University of Munster, Germany
The goals of this talk are: a) to show problems of research in exercise interventions and b) to provide frameworks from evaluation science to overcome these problems.
In designing and evaluating exercise interventions, we: a) study human-made objects as our objects of research, b) include the practice of design and c) use functional or normative concepts in definitions and evaluations. This is what S. O. Hansson (2007) calls technological science, which is neither a branch nor application of natural science, but a type of its own.
The outcome of this kind of research should and usually is in fact assessed and rated (evaluation). Researchers, funders, representatives of the target group, and other individuals being affected by such a program (stakeholders) increasingly call for evaluation. Often, the term evaluation is used as a synonym for assessment of effectivity. However, this view neglects the design and implementation aspects of a programme.
As an alternative, frameworks such as theory-driven evaluation (Chen, 1990, 2005) and the guidance for developing and evaluating complex interventions, implemented by the UK Medical Research Council (Craig et al., 2008), are introduced using examples. These frameworks explicitely include planning and implementation of a program. Thus, the evaluation results yield important information whether, for instance, the implementation of an exercise programme or the exercises themselves should be revised in order to improve outcomes.