maturity. He hypothesizes that participation in the martial arts helps kids make better choices in other areas of their lives. He needs a mentor to help him with research design and statistical evaluation. Anyone out there in the field of psych, adolescent behavior, statistics, education or research? If you can help, or if know someone who'd be interested, please respond to his post on the "Meet & Greet" forum. Thanks.

Hi Phoenix.... this is what I suggest: that your son Google the Psychology Departments of a dozen universities or so and get their email address, then send a note to each one, explaining his project. The email will be received by the secretary or admin assistants there and will then be resent to individual faculty members, usually by some specific alias that directs the message to all of them at once. All you need is one or two responses from interested faculty and you're on your way.

A lot of what experimental psychologists do is fret about meticulous experimental design and number-crunching technologies that can get maximum information out of data. What your son needs advice on is exactly what he has to do to define a measure of maturity that he can apply to adolescent behavior generally. And then he has to obtain data that bears on the actual behavior of an actual population. He'll have to work out how to establish the right causal linkages as well: are students exposed to MAs making better choices because of the MA itself—or because students who are disciplined enough to study MAs for significant periods of time also going to be, by virtue of that discipline, better equipped to make rational choices about other aspects of behavior? So you need to control for that possibility... it's a tricky and challenging project, for sure. But you should be able to get some useful advice from the research psychology community, if you contact enough places and hit it lucky. There have got to be at least a few lab psychers out there who do MAs themselves and would be interested in such a project, eh?
 
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Phoenix44

Phoenix44

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this is what I suggest: that your son Google the Psychology Departments of a dozen universities or so and get their email address, then send a note to each one, explaining his project.

Yes, he's been doing exactly that, with not much luck. So now he's approaching it from the martial arts angle, hoping to find a martial artist who's in the field of education or psychology. We figured he can reach a lot of martial artists in a short period of time through MT. SOMEBODY's likely to know SOMEBODY.

Unfortunately, if he can't find a mentor for his original research, he may have to drop the project and just hop onto some professor's research in worm behavior or something. But his martial arts project would be a lot more interesting. And applicable. I mean, WE know the benefits of martial arts training, but wouldn't it be nice if there was actual research to prove it?
 

exile

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Yes, he's been doing exactly that, with not much luck.

Hmmm... that's too bad. It seems like the kind of thing which a clinician interested in behavioral therapies might well be drawn to. People who are trying to work out interventions for troubled kids, for example, and looking for nontraditional therapies with better results than the standard ones deliver.

So now he's approaching it from the martial arts angle, hoping to find a martial artist who's in the field of education or psychology. We figured he can reach a lot of martial artists in a short period of time through MT. SOMEBODY's likely to know SOMEBODY.

This could work, but it would be nice if he could target his appeal more sharply. Now, I don't know anything about this guy Frank Vargo, and maybe some of our MT folks could tell you something more specific... but check out his site here. He might be someone to contact directly to get suggestions and further contacts. Clearly an experienced, advanced MAist and a practicing psychologist... sounds like the right combination.

Unfortunately, if he can't find a mentor for his original research, he may have to drop the project and just hop onto some professor's research in worm behavior or something. But his martial arts project would be a lot more interesting. And applicable. I mean, WE know the benefits of martial arts training, but wouldn't it be nice if there was actual research to prove it?

I agree, it's potentially an extremely useful line of investigation. Try contacting this Vargo chap, and maybe a few others (I just googled 'martial arts' and 'clinical psychology' and his site popped up along with a ton of others). It might be worth a try...
 

MA-Caver

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I can think of a few examples off the top of my head of how MA has helped improved the attitudes and behavior of kids that have learned it over an extended period of time. However I'm not qualified under the specifics you mentioned... not by a long shot. Wish I could help though.
Your son has chosen an admirable and worthy subject/topic and I hope that he will continue it ... even if he has to drop the subject and move on to worms that he won't shelve the project entirely and continue to pursue it.
Just off the top of my head it seems that MA and the instructions that come with it, one of being of discipline (self and the listening to authority) gets ingrained over time with the child and they learn concentration, focus, restraint, judgment, control without ever really being conscious of it and it carries itself outside the dojo. This reflects in their attitudes towards school work and interactions with adults and their own peers.

Very heady work ahead of him to be sure... but worth a study IMO.

Good luck to him. :asian:
 

Makalakumu

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As exile pointed out, the question is very broad. It would take a while to pull together all of the factors. How much time does he have? My fear is that he wouldn't have enough time to collect the needed data. That said, would it be possible to narrow the research question? I am interested in this project. I have a Master of Education and I have taught martial arts to children in public/private schools. I don't know if you are looking for a person with a higher degree, but your fishing trip must may have snagged a little guy.
 

exile

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As exile pointed out, the question is very broad. It would take a while to pull together all of the factors. How much time does he have? My fear is that he wouldn't have enough time to collect the needed data. That said, would it be possible to narrow the research question? I am interested in this project. I have a Master of Education and I have taught martial arts to children in public/private schools. I don't know if you are looking for a person with a higher degree, but your fishing trip must may have snagged a little guy.

Yes, that's a key issue. And it would indeed be very helpful to try to narrow the focus in a direction that would enable you to quantify the problem; doing that would make the necessary data much more easy to obtain.

I'm sure the guy I mentioned in my previous post can't be the only MAist out there with a professional psychology background. If you contact him and a few others, you can probably get more names, andvery importantpointers to bibliography, which can generate still more names and places to consult. Once you can tap into publications on this problem, you have a potentially huge pool of resources you can go to, including specific people. But maunakumu's right: the time frame question is critical.
 

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Yes, he's been doing exactly that, with not much luck. So now he's approaching it from the martial arts angle, hoping to find a martial artist who's in the field of education or psychology. We figured he can reach a lot of martial artists in a short period of time through MT. SOMEBODY's likely to know SOMEBODY.

Unfortunately, if he can't find a mentor for his original research, he may have to drop the project and just hop onto some professor's research in worm behavior or something. But his martial arts project would be a lot more interesting. And applicable. I mean, WE know the benefits of martial arts training, but wouldn't it be nice if there was actual research to prove it?
I'm sure you have a couple colleges or universities near you. Rather than simply email, call. Make an appointment. Or even just show up and and ask someone.

But realize that they just might be kind of busy... The more work your son does setting up and planning, the more he'll show them that he's serious and worth their time. He should start with some research about indicators of maturity and testing models, probably, for example.
 
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Phoenix44

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As exile pointed out, the question is very broad. It would take a while to pull together all of the factors. How much time does he have? My fear is that he wouldn't have enough time to collect the needed data. That said, would it be possible to narrow the research question? I am interested in this project. I have a Master of Education and I have taught martial arts to children in public/private schools. I don't know if you are looking for a person with a higher degree, but your fishing trip must may have snagged a little guy.

I suspect he has about a year, but I'm not 100% sure. No, he doesn't need anyone with any kind of degree at all--just an adult who can help him with design and analysis. And yes, he does intend to narrow the question(s). I suggested he use already available adolescent risk-taking questionnaires (NYC has one, for instance), pick a couple of questions, and use those.

I'll have him contact you, thanks.
 

Gordon Nore

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Ethan,

Terrific topic for study. Might be worth contacting KickStart at http://www.kick-start.org/ to see if they can point to any independent research on the subject, as a place to start.

You will need to focus your topic of maturity, as it's highly subjective. If it's based on choices adolescents make, you have to keep in mind young people can only choose what they know about, and what's available to them. This is where a qualified mentor will be so important. You've got to figure out how to collect and quantify your data.

Perhaps through your school or public library, you can dig into subscription databases -- not the free web -- that will give access to proper research articles. This is another way of finding out if there are already people doing this work. In addition to looking at Psych departments in universities, you might also look at education departments, which train teachers.

I think it's an outstanding topic worthy or research.

Good luck.
 

HeartofJuyoMk2

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Sorry about my lack of responses, I've been a bit busy and stressed, but I've decided to have my survey created electronically through Survey Monkey or another similar web site. I'd like to post the link here eventually, so if any teenagers besides me are on these forums, they can participate.
 
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