Qualitative Research in Sport Psychology Journals: The Next Decade 2000-2009 and Beyond

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Diane M. Culver University of Ottawa

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Wade Gilbert California State University – Fresno

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Andrew Sparkes Liverpool John Moores University

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A follow-up of the 1990s review of qualitative research articles published in three North American sport psychology journals (Culver, Gilbert, & Trudel, 2003) was conducted for the years 2000–2009. Of the 1,324 articles published, 631 were data-based and 183 of these used qualitative data collection techniques; an increase from 17.3% for the 1990s to 29.0% for this last decade. Of these, 31.1% employed mixed methods compared with 38.1% in the 1990s. Interviews were used in 143 of the 183 qualitative studies and reliability test reporting increased from 45.2% to 82.2%. Authors using exclusively quotations to present their results doubled from 17.9% to 39.9%. Only 13.7% of the authors took an epistemological stance, while 26.2% stated their methodological approach. We conclude that positivist/postpositivist approaches appear to maintain a predominant position in sport psychology research. Awareness of the importance of being clear about epistemology and methodology should be a goal for all researchers.

Culver is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Gilbert is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University - Fresno, Fresno, CA. Sparkes is with the Faculty of Education, Community, and Leisure, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK.

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