Sport psychology research conducted in field settings has expanded considerably in the last decade and a half. However, there has been little formal discussion of a number of important issues concerning the notion of conducting research in ecologically valid settings. Gaining entry to collect data with sport participants is one such issue. This important initial stage of the field research process regards not only the feasibility of collecting data but also the very quality of data that one might be able to collect in the setting. This manuscript presents important guiding considerations for efforts to gain entry to field settings, including personal attributes of the researcher, connections, accounts, knowledge, and courtesy. Social science and sport psychology practitioner literature regarding gaining entry are examined, and relevant examples are integrated into the discussion.
Robert C. Eklund is with the Department of Health and Human Performance at Auburn University, 2050 Joel H. Eaves—Memorial Coliseum, Auburn, Alabama 36849-5323.