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Assessment of interactions in children's playground by using network measures: An exploratory study based on graph theory

Oliveira, P. ; Clemente, F.M.C. ; Martins, F.

Journal of Physical Education and Sport Vol. 16, Nº 4, pp. 1 - 5, December, 2016.

ISSN (print): 1582-8131
ISSN (online): 2066-2483

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Abstract
The use of mathematical methods to measure the human behaviour may be determinant to quantify and objectively measure the observations. The aim of this study was to apply the social network analysis to classify the centrality interactions that occurs in playground. Analysis of variance between genders was conducted in this pilot-study. Five boys and five girls (n = 10; 4.6 ± 0.6 years old) were observed three times in three different weeks during their free-activities in playground. One-way ANOVA tested the variance of centrality levels between genders. Statistical differences were found between genders in IDC (p = 0.027; ES = 0.476; moderate effect) and BC (p = 0.011; ES = 0.576; moderate effect). Results suggest that boys may have more social activities than girls in playground. For that reason, greater values of centrality during activities may be found in boys.

Keywords: Applied mathematics; graph theory; network analysis; children; interaction.