Outsiders on the inside : focus group research with elite youth footballers

PLATTS, Chris and SMITH, Andy (2017). Outsiders on the inside : focus group research with elite youth footballers. In: BARBOUR, Rosaline S. and MORGAN, David L., (eds.) A New Era in Focus Group Research : Challenges, Innovation and Practice. London, Springer, 17-34.

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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1057/978-1-137-5...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-58614-8_2


Conducting research with participants in closed social worlds is notoriously difficult and many researchers refrain from even attempting to invest their time in such work. This is particularly the case in contexts such as professional football (soccer), which has for many years been characterized by a traditionally close-knit, male-dominated subculture characterized by rather unequal power relations between managers and coaches and players, and in which there is a deeply institutionalized suspicion of ‘outsiders’. Notwithstanding these difficulties, in this chapter we discuss our successful experience of undertaking focus groups on education and welfare with 303 young footballers (16–18 years old) who attended 21 professional football Academies and Centres of Excellence in England and Wales in 2009. We focus on the practical lessons we learnt, and the methodological difficulties we encountered, as a result of the diverse scenarios with which we had to deal once we had been granted permission to undertake research in clubs. Consideration will be given to the ways in which we negotiated access with key stakeholders, the ways in which we sought to reassure players of the anonymity of their responses, and the serious methodological challenges we experienced when conducting focus groups in diverse settings in clubs that were accessible by other club staff.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sport Industry Research Centre
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-58614-8_2
Page Range: 17-34
Depositing User: Carmel House
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 11:19
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 02:21
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17829

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