An Ethnographic Study of Cohesiveness in a College Soccer Team Over a Season

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Alberta, Canada
  • | 2 Exeter University, UK
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Based on an ethnographic study of a collegiate soccer team over an eight-month season, the purpose of this paper is to identify and examine the factors that contributed to team cohesion. Data were collected via participant observation, formal and informal interviews, documentary sources, a field diary, and a reflexive journal. The description-analysis-interpretation approach recommended by Wolcott (1994) framed the data analysis. Four key themes that influenced cohesion were clear and meaningful roles, selfishness/personal sacrifices, communication, and team goals. The fluctuating nature of these themes are discussed in relation to the multidimensional heuristic for cohesion presented by Cota, Evans, Dion, Kilik, and Longman (1995).

Nick Holt is currently a doctoral candidate with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, E-401 Van Vliet Centre, Edmonton Alberta T6G 2H9 CANADA. E-mail: <>. Andrew Sparkes is Professor of Social Theory and Director of the Qualitative Research Unit in the Department of Exercise & Sport Sciences, School of Sport and Health Sciences. Exeter University, St Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, Devon, UK. EX1 2LU.

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