Exploring the Benefits of a Broader Approach to Qualitative Research in Sport Psychology: A Tale of Two, or Three, James

Helen Hooper, Les Burwitz, Phil Hodkinson


A longitudinal case-study of emotion and sport performance is used to illustrate findings of a larger interview study conducted with 12 elite (World top ten) individual sport athletes. Although athletes' experiences were partially supportive of current theoretical standpoints, optimal states proved dynamic and related to personal, situational and social variables. Further information, gathered using more ethnographic approaches, will then be considered. The limitations of a reliance on coded interview data as a meaningful tool with which to explore athletes' experiences will be discussed in relation to the featured athlete. The existence of multiple interpretations of the athlete's story, problematises the assumption that rigorous methods, as conventionally defined, can guarantee objectivity and discover a single truth. Questions are asked of the reader regarding: the veracity of accepted approaches to the collection and presentation of data; the benefits of a broader vision for qualitative research; and the possible contribution of more interpretive approaches to the work of both practitioners and academics in sport psychology.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs030162


sport psychology; emotions; optimal states; elite athletes; social construction; qualitative research; longitudinal research; coded interviews

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Copyright (c) 2003 Helen Hooper, Les Burwitz, Phil Hodkinson

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