Existential Phenomenology: Emphasizing the Experience of the Athlete in Sport Psychology Research

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Winthrop University
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Qualitative research in sport psychology is slowly becoming more of an accepted form of inquiry, and most of this research is conducted using various interview methods. In this paper, information is provided on a paradigm that has been given little consideration in sport psychology literature. This paradigm is termed existential phenomenology, and within this paradigm a chief mode of inquiry is the phenomenological interview. With its open-ended format and similarities to the athlete-sport psychology consultant interaction in a performance enhancement intervention, it is a method that appears to offer valuable information about the participant’s experience that might otherwise go unnoticied. The basic views of existential phenomenology, including its philosophical foundations as well as instructions for conducting a phenomenological interview study, are provided. Specific discussion of the potential significance of this type of research for the field of sport psychology is offered.

Gregory A. Dale, PhD, is with the Department of Health and Physical Education at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC 29733.

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