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Clarifying Misconceptions and Misrepresentations in Achievement Goal Research in Sport: A Response to Harwood, Hardy, and Swain

Darren C. Treasure, Joan L. Duda, Howard K. Hall, Glyn C. Roberts, Carol Ames, and Martin L. Maehr

In a recent article, Harwood, Hardy, and Swain (2000) presented what they termed a critical analysis of the conceptualization and measurement of achievement goals in sport. The purpose of the present article is to challenge their interpretation of achievement goal theory and to question many of their subsequent recommendations. Specifically, the present response will focus on Harwood et al.’s (a) interpretation of Nicholls’ personal theories of achievement; (b) their contention that task involvement cannot exist in competitive sport; (c) the proposed tripartite conceptualization of goal involvement states; (d) their understanding of the relationship between the way an individual conceptualizes ability and the foundation of dispositional goal orientations; and (e) their criticisms of the way dispositional goal orientations have been measured in sport. Theoretical frameworks are always a work in progress. To this end, we concur with the spirit of Harwood et al.’s article which implies that our conceptual models should be continuously questioned, tested, and extended. However, we believe their interpretation and recommendations do little to enhance our conceptual understanding of achievement goal theory in sport.

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Sport Psychologist’s Digest

Janet Buckworth, Jean Cot6, Bruce D. Hale, Howard K. Hall, Stephanie J. Hanrahan, Cathy Lirgg, and Kathleen A. Martin

Edited by J. Robert Grove

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Sport Psychologist’s Digest

Janet Buckworth, Jean Côté, Robert Eklund, Bruce D. Hale, Howard K. Hall, Cathy Lirgg, Kathleen Martin, and Marit Sørensen

Edited by J. Robert Grove

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Sport Psychologist's Digest

Vicki Ebbeck, Jim Taylor, Mark A. Thompson, Kevin L. Burke, Vikki Krane, and Howard K. Hall

Edited by Charles J. Hardy

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Sport Psychologist's Digest

Kevin L. Burke, Vicki Ebbeck, J. Robert Grove, Howard K. Hall, Vikki Krane, Jim Taylor, Mark A. Thompson, and James P. Whelan

Edited by Charles J. Hardy

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Sport Psychologist’s Digest

Vicki Ebbeck, Howard K. Hall, Stephanie J. Hanrahan, Cathy Lirgg, Marit Sørensen, Jim Taylor, and James P. Whelan

Edited by J. Robert Grove

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Sport Psychologist’s Digest

Janet Buckworth, Howard K. Hall, Stephanie H. Hanrahan, Cathy Lirgg, Michelle Paccagnella, Jim Taylor, and Mark A. Thompson

Edited by J. Robert Grove

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Sport Psychologist's Digest

Kevin L. Rurke, J. Robert Grove, Howard K. Hall, Vikki Krane, Jim Taylor, Mark A. Thompson, and Diane M. Wiese-Bjornstal

Edited by Charles J. Hardy

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Sport Psychologist's Digest

Steve Boutcher, Robert J. Brustad, Kevin L. Burke, R. Kelly Crace, J. Robert Grove, Howard K. Hall, and Jim Taylor

Edited by Charles Hardy