An expert system approach (Buchanan et al., 1983) was used to identify and conceptualize the knowledge of 17 Canadian expert high-performance gymnastic coaches. By using a qualitative research methodology based on the traditions of cognitive anthropology and grounded theory, the first two stages of the knowledge acquisition process for building an expert system (identification and conceptualization) were examined. Open-ended questions and various questioning methods were used to unveil, explore, and probe important information (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1979) about various coaching situations. All coaches’ interviews were transcribed verbatim, and the unstructured qualitative data were inductively analyzed following the procedures and techniques of grounded theory (Côté, Salmela, Baria, & Russell, 1993; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). This article provides the underlying methodological framework used for the entire project. Details about the coaches studied and the methodological framework used to collect and analyze the data are presented.
Jean Côté is with the Department of Physical Education at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON Canada L2S 3A1. John H. Salmela is with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, 125 University, Ottawa, ON Canada KIN 6N5. Storm Russell is with the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 1600 Naismith Dr., Gloucester, ON Canada K1B 5N4.