n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Role of qualitative research in exercise science and sports medicine : commentary

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



Qualitative research is featuring more frequently in health sciences research, a field in which the 'hard sciences' and statistics have traditionally dominated. For example, within the fields of exercise science and sports medicine, qualitative research methods are included to evaluate intervention programmes. These methods are also being used in studies that require measurement of behavioural perspectives, such as an understanding of individuals' motivations, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions. Qualitative research methods are also becoming increasingly useful in the investigation of contextual factors that impact on physical activity and sporting performance. The purpose of this article is to clarify the role of qualitative research in exercise science and sports medicine and provide the reader with a basic understanding of the basis of qualitative research. Qualitative data collection and analysis, sampling strategies in qualitative research, the role of the qualitative researcher, and issues of scientific rigour regarding qualitative research will be addressed.

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