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Among the variety of leisure activities, it is hard to define the one that is worthy of attention and recognition. Each activity has its own characteristics, strong, and weak sides and may be supported by people all over the world. In this paper, much attention will be paid to the idea of winter swimming and Polar Bear Club membership.
Swimming in cold (ice) water is not available for each person because on numerous medical and even emotional aspects. “Therefore, despite the initial shock that can be painful, winter swimmers (often called “Polar Bears”) almost immediately experience an amazingly warmth from head to toe, causing the profound relaxation of the entire body” (Boutenko, 2007, p.199).
Due to various attitudes to this kind of activity, there is a number of questions which have to be analyzed and answered in a proper way.
In fact, the members of Polar Bear Club are characterized by burning desire to participate in other group leisure activities and abilities to communicate on more serious and deeper levels then other people who neglect this activity; by means of numerous methods like probability-based sampling method or simple random sampling method, it becomes easier and more possible to define what ethical and moral norms differ the members of Polar Bear Club from ordinary people who cannot regard this activity as something influential and significant.
The purpose of this study is closely connected to the evaluation of the problem concerning Polar Bear Club membership and attitudes to life, duties, and norms.
The problem and the purpose of the study are both reachable because it is possible to gather necessary information and evaluate how different people with different attitudes define the role of ice water swimming in everyday life.
The significance of the study is evident: people have to be aware of the chances of how to improve their lives and use only the best opportunities available.
The limitations of this study are based on the idea that it is impossible to take into consideration all opinions and effects of membership in Polar Bear Club.
This is why such inability to gain full recognition of the problem and evaluate all possible perspectives may lead to mistakes or incomplete answers. However, for the chosen area and the current conditions, it seems to be enough to make use of the information gathered.
In each section of the paper, the attention to every research question will be paid. The organization of the study allows focusing reader’s attention on each aspect and the reasons of why the offered decision is made.
The paper has the literature review section where the discussion of the issues relevant to the hypothesis under consideration is given.
There are 5 main points about membership in the Polar Bear Club which will be analyzed. And finally, the methodology section introduces the ideas of how the study is organized: the number of participants, the description of the control group, and the conditions are given.
One of the most important purposes of the literature review is the necessity to evaluate the peculiarities of the Coney Island Bear Club, the style of life that is preferred by its members, and the changes which are caused by such leisure activity: presence of positive moral and ethical decision, desire to participate in other activities, changes of frequency of non-work related conversations, abilities to develop close relations, and improvements of manners and behavior.
Many scientists admit that winter swimming has numerous effects on human life: first, it is some health changes and improvements; second, this activity influences human memory and learning abilities (Hua et al., 2009); and finally, this kind of swimming promotes changes of people characters and attitudes to each other and to the things around (Coakley, 1993).
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McCormack (1988) believes that winter swimming may influence the process of socialization and improve it from many perspectives. The ideas of these sophisticated people help to make a choice and focus our research on one particular community that supports healthy style of life and promote winter swimming as the main activity.
The Coney Island Polar Bear Club is considered to be one of the oldest organizations in the United States (Coney Island Polar Bear Club).
The chosen research study has a relational nature and is characterized by the variables of each issue (Kline, 2009). There are 5 main hypotheses which are evaluated in this project, and what is more important, all of them require the same method of analysis that is called a sampling one.
This method helps to define one random sample and rely on it during the whole study process (Babbie, 2009). To make use of this method in a proper way, it is necessary to pay attention to the studies by Nucci and Young-Shim (2005), according to which a non-probability method helps to evaluate how sports influence human lives.
Though Polar Bear Club activities may seem to be freaky or unclear due to a desire to dive into cold water on New Year’s Day, for example (Shumaker, 2004), this activity has many positive outcomes which have to be appreciated.
In general, there are a number of reliable and useful literature that may be used to analyze the peculiar features of winter swimmers and all those changes which make their life unique and different from other people’s styles of life.
Many educative people make considerable contributions into this sphere, and their works and studies are considered to be helpful in our research.
The hypotheses chosen for the project are the following:
- The participation of Polar Bear Club members in other leisure activities (Coakley, 1993);
- The idea that the members of Polar Bear Club are able to make positive ethical decisions;
- The impact of winter swimming on non-work related conversations;
- The effect on close relations between people;
- The changes of manner and behavior of people who join the Coney Polar Bear Club.
In this part of the work, much attention is paid to the topics, participants, and instruments chosen for this research: to conduct the work on a good level, it is necessary to pick out proper population that may demonstrate how swimming in cold water influences human lives and reliable instruments according to which the purposes and objectives will be achieved.
The participants of the study are the population of 312 people who prefer such leisure as winter swimming. They are the members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club who are eager to invite anyone interested in this activity (Wohlleber 2004).
The sample control group that is chosen for the study consists of 30 people, the new members of the team who have a fresh look on the events, effects, and outcomes. The experimental group that is chosen is composed of 30 old members who certainly know what they do, why they take these steps, and what outcomes may be expected.
The method for selecting the sample and the size is chosen in accordance with the conditions provided. Due to a number of hypotheses given, it is better to rely on sampling methods, both probability based and non-probability based.
With the help of these methods, it becomes possible to use such issues like randomization and chance to give clear and thorough answers to the questions under consideration. As for the special characteristics of the group chosen for the research, it is necessary to admit the importance of experience that every member has.
The newbie is under a threat to accept the activity as something unusual and dangerous for health and emotional conditions. And all those experienced people may not feel the difference on the necessary level. This is why a certain attention has to be paid to the experience and emotional condition of every member.
The instruments of the study under consideration depend on the variables which are inherent to every hypothesis.
For example, in the first hypothesis, where the main idea is developed around members of the club and other leisure activities, the instruments will be members of the club (with or without experience), winter swimming as a constant activity, and several other activities which may be used.
In other hypotheses, there are usually two variables: one is the constant variable – the Coney Polar Bears, and the other depends on the question (2- decision-making process, 3 – non-work related conversations, 4 – people to develop relations with, and 5 – manners).
All these methods and instruments are developed specially for this study in order to evaluate how winter swimming may influence and change human lives. It is not very important to define the validity and reliability from the very beginning because it has to be proved during the research itself under the conditions chosen.
In general, the design chosen for this study and for testing the hypotheses is appropriate: such points like experience and outside conditions are taken into consideration; studies of different people on the same topic are used to prove the main idea of the study; and changes of variables show that effects of winter swimming activity are various but still important.
The procedure of the study will be conducted in several stages: a definition of the activity and its peculiarities; a thorough choice of participants and instruments for the study; the division of people into separate groups in accordance with experience; the evaluation of outcomes which are caused by participation and rejection of participation into leisure activity; and the activation of several control procedures which aim at promoting proper use of variables, instruments, and time limitations that are important for the project.
Babbie, E.R. (2009). The Practice of Social Research. Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Boutenko, V. (2007). 12 Steps to Raw Foods: How to End Your Dependency on Cooked Food. Berkley: North Atlantic Books.
Coakley, Jay Ph D. (1993). Sports and Socialization. The Journal of Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 21(1), 169-200.
Coney Island Polar Bear Club. (2010). Coney Island Polar Bear Club USA, Inc. Web.
Hua, J., Bin, Z., & Feng-Bin, L. (2009). Effect of Winter Swimming on Learning and Memory Function in Elderly. Journal of Hebei Normal University, 33 (3), 400-405.
Kline, R.B. (2009). Becoming a Behavioral Science Researcher: A guide to Producing Research That Matters. New York: The Guilford Press.
McCormack, J. B. (1988). Sport as Socialization: A Critique of Methodological Premises. The Social Science Journal, 25 (1), 83-92.
Nucci, Christine, Young-Shim, Kim. (2005). Improving Socialization through Sport: An Analytic Review of Literature on Aggression and Sportsmanship. Physical Educator Journal, 62 (3), 123-129.
Shumaker, S. (2004). ‘Cold Play’, Sunset, 212 (1): 13.
Wohlleber, E. (2004). Special Olympic New York Partner with Coney Island Polar Bears. Special Olympics. Web.