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Qualitative Research in Sport and Physical Activity

Qualitative Research in Sport and Physical Activity

November 2012 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Designed especially for students in sport and physical activity, this book provides a detailed guide to planning, undertaking, and writing up qualitative research. Opening with a discussion of the main traits of qualitative inquiry and its use in sport and physical activity, the authors provide a coherent and accessible overview of qualitative research using numerous examples to bring the text alive. The book is divided into five parts informed by stages in the research process, with chapters on:

• early steps in the research process

• ethics

• choosing your an approach

• methods of data collection

• analysing the data

• writing up and disseminating your findings.

This is essential reading for undergraduate and Masters students carrying out a qualitative research project in sport and physical activity and for PhD students looking to refresh their knowledge.

Qualitative Research and Its Use in Sport and Physical Activity
The Main Characteristics of Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research in Sport and Physical Activity

Ethical Considerations in Research
Recruiting Participants

Informed Consent

Confidentiality and Anonymity

Avoiding Harm

Developing the Research Question and Writing the Proposal
The topic and Research Question

Writing the Proposal

The Role of the Literature in Qualitative Research
The Literature and the Proposal

The Literature Overview

The Inductive Approach

The Ongoing Dialogue with the Literature

Keeping Track of References

Purposive Sampling

Sampling Types

Sampling Decisions

Accessing the Sample

Referring to the Sample

Types of Interview

Variety of Interviews

Asking Questions

Interviewing Skills

The Relationship Between Interviewer and Participants

Practical Sspects of Interviewing

Potential Problems in Interviewing

Focus Groups
The Origin and Purpose of Focus Groups

Choosing the Sample: Size, Number and Composition

Conducting Focus Group Interviews

The Involvement of the Interviewer

Analysing Focus Group Data

Ethical Issues

Advantages and Limitations of Focus Groups

Participant Observation
The research Setting

Types of Observation

Getting Started

Keeping a Record

Using Documentary Sources of Data

Problematic Issues

Grounded Theory
The Origins of Grounded Theory

The Main Elements of Grounded Theory

The Process of GT: Data Collection and Analysis

The Developing Theory

Problems in Grounded Theory


A Focus on Culture

Ethnographic Methods

Sample and Setting

The Ethnographic Record

Analysis and Interpretation

Problems in Conducting Ethnographic Research

Descriptive and Interpretive Phenomenology

Eliciting Life-World Descriptions

The Use of Bracketing and Sensitising

The Findings of Phenomenological Research


Phenomenological Interviews

Analysis in Descriptive and Hermeneutic Phenomenology

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)


Narrative Research
Stories and Their Structure

Types of Story

The Functions of People’s Stories

Collecting Data

Narrative Analysis

The Distinctive Nature of Narrative Research

A Critique of Narrative Research

Mixed Methods Research
Adopting Mixed Methods Research

Designing Mixed Methods Research

The problems Inherent in Mixed Methods Research

Data Analysis
Managing the Data

Transcribing and Writing Memos

Data Reduction and Conceptualisation: Codes, Categories and Themes

Computer-aided Analysis of Qualitative Data

Interpreting the Data

The Quality of Qualitative Inquiry
Validity and Reliability

Alternative Criteria for Qualitative Research

How to Ensure Trustworthiness

Writing Up Qualitative Research
Writing in the First Person

The Format of the Report

Checklist Before Submission

Telling the Tale: Creativity and Originality

Publishing and Presenting the Research


An excellent overview of the qualitative techniques available to allow a critical justification for undergraduate and post graduate methodology.

Gary Lowe
Department of Sport and Exercise, Staffordshire University
June 23, 2014

This book provides an overview of the key qualitative methods that are traditionally used and also provides some excellent examples of published research from a range of sport and exercise sciences.

Dr James Rumbold
Faculty of Health & Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University
May 28, 2014

Very useful book, a good overview of various methodologies and research design.

Miss Emma Morris
School of Education, Newman Univ.
April 8, 2014

Very comprehensive with coverage of major qualitative methods to facilitate deeper lines of enquiry

Mr Dale Forsdyke
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York St John University College
December 5, 2013

This book is excellent in places. Recommended to students who embark on some of the lesser used methods in flexible design approaches to undergraduate research in sport studies.

Dr Jon Cryer
Faculty of Sport, Health and Social Care, Gloucestershire University
September 12, 2013

This is a welcome addition to the research methods literature in that if offers a sporting perspective to qualitative methods. From my experience, sports students struggle to appreciate the nuances involved in qualitative research and this text provides a useful guide for undergraduates.

Mr Paul Salisbury
Sport, Health, Leisure and Nutrition, Leeds Trinity and All Saints
July 23, 2013

Really liked content of book. Good range and very useful for many sections of modules that will be covered with undergraduate students

Miss Helen Thornalley
Education, St Mary's College
May 24, 2013

A great book to social worker that research sport as a social inclusion field.

Mr Vanda Ramalho
April 12, 2013

A useful addition to any library, this text offers insight to a range of qualitatve methods and is written in a style which many undergraduate students are likely to find accessible. Definitely a recommended text for any sport science/physical education programme.

Dr Alexander Channon
Department of Secondary Education, Greenwich University
March 19, 2013

This text provides a great introduction to qualitative research within the field of sport and exercise. It covers each stage of the research process while incorporating relevant examples throughout. Each chapter is well structured and easy for students to follow.

Mrs Marie Clare Grant
School of Social and Health Sciences, University of Abertay, Dundee
March 1, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781446207451

ISBN: 9781446207444

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