Reflections on using visual research methods in sports coaching

COPE, Edward, HARVEY, Stephen and KIRK, David (2015). Reflections on using visual research methods in sports coaching. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7 (1), 88-108.

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/2159676X.2013.877959


Learners are central to the coaching process, yet elementary-aged (i.e. 5–11 years) children’s perspectives and experiences of sport are under-represented in the current sports coaching literature. One reason that research with these populations may not be forthcoming in these sporting contexts could be due to the employment of research methods. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the viability of visual methods (i.e. photovoice and drawings) in offering a furthered understanding of elementary-aged children’s perspectives and experiences of sport and sports coaching. The drawings and photographs provided as examples in this paper were generated from a combination of two different contexts (school and club) where children participated in two different sports (swimming and football). The processes of data generation allowed for the reflection on some benefits of using these methodologies as well as revealing some challenges. Although these methods proved challenging due to their time-consuming nature, the drawings and photographs provided stimuli for conversations between the children and the researcher. Specifically, children were able to speak freely and openly about their experiences related to the coaching and playing of sport in specific contexts. However, if children’s experiences of playing sport are to be positive, researchers and practitioners must consider listening to respond to their perspectives and experiences, rather than merely listening. These methods may therefore be invaluable in enabling coaches to re-examine their taken for granted assumptions regarding children’s perspectives and experiences.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Accepted: 4 Dec 2013
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Sport and Exercise Science
Identification Number: 10.1080/2159676X.2013.877959
Depositing User: Amanda Keeling
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2014 09:44
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2015 14:09

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