Gender Differences in Athletics: Baseball and Softball Knowledge
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
FEHLKER, J. H. (2003). Gender Differences in Athletics: Baseball and Softball Knowledge. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 6. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 21, 2017 .

Gender Differences in Athletics: Baseball and Softball Knowledge
JOSEPH H. FEHLKER
Missouri Western State University DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to see whether differences in the knowledge of the sports of baseball and softball existed based on gender. Additional comparisons that were made included gender differences in knowledge based on the title of the survey and gender differences in the ability to accurately gauge knowledge. The two sports that were selected for this study were baseball and softball. While baseball is generally considered a traditionally male sport and softball a traditionally female sport, the two share many rules and much common knowledge. For this study, the naturally occurring independent variable of gender was used. In addition, the subjects were randomly assigned to either the “Baseball” survey or the “Softball” survey, when in fact the two surveys were identical. At the end of the survey, the subjects were also asked to guess how many items they thought they had answered correctly. Two two-way ANOVA analyses were performed on the data. One ANOVA was performed using the number of questions the subjects actually answered correctly on the survey and the other was performed using the subjects’ guesses in terms of correct responses. Significant results were found only in that males were found to get significantly more questions right when compared to females. Also, males were significantly different from females in terms of the number of questions that they thought they got correct. The results of the data show us that, while males answered more of the questions correctly than did females, they also expected to get more right. It is also interesting to note that females underestimated the number of questions they believed they would get correct while males overestimated this number.

INTRODUCTION
Athletics have been around for a number of years. Beginning with the early Olympic contests in ancient Greece, through the medieval sports of archery and falconry and continuing to the advancement of what we now know as the modern-day sports in the early 20th century, sports and athletics are a facet of society that continue to gain interest and influence our everyday lives. In the current times we live in, athletics are a part of almost every person’s life in one way or another. The sports entertainment industry has been fueled with the advances of broadcast networks such as ESPN, Which exclusively air sports shows, contests and games 24 hours a day. In addition, the sports market continues to grow as team and player merchandise becomes more and more popular and big name players from large-market cities become commonplace in our homes. One sport that is particularly intriguing is the sport of baseball. Baseball has been around since the late 1800s, when Alexander Cartwright founded the sport. Baseball has survived the two turns of the century, the Great Depression, and two World Wars to evolve in to the game as we know it today. Today the game of baseball is as popular as it has ever been. In 1999-2000, baseball ranked as the fourth-most popular high school sport for boys, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Major League Baseball, the highest professional baseball league in the United States, has more than 30 teams in two leagues with three divisions within each league. Three U.S. cities have more than one team, and the teams are spread to all four corners of the continental United States. In addition to baseball, a sport that is very similar in style of play and rules is the sport of softball. At the high school level, softball is a very popular sport among females. Softball ranks as the fourth most popular sport among high school females, with over 350,000 participants during the 2000-2001 season. Almost 13,000 high schools in the United States offer female fast-pitch softball, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. With the recent success of the Women’s United States team in the Olympics, who won the gold medal over Japan in the 2000 Olympics, softball has been increasing in popularity and notoriety in the United States. Women such as Lisa Fernandez, Michele Smith, and Dot Richardson are making a big name for themselves, causing media, entertainment and advertising frenzies that have never before been associated with women’s sports. The sports of baseball and softball are very similar in that they have the same overall concept. The idea is to score more runs than the other team before the predetermined number of innings expires. The playing field, bats, ball, players, bases, fences, and offensive and defensive concepts, although not exactly the same, are very similar in both sports. For many obvious reasons, men and women differ significantly in several areas. However, gender differences area an area that has intrigued science for many decades. Scientists and researchers have long been curious as to how and why men and women differ. Gender studies have been looked at in a variety of disciplines, including the area of athletics. One area in which gender differences have been looked at is with regards to weight training. One study found a number of significant results. For example, far more women than men were concerned with the fact that too much weight training and, therefore, too much muscle mass, would make them less attractive physically. A point that I found to be particularly interesting was that women were actually more committed to their weight training program than were men. Another interesting difference between men and women was that 49 percent of women take a great amount of pleasure in being strong compared to only 28 percent of men (Duff, Hong, and Royce, 1999). While many sports are characterized as either being a masculine or feminine sport, there are also characteristics within sports that can be categorized. Studies have shown a number of interesting facts with regards to this concept. Sports that were found to be highly masculine were boxing, motor sports, and weight lifting (Koivula, 2001). This is interesting in that, while weight training was found to be identified more with males than females, other studies have shown that females may, in fact, benefit more from weight training. The next logical question then is do males and females get the same benefits out of athletic participation? With regards to self-image, significant differences have been found when comparing male and female self-images through athletic participation on both sociological and psychological scales (Kuga and Douctre, 1994). An interesting study was also performed as to what motivates collegiate athletes to participate in sports. As has been shown in previous studies, a main motive for male athletes is the need for competition. It was also shown that females tend to vale the social aspects of sport more than the actual competition (Flood and Hellstedt, 1991). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine whether gender differences exist in the area of athletic knowledge, especially concerning the sports of baseball and softball. Both common knowledge and standard rules of the games will be compared. Gender differences in the gauging of knowledge will also be looked at.


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
The participants for my study came from two general studies courses at Missouri Western State College. One class was Dr. Jim Huntermark’s Psychology 101 course and the other was Dr. Brent Walker’s Physical Education 101 course. A total of 75 students took part in the study, 51 of them were female and the remaining 24 were male. The participants ranged in age from 18 to 42, with an overall mean of 19.93. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group received the survey titled “Baseball” and the other group received the survey titled “Softball.”

MATERIALS
The materials for my experiment consisted of a simple paper survey. The survey was one page long with 15 questions regarding the rules and knowledge of the sports of baseball and softball. The questions were of the true/false variety. While there were two separate surveys, one titled “Baseball” and the other titled “Softball,” the questions on the surveys were identical. An example of the surveys are provided in Appendixes A and B. Demographic questions concerning the participant’s age and gender were included at the bottom, as well as a question asking them how many questions they believed that answered correctly.

PROCEDURE
Both instructors were contacted prior to the administration of the survey and their consent was received. Upon entering the classroom, the instructor informed the class that they were going to receive a survey. I proceeded to inform the subjects that the could ask any questions they had. I told them that they could withdraw from the study at any point in time without penalty. They were also informed that their instructor was going to provide them with extra credit for participating in the study, but that their grade could not be negatively affected. The surveys were then randomly handed out to the subjects. The subjects were given as much time as was necessary to complete the survey and they were collected immediately upon completion. I then thanked the subjects and informed them that the information they provided would remain confidential. This procedure was then repeated for the other class.


RESULTS
A 2 (sport) x 2 (sex of the subject) between-subject factorial ANOVA was calculated comparing the actual survey scores for subjects who took one of two differently titled surveys and who were either male or female. A significant main effect for sex of the subject was found (F(1,71) = 14.099, p < .05). Male subjects had a higher score (m=11.63, sd=1.64) than female subjects (m=9.80, sd=1.95). The main effect for which survey the subject received was not significant (F(1,71) = .592, p > .05). Finally, the interaction was also not significant (F(1,71) = 1.39, p > .05). Thus, it seems as though only the gender of the subject had a significant effect on the actual results of the survey.A 2 (sport) x 2 (sex of the subject) between-subject factorial ANOVA was calculated comparing the subjects’ guesses of their survey scores for subjects who took one of two differently titled surveys and who were either male or female. A significant main effect for sex of the subject was found (F(1,66) = 14.02, p < .05). Male subjects guessed that they would receive a higher score (m=12.05, sd=2.68) than female subjects (m=8.17, sd=4.19). The main effect for which survey the subject received was not significant (F(1,66) = .05, p > .05). Finally, the interaction was also not significant (F(1,66) = 2.00, p > .05). Thus, it seems that only the gender of the subject had a significant effect on their estimation of the number of questions they got correct.It should also be noted that male subjects actually estimated that they had more correct answers (m=12.05, sd=2.68) than they actually did (m=11.63, sd=1.64), while female subjects underestimated (m=8.17, sd=4.19) the number of questions they got correct (m=9.80, sd=1.95).


DISCUSSION
This study demonstrated that gender differences do exist in with regards to athletic knowledge, specifically the sports of baseball and softball. This study also demonstrated that the title of the survey does not affect performance and there was no interaction between the title of the survey and the sex of the subject. Although I was not able to find any literature that had indicated previous studies in this area, this study is consistent with the fact that there are common gender differences in the area of athletics. The study exhibited a number of limitations. The survey was only fifteen questions and was only given to 75 people, 51 of which were female. The study was only given to undergraduate college students in required general studies courses and this may have prevented an entirely accurate sampling of the population. I think that the study exhibits good external validity. It demonstrates the knowledge of the subject well and reflects their real-world experience with the sports of baseball or softball. Subsequent research would need to concern itself with several different things. One, I think that a more in-depth survey would be required. In addition, I think that the survey would need to be given to a greater sample in more disciplines. Lastly, I think that more emphasis on the title could affect the subjects performance.


REFERENCES
Duff, R.W., Hong, L.K, & Royce, W.S. (1999). Gender comparisons in weight training for collegiate sports. Gender Issues, 17, 74-85.Flood, S.Q. & Hellstedt, J.C. (1991). Gender differences in motivation for intercollegiate athletic participation. Journal of Sport Behavior, 14, 159-167.Koivula, N. (2001). Perceives characteristics of sports categorized as gender-neutral, feminine, and masculine. Journal of Sport Behavior, 24, 377-393.Kuga, D.J. & Douctre, G. (1994). Athletic participation and self-image: Are male and female athletes reaping similar benefits? Physical Educator, 51, 194-199.


APPENDIX A
BASEBALL SURVEYPlease complete the following survey regarding the rules of the game of baseball. Please answer all questions to the best of your ability, leaving no answer blank. Remember to read each question completely and ask questions if you do not understand a question. All questions are true/false. Thank you.1. Excluding the designated hitter, each team has a total of 9 players participating in the game at one time, according to standard collegiate rules.a. True b. False2. A batted ball that hits the foul pole in the air is considered a home run.a. True b. False3. If a defensive player makes a legal catch of a ball in the air, but he is in foul territory, an out is still recorded.a. True b. False4. A sacrifice fly is recorded any time a batter hits the ball into the air and a runner advances to the next base, regardless of what bases are involved.a. True b. False5. The pitcher is allowed to throw a variety of different pitches, including a fastball, curveball, or change-up, in an attempt to get the hitter out.a. True b. False6. According to professional rules, there is a limit to the number of hitters that can bat in any one inning.a. True b. False7. A ball must be caught with the glove or mitt on the fielder’s hand in order to be considered a successful putout.a. True b. False8. The first baseman, catcher and center fielder generally have fielder’s gloves that are drastically different from those of the other defensive players.a. True b. False9. In order for the offensive team to score a run, a player who reaches base need only touch 2 bases and home plate.a. True b. False10. The number of balls and strikes required for a pitcher to record a strike out or to issue a base on balls is the same.a. True b. False11. There is no limit to the number of times a batter may foul off pitches during a single at-bat.a. True b. False12. There are a variety of ways to advance runners on offense, including base hits, walks, stolen bases, and sacrifices.a. True b. False13. The shortstop, when referred to in the scorebook, is represented with the number 5.a. True b. False14. According to professional rules, once a starting player has been taken out of the game, he may only be put back into the game one other time.a. True b. False15. With less than two outs and first base unoccupied or at any time with two outs, if a batter strikes out, but the catcher either drops the ball or the ball hits the dirt before being caught, the batter may attempt to advance to first base safely.a. True b. FalsePlease list the following:Age: _______Gender: Male FemaleNumber of questions you think you answered correctly on the survey (out of 15): _________


APPENDIX B
SOFTBALL SURVEYPlease complete the following survey regarding the rules of the game of softball. Please answer all questions to the best of your ability, leaving no answer blank. Remember to read each question completely and ask questions if you do not understand a question. All questions are true/false. Thank you.1. Excluding the designated hitter, each team has a total of 9 players participating in the game at one time, according to standard collegiate rules.a. True b. False2. A batted ball that hits the foul pole in the air is considered a home run.a. True b. False3. If a defensive player makes a legal catch of a ball in the air, but he is in foul territory, an out is still recorded.a. True b. False4. A sacrifice fly is recorded any time a batter hits the ball into the air and a runner advances to the next base, regardless of what bases are involved.a. True b. False5. The pitcher is allowed to throw a variety of different pitches, including a fastball, curveball, or change-up, in an attempt to get the hitter out.a. True b. False6. According to professional rules, there is a limit to the number of hitters that can bat in any one inning.a. True b. False7. A ball must be caught with the glove or mitt on the fielder’s hand in order to be considered a successful putout.a. True b. False8. The first baseman, catcher and center fielder generally have fielder’s gloves that are drastically different from those of the other defensive players.a. True b. False9. In order for the offensive team to score a run, a player who reaches base need only touch 2 bases and home plate.a. True b. False10. The number of balls and strikes required for a pitcher to record a strike out or to issue a base on balls is the same.a. True b. False11. There is no limit to the number of times a batter may foul off pitches during a single at-bat.a. True b. False12. There are a variety of ways to advance runners on offense, including base hits, walks, stolen bases, and sacrifices.a. True b. False13. The shortstop, when referred to in the scorebook, is represented with the number 5.a. True b. False14. According to professional rules, once a starting player has been taken out of the game, he may only be put back into the game one other time.a. True b. False15. With less than two outs and first base unoccupied or at any time with two outs, if a batter strikes out, but the catcher either drops the ball or the ball hits the dirt before being caught, the batter may attempt to advance to first base safely.a. True b. FalsePlease list the following:Age: _______Gender: Male FemaleNumber of questions you think you answered correctly on the survey (out of 15): _________

Submitted 12/4/2003 12:31:29 PM
Last Edited 12/4/2003 12:49:44 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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