Evaluating the quality of qualitative inquiry has begun to intrigue researchers in sport psychology. Consequently, this has raised important questions regarding the criteria for judging this emerging form of inquiry. With the intent to stimulate methodological debate, this paper explores prevailing notions of validity in qualitative sport psychology by focusing on how various scholars have framed this term. The prevailing parallel perspective of validity is discussed, as are specific problems associated with this view. In contrast, recent attempts to reconceptualize validity in relation to particular forms of qualitative inquiry are considered. The socially constructed nature of validity and the multiplicity of meanings associated with this term are presented according to a diversification perspective. More radical calls to renounce validity and seek alternative criteria for judging qualitative inquiry are also discussed. In closing, the ongoing problem of criteria and its implications for research in sport psychology are considered.
Anna-Marie C. Jaeschke, Michael L. Sachs and Kristen D. Dieffenbach
Ultramarathon running entails coping with unanticipated environmental circumstances and intense physical and psychological fatigue; a sport in which the role of mental toughness can be crucial. This research focused on semistructured interviews with 12 ultramarathon runners who volunteered to discuss their perceptions of mental toughness. The data allowed researchers to gather a multidimensional view of mental toughness from ultramarathon runners’ experiences and perspective in addition to providing a snapshot of the challenges and demands ultrarunners face, as well as ethical concerns associated with athletes pushing themselves beyond their limits. Central themes included: perseverance/persistence, overcoming adversity, perspective, life experience, psychological skills use, and camaraderie in the ultra community. A deeper understanding of mental toughness obtained from a sample of ultramarathon runners can inform consultants working to improve quality or consistency of performance, and become aware of ethical concerns of encouraging athletes to exceed perceptual or actual limitations.
Corien Peeters, Hannah Marchand, Heather Tulloch, Ron J. Sigal, Gary S. Goldfield, Stasia Hadjiyannakis and Glen P. Kenny
Purpose was to examine experiences of obese youth aged 14 to 18 years during their participation in the Healthy Eating, Aerobic, and Resistance Exercise in Youth (HEARTY) randomized controlled exercise trial.
A longitudinal qualitative approach was used to investigate youths’ experiences across time points in the trial: 3-weeks (run-in phase; n = 44, 52% males), 3-months (midpoint; n = 25), and 6-months (end of intervention; n = 24). Participants completed telephone interviews on perceived exercise facilitators, barriers, outcomes, and program preferences. Responses were subject to content analyses and are reported as frequencies.
Participants joined the trial initially to lose weight, but focused more on fitness over time. Exercise behavior was influenced by a sense of achieving results, and by family and peers (ie, supportive comments, transportation). At 6-months, the most commonly perceived changes were improved fitness (50%) and appearance (46%). Suggested changes to the HEARTY trial included initial guidance by a trainer, and more varied and group-based activity.
Exercise facilitators, barriers and perceived changes in an exercise trial are reported. Access to a gym, initial direction by a trainer, variety, and group-based activities were reported as desired components of an exercise intervention. Findings also point to the importance of involving family and peer supports.
Donna L. Goodwin and Amanda Ebert
included changes to the original theme labels and a more nuanced presentation of the resources that parents found helpful in the community. Impact and importance of qualitative inquiry rests with the reader. The ideographic nature of IPA was balanced against theoretical transferability, which was aided by
Emma V. Richardson, Sarah Blaylock, Elizabeth Barstow, Matthew Fifolt and Robert W. Motl
) opportunities for exercise promotion through the health care system, (b) education on exercise for persons with MS, and (c) tools and strategies that would help them promote exercise to persons with MS ( Learmonth et al., 2018 ). Recently, we combined those data gathered through qualitative inquiry into a
Bobbi-Jo Atchison and Donna L. Goodwin
backgrounds in adapted physical activity and qualitative inquiry and were not involved with the transition program at the time of the study. Results Four themes captured parents’ experiences as their families moved out of a structured, resource-rich, and separate environment; moved into a nonstructured
Katie Brooker, Allyson Mutch, Lyn McPherson, Robert Ware, Nick Lennox and Kate Van Dooren
To better understand how physical activity programs may contribute to improved health and social-support outcomes for people with intellectual disability, the authors conducted semistructured interviews with 11 people with intellectual disability and community-based volunteers in Brisbane, Australia. Three broad themes emerged: individual factors that generally facilitated activity, external factors that posed barriers to participation, and broader normative factors that directed participation. A key reflection arising out of the thematic analysis was that participants with intellectual disability and volunteers highlighted subtle but pervasive differences in barriers and facilitators to being active. Recommendations are provided for interventions aiming to improve physical activity and social support among those with intellectual disability. The authors’ research process demonstrates the utility of seeking the views of potential participants before program rollout to inform implementation and demonstrates the usefulness of a qualitative, actively inclusive approach to health interventions.
Alice M. Buchanan, Benjamin Miedema and Georgia C. Frey
The purpose of this study was to investigate parent perceptions of the physical activity (PA) engagement of their adult children with autism spectrum disorders. The theoretical framework used in this study was social ecology. Participants were nine parents from families with one adult child with autism spectrum disorder whose ages ranged from 18 to 42. Using phenomenological interviews, which explored parents’ life experience and meaning making, four themes were generated: supports and advocacy for PA, engaging in PA independently, benefits of PA, and barriers to or reasons for disengaging in particular activities. Parents’ interview comments showed that intrapersonal factors, interpersonal relationships, and community factors were essential for keeping the individuals with autism spectrum disorder engaged in PA. Families and practitioners can take advantage of that by seeking PA opportunities in community settings or with other individuals.
Fiona J. Moola, Guy E.J. Faulkner and Jane E. Schneiderman
Although physical activity may reduce lung function decline in youth with cystic fibrosis (CF), most patients are inactive. Little is known about why youth with CF are inactive or how to facilitate physical activity. This study explored perceptions toward physical activity in 14 youth with CF at a Canadian Hospital. Qualitative interviews were conducted and a grounded theory analysis was undertaken. The participants demonstrated positive or negative perceptions toward physical activity and different experiences—such as parental support and illness narratives—influenced youths’ perceptions. In addition, the participants experienced physical activity within the context of reduced time. Recommendations for developing physical activity interventions, including the particular need to ensure that such interventions are not perceived as wasteful of time, are provided.
Emily Lees, Wendell C. Taylor, Joseph T. Hepworth, Karina Feliz, Andrea Cassells and Jonathan N. Tobin
Despite the numerous benefits of physical activity, older adults continue to be more sedentary than their younger counterparts, and sedentary behavior is more prevalent among older racial and ethnic minorities than among Whites. This study used the nominal group technique (NGT) to examine participants’ perceptions of what neighborhood environmental changes would encourage greater physical activity for older African American and Hispanic women. Participants age 50–75 years were recruited from 2 urban community health clinics. Nine NGT sessions (45 participants) were conducted. The women were asked what changes in their neighborhood environment would encourage them to become more physically active. Responses to the research question were tabulated, and qualitative analysis was used to identify themes and categories. Major categories were physical environment changes, safety, and activities/social support. Although the physical environment received the greatest number of points, concerns for personal safety cut across categories. Participants indicated the need for more facilities in which to be active.