Recent work has espoused the idea that in applied sporting environments, “fast”-working practitioners should work together with “slow”-working researchers. However, due to economical and logistical constraints, such a coupling may not always be practical. Therefore, alternative means of combining research and applied practice are needed. A particular methodology that has been used in recent years is qualitative research. Examples of qualitative methods include online surveys, 1-on-1 interviews, and focus groups. This article discusses the merits of using qualitative methods to combine applied practice and research in sport science. This includes a discussion of recent examples of the use of such methods in published journal articles, a critique of the approaches employed, and future directions and recommendations. The authors encourage both practitioners and researchers to use and engage with qualitative research with the ultimate goal of benefiting athlete health and sporting performance.
Harper is with the School of Human and Health Sciences, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK. McCunn is with the Inst of Sport and Preventive Medicine, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, and Oriam: Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.