Physical education across the international media: a five-year analysis

B. Hyndman, B. SueSee, N. McMaster, S. Harvey, R. Jefferson-Buchanan, V. Cruickshank, M. Barnes, S. Pill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    The message of physical education (PE) has been one of a ‘contested ground’ with regular debate around its purpose, alongside conceptual confusions. A major channel of communication that strongly influences public perceptions is through mainstream media, yet how media platforms have reported on the PE profession has received a scarcity of research attention. The aim of this research was to investigate international media reporting of PE over a five-year period. To generate key concepts and themes emerging from the international PE media (English speaking), researchers conducted a Leximancer text mining analysis of media articles published via the Google News function between January 2013 and March 2018. A PE for health discourse was evident from across the international media reporting of PE with regular concepts and themes focused upon the ‘physical’ including activity, health, obesity, physical activity and exercise. It was also evident that there were clear links between the concept of ‘physical education’ with regulatory concepts such as ‘requirements, reporting and law’. Notable thematic absences related to how PE goals can be met through teaching, learning and programming. Unpacking conceptual and thematic insight into how the PE profession has been reported into the public sphere sheds light on key trends, discourses and influences that are being communicated to the public across global contexts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)274-291
    Number of pages18
    JournalSport, Education and Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020


    • communication
    • discourse
    • Leximancer
    • Physical education
    • reporting

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