Research Article

Research Methodologies in Sport Management

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1. Introduction

This section provides a summary the 10 journals consistent with the first volume of sport management digest. The manuscripts were published were published between July and 2021 and January 2022.
The Table 1 summarises the methodological approaches used in the ten journals.

Table 1: Summary of Methodological Approaches

Journals Mixed Qualitative Quantitative Total

Communication & Sport


(incl. one editorial essay)



European Sport Management Quarterly
(excl. one Obituary)


(incl. one editorial essay)



International Journal of Sport Finance



International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship





International Journal of Sport Communication




International Journal of Sport Communication (two case studies, one industry interview, one scholarly commentary, one student research)




International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics

(incl. one critical commentary)



Journal of Global Sport Management

(incl. one introductory essay)



Journal of Sport Economics
(excl. one Obituary)




Journal of Sport Management
(excl. one Lecture)





Sport Management Review





Overall Total





In contrast to the first issue of SMD, the use of qualitative and quantitative approaches is weighted in favour of quantitative approaches apparent in the second issue. Figure 1 identifies this distribution.

Figure 1: Distribution of Methodological Approaches

While quantitative approaches were predominat there was still a high number of qualittauve approaches and the continued applications of mixed method These methodological approaches approaches employed a variety of data collection and and analysis techniques. These approaches are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Data Collect and Analysis Techniques

Quantitative Approaches Qualitative Approaches


(Semi-Structured) Interviews

Structural Equation Modelling

Content Analysis

Regression Analysis

Case Study

Experimental Study

Focus Group

Event Study

Thematic Analysis

Content Analysis

Documentary Analysis

Comparative Analysis

From 10 journal indentifed in Table 1 journals, eight papers were selected for discussion. The purpose of each article is summarised and attention given the methodological approach employed and the findings gleaned from the approach taken.

2. Selected Method Papers

European Sport Management Quarterly. Antecedents and consequences of perceived fan participation in the decision making of professional European football clubs, by Sebastian Uhrich.

In his paper “Antecedents and consequences of perceived fan participation in the decision making of professional European football clubs” (2021), Sebastian Uhrich presents a comprehensive methodological design. He suggests that fan involvement in the running of football clubs is a contemporary issue that requires consideration. Uhrich defines the construct of perceived fan participation in decision making and explores the construct’s antecedents and consequences. He applies exploratory and confirmatory methods within the German Bundesliga.

In his first study, he investigated the construct of perceived fan participation by conducting 33 in-depth interviews with fans of different German Bundesliga football clubs. He reached out to potential interview participants through fan liaison officers and personal contacts. For the interviews, he has developed a rough interview guide that explored three different topics: 1) Fan participation and their experience, 2) Antecedents of fan participation, and lastly 3) Consequences of fan participation. Uhrich stopped conducting interviews when theoretical saturation was reached and an inductive approach was used to organise data into labelled categories. The derived findings suggest that perceived fan recognition, perceived transparency in managerial decisions, and perceived goal congruence between fans and managers positively influence fans’ participation perceptions. The consequences of these include acceptance of management decisions, reduced feelings of estrangement from the club and positive extra-role behaviour.

According to Uhrich, the study did not allow conclusions as to how the findings generalise to a broader collective of fans, as with any exploratory research (Uhrich, 2021). He thus conducted a second study that tested the antecedents and consequences of perceived fan participation from study 1. In his second study, he aimed to validate his findings and to examine the relationship among them.

The interview participants’ descriptions and expressions indicated which terms and phrases football fans use to refer to the respective phenomena and were therefore used as a basis to phrase the items that were considered relevant to the second study. The process of generating and refining items included a series of non-standardised pre-tests. First, all measures were presented to 25 undergraduate sport management students who participated in a research class related to the topic of fan participation; the students discussed the applicability and clarity of the items. Next, three marketing scholars with extensive experience in scale development tasks evaluated the items. The measures for all constructs were then presented to five members of the target population (fans of football clubs), along with short definitions of the constructs. The participants were asked whether the respective items are good representations of the findings of study 1 and if they are comprehensible and unambiguous. The items were again refined based on the participants’ comments and subsequently presented to another sample of five football fans for further evaluation.

The second study aimed to quantitatively evaluate all scales’ measurement properties. As a first step, a pilot study was conducted that included 237 fans of seven German Bundesliga football clubs (Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, FC Schalke, FC Cologne, Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Mönchengladbach). The measures for perceived fan participation were included in the first section of the questionnaire along with several questions relating to consumer behaviour. The measures of the three antecedent variables followed in the latter section of the questionnaire. The pilot study provided evidence that the measures of perceived fan participation and its antecedents and consequences have good psychometric properties. Thus, the scales were considered appropriate measures to test the structural relationships of the initial findings in a larger quantitative study. For this, another online-survey in the context of the German Bundesliga was distributed to fans of nine German Bundesliga football clubs (the same as in the pilot study plus Arminia Bielefeld and HSV Hamburg). IP addresses were recorded in the pilot study and in the main study to eliminate any potential duplicate responses. The convenience sample consisted of 965 football fans. Of these, 109 cases were removed due to excessive missing data. Another 22 cases were eliminated because they did not pass an attention check (the same was used for the pilot study).

The analysis of the data (confirmatory factor analyses and structural equation modelling) confirmed the findings of study 1. As anticipaioted, participation perceptions are driven by three perceptions of the fans: they receive recognition from their club, the management decisions are transparent, and there is goal congruence between fans and club management. Further, the study found that participation perceptions lead to higher acceptance of management decisions and a reduction in estrangement from the club.

Journal of Sport Management. “No Idea is a Bad Idea”: Exploring the Nature of Design Thinking Alignment in an Australian Sport Organization, by Greg Joachim, Nico Schulenkorf, Katie Schlenker, Stephen Frawley, & Adam Cohen.

In their article “No Idea is a Bad Idea”: Exploring the Nature of Design Thinking Alignment in an Australian Sport Organization (2021), Joachim, Schulenkorf, Schlenker, Frawley and Cohen employed a qualitative case study approach to investigate the nature of design thinking alignment between the practice of a sport organization and the themes of design thinking practices. As research in sport innovation management continues to evolve as a coherent body of research (Ratten, 2016), it is agrued that sport practitioners and researchers alike are ever on the lookout for ways of enhancing innovation in the sport context (Funk, 2019). In proposing a research agenda for sport innovation management Joachim et al., point to Ratten (2016) who outlined the following three broad types of sport innovation: service, disruptive, and technological. Although these innovation types are drawn from other fields, the unique characteristics of the sport field require them to be assessed anew within the sport context.

Joachim et al., suggest that although design thinking is mainly applied in the business setting, scholarly and practitioner literature have both described the potential benefits of using methods associated with this approach to develop new innovations (Seidel & Fixon, 2013). The purpose of the paper was therefore to investigate the presence and applicability of design thinking in a sport organization. To acheibve this, a qualitative case study of the Sydney Sixers, a sport organization that fields teams in both of Australia’s top-flight domestic cricket competitions: The Women’s and Men’s Big Bash Leagues (WBBL and BBL, respectively), was employed.

In line with the authors’ social constructivist approach, data were collected through multiple methods: semi-structured interviews, observation, and shadowing. According to the authors, the gathering of multiple and complementary types of data is consistent with other sport management research (Edwards & Skinner, 2009) and with case studies in particular (Creswell, 2018; Flick, 2014). All data were collected at the Cricket New South Wales (CNSW) offices (within which the Sixers offices are also located), at relevant match venues (Sydney Cricket Ground, Hurstville Oval, and Drummoyne Oval), or over the phone. Data collection began in the months preceding the 2018–2019 WBBL and MBBL season and continued through the season and into the weeks immediately following the conclusion of the season.

As a first step, a total of 18 in-depth interviews were conducted, including eight with the core Sydney Sixers staff. The core interviews ranged in length from 70 to 110 min, while the interview with the general manager (who has the most experience with the organization) was 150 minutes in length. Interviews with stakeholders were of a reduced duration and ranged from 10 to 30 min. Interview questions were designed to uncover both the practical techniques used by the Sixers to pursue innovation, as well as individual and organizational attitudes toward such practice. The second data collection element, observations, were conducted by the first author. Joachim engaged in the direct observation of nine work-in-progress (WIP) meetings. The WIP meetings are regularly occurring planning and strategy sessions for the Sixers and thus always include at least the core Sixers staff, but also other key stakeholders from various CNSW departments who assist the Sixers to attend when required. Each observed WIP meeting was audio recorded, allowing for those recordings to be reviewed by all authors. These audio recordings were transcribed for analysis. In total, nine WIP meetings produced 8.20 hr of observations and recordings. As a third step, data were also collected through four shadowing events. The lead author shadowed four Sixers staff members as they went through their match day operational practice. The staff members who were shadowed worked in the areas of membership, ticketing, and hospitality (MT&H); digital content and social media; fan engagement; and event operations. Four shadowing events spanned a total of 26 hr.

Following the data collection, Joachim digitised the collected documents and transcribed all interview transcripts and field notes from observations and shadowing into text form, allowing for the use of NVivo for data analysis. Innterstingly the coding process utilised a priori codes that were derived from thematic design thinking (Carlgren et al., 2016) and has been similarly employed in previous sport research (Joachim et al., 2020). In total, 47 codes were used that helped to derive conclusion in regard to the manner in which the performative aspects of design thinking practice might already be present within the Sixers’ practice. The insightful findings from this innovation case study design suggested that design thinking practices are already present within the Sixers’ practice and that furthermore, design thinking is suitable—and indeed desirable—for adoption into sport management practice, particularly as a means of enhancing innovation efforts, designing holistic sport experiences, and/or overcoming competing institutional demands.

Journal of Sport Management. Understanding the Global–Local Nexus in the Context of the Olympic Games: Implications for Managing Community Development Through Sport Megaevents, by NaRi Shin and Jon Welty Peachey.

In their article (2022), Shin and Peachey, sought to understand the influence of the Olympic Games on a host community’s globalisation and development using world-systems theory and theories of globalisation (i.e., glocalisation and grobalisation). The host community for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics (Daegwallyeong-myeon in South Korea) was the focus of this investigation. The authors employed a novel global ethnographic (GE) approach and collected diverse data through interviews, observations, archival and media documents, as well as field notes.

The research responds to a recent call by scholars like Thorpe and Olive (2016) who have urged for more broad-based research strategies in the study of sport and for the incorporation of the fundamental transformations of space, place, and time. According Shin and Peachey, GE enables researchers to take into account the increasing mobility of people, objects, and ideas across local, national, transnational, and global scales. As their research considered the global–local nexus as central to community development, using GE as a methodological tool, coupled with its epistemological foundation, the approach was deemed to appropriate.

The data for this paper were sourced from 4 months of fieldwork in the broader Daegwallyeong-myeon community during the summer of 2017 and the winter and spring of 2018. Semi-structured in-depth interviews, each lasting approximately 2 hours, were conducted with 40 local residents, government officials, and employees of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG). Participants were selected through non-probablity purposive and snowball sampling techniques to achieve broad representation. Additional data collection included archival research (e.g., International Olympic Committee (IOC)- and POCOG-published documents, news reports, and government documents) as well as direct observation in and around Daegwallyeong-myeon. Instances of insightful observations included (a) the community, local businesses, and the Olympic venues (everyday); (b) community meetings; (c) public meetings led by local governments; and (d) informal gatherings in the community. Shin wrote field notes in Korean. In addition, Shin observed and initially interviewed three groups: members of the Organizing Committee, government officials, and local Daegwallyeong-myeon residents — the three major stakeholder groups that resided in Daegwallyeong-myeon. The authors endeavoured to recruit interviewees according to pertinent social labels such as gender, age, role in the community, length of time living in the community, and occupation.

Interview questions differed for each group and at each stage of the fieldwork. Sample interview questions included: “What is the difference between the IOC’s and POCOG’s priorities and the priorities of local residents regarding Olympic-driven community development?” and “Within the Olympic management processes, how do you map power relations (the issue of power was enlightening) ? Who do you think has held influence/power in initiating the community development of Daegwallyeong-myeon?” Some interviewees agreed to have their interviews audio recorded, while others declined due to confidentiality concerns. Unrecorded interviews were recorded in detailed field notes. All interviews were conducted in Korean, because every participant was a native Korean speaker. Shin, a trained Korean–English interpreter, transcribed interviews and translated relevant Korean quotes into English after the analysis was completed in Korean. Importantly, the translated data and narratives were then cross-checked by an external reviewer also bilingual in Korean and English.

Throughout the analysis phase, the authors aimed to make sense of the data and narratives. With an appreciation for the complexity and richness of the data and narratives, they used open coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) to sort, synthesise, and thematise the large volume of data by adopting initial themes that frequently appeared. Selected themes, coupled with the theoretical frameworks, guided a priori coding and interpretation process (Saldaña, 2016). The final step was a selective coding process to highlight key quotations, followed by an interpretation of the themes and quotations. As Shin conducted these analytic processes, she continuously discussed the results with Peachey to alleviate any discrepancies. This robust analysis culiminatedin the identification of five key themes being presented in their findings: (a) perception of underdevelopment, (b) the Organizing Committee’s institutional management of the global standard, (c) the Organizing Committee’s role as a negotiator between the global standard and the locality, (d) resident perspectives on global standards and regulations, and (e) aspirations to globalize Daegwallyeong-myeon.

Sport Management Review. Lingering effects of sponsor transgression against a national fan base: the importance of respect in relationship management, by Fabrice Desmarais, Kayleigh Boobyer & Toni Bruce.

In their article “Lingering effects of sponsor transgression against a national fan base: the importance of respect in relationship management“ (2021), Desmarais, Boobyer and Bruce explored the longevity of public responses to a sponsor transgression crisis.

In the context of the 2011 Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand, global sportswear company Adidas, which sponsors the New Zealand men’s rugby team (the All Blacks) faced a potentially significant crisis after its new All Blacks supporters’ shirt was released in New Zealand retail outlets at twice the price that consumers could buy it from overseas retailers’ websites. Dubbed “Adidasgate”, the inflated price of this new All Blacks jersey led to public outrage that was relayed widely by the media. As frustrated New Zealanders started ordering the jersey from cheaper overseas websites, Adidas exacerbated the situation by preventing some websites from selling it to customers in New Zealand. The situation quickly turned into a major crisis for Adidas; triggering further significant media and public backlash that included Facebook pages calling for boycotts of the sponsor’s products, public burnings of Adidas All Blacks’ jerseys and the defacing of Adidas advertising posters (Bruce, 2014; Desmarais & Wallace, 2018; Jackson & Scherer, 2013). Subsequetly, Adidas then lifted the website restrictions, apologised but refused to reduce the jersey cost in New Zealand.

The authors therefore aimed to understand whether damage to a global sponsor’s reputation can linger when its actions significantly contradict the concept of “respect” that underpins its relationship with a sponsored team’s national fan base. Desmarais et al., employed a two-part, anonymous, qualitative online survey with a non-probablity convenience sample of New Zealanders (aged 16 years and over) one year after the crisis. Hosted on the Qualtrics platform, the survey was live for two months from 1 August to 1 October 2012. Using an email snowball method, the survey link was distributed to potential participants via email. It was limited to New Zealand citizens and permanent residents because Adidas’s price discrepancy was applied only to the New Zealand market. Initial participants were recruited via a sample of the second author’s friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances, selected to be as diverse as possible. Initial participants were asked to circulate the survey widely through their own networks and were specifically asked not to limit their selection to those who had strong opinions on the topic or an interest in rugby. The message inviting people to participate and the introduction to the survey simply advised that the study was in the field of sport communication and on the New Zealand All Blacks rugby jersey. No mention of the crisis was made in order not to bias the participants’ responses. The survey attracted 222 participants, however, not all respondents completed every question so numbers for individual questions may vary. Qualitative questions about the sponsor were answered by 203 participants.

At the end of the questionnaire, respondents were asked to rate themselves out of 10 on six different constructs including interest in sport and rugby, and pride in New Zealand and the All Blacks. The majority of respondents rated themselves highly on all dimensions, especially on national pride (M = 9.40, SD = 1.21, V = 1.48). Therefore, the respondents were described as proud New Zealanders and fans of the All Blacks who take pride in the All Blacks’ success and see rugby as an important part of New Zealand identity.

Data analysis was completed in two phases. As a first step, respondents’ comments were classified into broad categories that emerged from the data: (1) negative comments towards the sponsor’s behaviour, (2) comments that conveyed understanding or support for the sponsor’s behaviour, (3) comments that expressed a balanced view, including arguments supportive of and against Adidas’s behaviour, and (4) comments that conveyed a lack of interest in the issue. This detailed process of classifying answers provided a gauge of the overall attitude of respondents towards the sponsor. As a second step, Desmarais et al., conducted a forensic analysis of respondents’ answers to uncover specific feelings towards the sponsor and their assessment of the sponsor’s behaviour and handling of the crisis. The responses were analysed by two coders using the qualitative processes of thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006; Owen, 1984). Coding involved repeated line-by-line readings and scanning of the comments to identify “repetition of key words, phrases or sentences”, and “recurrence of the same thread of meaning” (Owen, 1984, p. 275). While the focus was on individual terms expressing feelings, their context within complete sentences, including the use of intensifiers, was also analysed.

The findings indicated that national team sponsors who explicitly galvanise intense feelings of patriotism need to understand and respect the national public’s emotional stake in their national team rather than narrowly pursuing sales or the economic bottom line. The findings used also highlighted the importance of implementing respectful crisis management strategies during a crisis involving patriotic feelings.

International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics. The impact of (mega)sporting events? Comparative study of the institutionalisation of ‘women’s’ football, by Audrey Gozillon & Oumaya Hidri Neys.

In their paper (2021), Gozillon and Neys highlight the differences in women’s football federations. They point to the feminisation plan for France promoted by the national federation The plan aims to reduce inequalities between women and men in the game across four priorities: (1) to promote the place of women in football; (2) to become a reference nation in terms of the number of female licence holders; (3) to play a leading role at European and world level and (40 to innovate in terms of training While the plan is commendable they note that in 2018–2019, there were 142,237 female footballers for 2,160,788 French licence holders , suggesting a feminisation rate in France of 6.6%.. They suggest this is extremely low as compared to some other football nations: Germany (15.5%), England (24.6%), the United States (55%). In order to explain these differences, the article looked at the role played by (mega)sporting events in the process of institutionalisation of ‘women’s’ football.

This interesting comparative study employed two articulated methodologies. First, they identified twenty articles and books by French, English, German and American historians and sociologists, providing information on the institutionalisation of women’s football. Their corpus chosen for its scientific validity and the cross-referencing of the sources used (mainly written and iconographic, institutional and journalistic), was subjected to the comparative method, understood as a ‘technique for administering proof in that each element compared is conceived as an “analyser” of the other’ (Gasparini and Koebel 2015). Second, the authors mobilised and compared the data with other materials such as quantitative data (number of licensees, teams, championships, etc.) produced and distributed by the National Federation themselves. In addition, they conducted semi-directive interviews (n = 4) with English, German, American and French women football officials who were contacted directly due to their function.

The comparative analysis revealed the differentiated impact of football events, from ‘local events’ to ‘mega-events’, on the process of institutionalisation of women’s football in England, Germany, the USA and France. More precisely, the articulation of three factors – namely the sports policies developed by institutions, the media, and (mega)events –weigh on the process of institutionalisation of women’s football. . The authors argued that the success of women’s football in England, Germany and the United States is because since the end of the 1990s, the hosting of large-scale competitions, the television broadcasts of these (inter)national matches, and the impetus of federal feminisation plans supporting their organisation have enabled the practice, in a convergent manner and in close collaboration, to become anchored in the sports culture of the populations studied. In addition, they argue that the late impetus of the feminisation plan by the French football federation (FFF) did not allow French football to be structured within the same timeframe. The authors stated that it was not until 2011 that the FFF set up a ‘Women’s grassroots women’s football federal working group’ to encourage the broadcasting of international competitions involving a particularly high-performing French team.

International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship. Transdisciplinary sport and physical activity development in urban real-world labs, by Hagen Wäsche, Richard Beecroft, Helena Trenks, Andreas Seebacher & Oliver Parodi.

In their article “Transdisciplinary sport and physical activity development in urban real-world lab” (2021), Wäsche, Beecroft, Trenks, Seebacher & Parodi employed an urban real-world lab. Their aim was to present a research approach that can contribute to a sustainable development of urban spaces for sports and physical activity, comprising theoretical reflections and directions for more applied research.

The real-world lab was established in 2012 in Karlsruhe, a city in southwestern Germany with about 310,000 inhabitants, and was comprised of a number of projects that were built around it. Within Karlsruhe, the real-world focusses on the East of the city (Oststadt), a district of Karlsruhe with about 21,000 inhabitants. The overarching goal was to contribute to a transition of a typical European urban district towards a culture of sustainability.

The underlying methodology of the real-world lab is transdisciplinary, building on participatory, transformation-oriented research integrating numerous partners form civil society, city administration and also (disciplinary) sciences. Within the real-world lab, one of the projects was the “Real-world Lab 131” (Parodi et al., 2016) which included the development of sport and physical activity in the urban district. The “Real-world Lab 131” was part of the research program “Science for Sustainability” of the German federal state Baden-Württemberg.

The starting point of the project was an open process of participatory agenda setting. Milestones in this iterative exchange between citizens, local actors, scientists, students and city officials were a Citizen Conference (i.e., a town hall meeting) to identify core fields for the sustainable development of the district and to decide on project proposals that were developed by various scientists from the university at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). To coordinate this process, a combination of meetings, workshops and online discussions were utilised. The ideas identified and initiatives generated in this process formed the core of the project. Consistent with participatory designs, the integration of citizens and stakeholders at an early stage was paramount to ensure a problem and transition-oriented approach, and to ensure numerous stakeholders were involved throughout the project (Meyer-Soylu et al., 2016).

Through this process four overarching thematic fields were developed: (1) the city as a social space, (2) climate and energy, (3) mobility and quality of life, and (4) circular and sustainable economy. The thematic fields developed were taken up quickly by the city officials of Karlsruhe and included to its integrated development plan, which is considered a first result of the participatory process. In the next step, project concepts for the four thematic fields were developed and designed in a co-productive process between citizens and involved scientists. In this process, scientists from 13 departments of the KIT were involved, including the department of sports and sports science. Next to the projects, a real-world lab infrastructure was developed that provided administrative support, facilities in the district, support in data aggregation of different projects, an embedding of university classes in real-lab research, a process of formative evaluation, and consultation. The aim was to identify, analyse and develop spaces of social interaction and physical activity in the district, based on the proposals made in the citizen program.

The first subproject with regard to spaces was called Mapping Space. This project focused on the design of urban spaces and was based on various seminars of the Faculty of Architecture. It aimed to foster learning and exchange among students, citizens of the district and policy makers. The students visited central places of the district and developed various designs for these places that inspire social interaction and activities in public space.

The second subproject was Linear Square and dealt with “linear places” such as streets and pathways in the district and their quality with regard to aspects of social interaction and physical activity. Students of architecture conducted field research and participant observation. Their findings resulted in a map displaying various thematic walks in the district that can be used by citizens and visitors. A third project dealt with active transport in the district by analysing its walkability. This project was again conducted as a student-based project which aimed at learning, but also to provide an impetus for processes of transformation. Students at the Institute of Sports and Sports Science developed a walkability checklist for urban residents (Wäsche et al., 2019). A fourth project focused on the development of a circuit for exercise in a Public Park. This project was initiated by a group of senior citizens and developed and implemented by researchers of the KIT in cooperation with city officials responsible for public parks. The circuit was comprised of 8 stations with various exercises for warming-up and motor fitness (strength, coordination, agility) and a looping footpath for walking or jogging (endurance).

The fifth and final project was called Network for Physical Activity. This was the largest of the five projects and focused on the provision of opportunities for sport, play and physical activity in the district. Through document analysis and interviews, all providers of sport and physical activity in the district were identified. Next to sport clubs, commercial sport providers, schools, kindergartens, Church communities, homes for the elderly, social welfare, youth clubs and other organizations from the public, private and non-profit sector were invited to take part in a survey (N = 563). When analysed the data revealed opportunities for formal and informal sport, play and physical activities sport facilities that were available in the district, and which of these were accessible and open for the public.

Through this innovative transdisciplinary participatory design authors concluded that all five projects followed the principle that problem-oriented action was taken to initiate and support processes of transformation with regard to sport and physical activity of the district’s population. In this way, the authors yielded various results that support the developmental processes concerning sport and physical activity in this research setting. They note that urban real-world labs can be used as a new methodological approach for sport and physical activity development as it fosters a bottom-up process in which affected citizens and stakeholders are able to contribute to urban transformations.

Communication & Sport. “Yay, Another Lady Starting a Log!”: Women’s Fitness Doping and the Gendered Space of an Online Doping Forum, by April Henning & Jesper Andreasson.

The authors of the study (2021), April Henning and Jesper Andreasson, investigate and dissect the meanings attached to women’s use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs), how fitness doping can be understood in terms of gender and spatiality, and what implications this has for women’s communicative engagement with one another within an online forum. To do so, they employed a qualitative case study and nethnographic research design. Netnography, often described as online ethnography (Hine, 2000), has been used previously in doping research and has surfaced interesting understadnings of doping practices. The approach was deemed appropriate to understand how community members on ThinkSteroids discuss fitness doping and the meanings attached to this practice.

The authors decided to concentrate on the Women and Steroids forum as it was the one explicitly directed at steroid use specifically rather than other froums that speak to “training” or “supplements”.. It is included under the forum group “Anabolic Steroids,” and discussion threads focused on a wide range of topics related to women’s use of these substances. At the time of data collection, the forum included 340 discussion topics and more than 16,000 individual posts. The pseudo-anonymity in the forum meant that the authors were unable to gather demographic data beyond sex.

Henning and Andreasson predominantly utilised posts from members identifying themselves as women. In order to contextualise the discussions around women’s fitness doping experiences, the authors had to include a limited number of posts from male-identified members. According Henning and Andreasson, this was necessary in the third part of the results to discuss the gendering of the forum. Such posts have were not analysed in detail but instead used as a means to exemplify the kind of gendered perspectives and discussions that women found and responded to on the forum.

The data analysis was based on verbatim transcript translation and readings of the posts presented on the Women and Steroids forum. The transcripts were re-read and coded into themes that related to the theoretical aim of the study while at the same time describing/explaining the subjective meanings being expressed in relation to women’s fitness doping. The coding process was conducted manually and inductively.The themes that emerged in the coding process concerned (1) descriptions of triggers and motivation to engage in doping use, (2) thoughts about experimentation with doping (including possible side effects), and (3) the gendered dimensions of women’s doping.

The results suggest that although the women’s doping forum provided a space for women to share their own unique experiences, there was a limit to the extent to which the discussions mirror the experiences and experimentations of women. Instead and interestingly, discussions were often dominated by men’s voices/experiences. According to Henning and Andreasson women seeking out advice or the experiences of other women had to navigate through and around men’s contributions.

International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship. The brand persona of a football manager – the case of Arsene Wenger, by Adele Berndt.

The author Adele Berndt from the Jönköping University, in her 2022 article explores the brand persona of football managers, using Arsène Wenger as a case.

Berndt argues that sport is an important economic activity, and understanding the role of teams and managers is necessary, yet managers – specifically their brand personas – have been the subject of limited research. She employed an exploratory design of her study and used qualitative methods to explore the brand-building activity. Berndt conducted a case study analysis to uncover unique insights in the context of Arsène Wenger (AW).

The reason for the selection of former Arsenal FC manager Wenger was due to him being one of the longest serving managers in the English Premier League (EPL). He initially played football for amateur clubs and then went on to play for Strasbourg in the French league. In 1981, he completed his coaching qualifications and initially managed a number of French clubs inclusing Monaco. AW was recruited to Arsenal while coaching in Japan and arrived as a relatively unknown manager in 1996, bringing a scientific approach to training. During his time at Arsenal, the club won three EPL titles and seven Football Association (FA) Cups. In 2004, the team (nicknamed “The Invincibles”) was unbeaten throughout the season. AW left Arsenal at the end of the 2017/2018 season (Associated Press, 2018; Daily Mail, 2018).

Berndt collected media articles and materials on AW from leading online newspapers (e.g. Daily Mail, The Independent) using the name “Arsène Wenger” as the search term, enabling content analysis (Bowie, 2019). Media articles analysed were authored by press agencies (e.g. Associated Press, Reuters) and independent sports journalists (e.g. Mokbel, Mann-Bryans). Rich data was cpollected from articles from the last three years of AW’s EPL career (1 August 2015 to 30 June 2018) to explore how AW described himself as a brand owner through his own words.

To begin, 17,383 results covering three EPL seasons (2015–2018) were downloaded analysed. Duplicate articles and match reports or articles not containing quotes (or the words) of AW (the brand owner) were removed, resulting in 1,364 unique documents and 23 images. The images included AW at training sessions, pre- and post-match press conferences, and pitchside during matches. All media pages were analysed using NVivo as PDF documents or images. Coding involved compiling defined codes and then “judging a segment of text whether a specific code is present” (Hruschka et al., 2004, p. 308). Two a priori codes (strategic choices and expression) were created initially based on the literature review, but the author decided to expand these codes and devloped emergent codes. An independent coder was used to verify the coherency and accuracy of the coding (Marquardt et al., 2017). Berndt briefed the coder on the purpose of the study, discussed the draft coding sheet, and a pilot coding of ten articles was completed after which the coder verified a random sample of 10% of the articles (Lombard et al., 2002). Berndt suggests this was done to ensure the credibility and trustworthiness of the coding process. Inter-rating agreement of 85% was achieved, and disagreements were resolved through discussion (Campbell et al., 2013).

The findings showed the construction of the brand persona in three main dimensions pertinent to Wenger’s role as a manager. The first is the performance in the managerial role in which he was appointed, the second was associated with the person (including emotions and self-expression) and the third was the context (i.e. football) in which the manager operated.

3. Conclusion

Overall, the methodological approaches used in these papers highlight the scope of a methods (and associated techniques and practices) being used within sport management research. They display a response to the current and emerging issues that sport management researchers are addressing and in doing so enhance the methodologica contribution to the discipline. The selected papers discussed have shown the ecletic methodological designs being used: Particpatory designs, case studies, transdiciplionary studies, comparative designs, netography, global ethnorgraphic approaches, content analyisis, in-depth inerviews, mixed methods designs and questionanaires have been used to glean insights into a phenomena worthy of investoagted. This application of a variety of research approaches contributes to the increasing evidence of the methodological sophistication occurring in the sport management discipline.

4. Annotated Bibliography

Pehkonen, S. (2021). Coaches’ Self-Initiated Complaints About Referees in Ice Hockey Postgame Press Conferences. Communication & Sport, 9(4), 670-692.

The author, a researcher at Tampere University, investigated how ice hockey coaches raise complaints against referees in postgame press conferences (PGPCs). Utilising conversation analysis of video recordings from Finnish and Swedish men’s (semi)professional ice hockey leagues, this article posited that complaints are formulated within assessment sequences and are made hearable as complaints through implicit and explicit verbal and bodily cues. The findings also suggest that while referees are the non-present third party in the PGPC, the design of the complaints provides opportunities and places obligations on the participants present in the PGPC (media representatives, game officials, and the opposing coach) to (dis)align with the complainer. Finally, this article revealed a tension between the normative expectations of the coaches to stand by their team, which may include criticising referees, while respecting referees as guardians of sporting ethics and acknowledging the increased demands for media attention.

Toffoletti, K., Pegoraro, A., & Comeau, G. S. (2021). Self-representations of women’s sport fandom on Instagram at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Communication & Sport, 9(5), 695-717.

The researchers investigated how fans of women’s sport are using Instagram to self-represent their fandom. They used the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) as a case study to examine the ways in which fans at a women’s sport event express their fandom through images and to consider the social and political dimensions of using Instagram for promoting women’s sport. Instagram pictures containing the event-related hashtags #FIFAWWC, #LiveYourGoals, #SheBelieves, and #CanadaRed were collected over the tournament duration. From a content analysis of 3,605 images, the authors argued that visual networked platforms are facilitating online communication conventions within sport fan communities that function as forms of social presence to legitimate women’s participation as fans and generate visibility for women’s sport.

Oshiro, K. F., Weems, A. J., & Singer, J. N. (2021). Cyber Racism Toward Black Athletes: A Critical Race Analysis of TexAgs. com Online Brand Community. Communication & Sport, 9(6), 911-933.

In this study, the authors drew from critical race theory (CRT) to interrogate cyber racism against Black male athletes in the OBC. The primary purpose of this study was to conduct an exploratory collective case study of fan-generated discourse about Michael Bennett, Mike Evans, Myles Garrett, and Von Miller. Content analysis was used to examine and uncover the racially charged language directed toward these athletes. Three salient, interrelated themes were discovered: (1) good Aggie versus bad Aggie dichotomy, (2) dumb/misguided, and (3) thug.

Feddersen, N. B., Morris, R., Storm, L. K., Littlewood, M. A., & Richardson, D. J. (2021). A longitudinal study of power relations in a British olympic sport organization. Journal of Sport Management, 35(4), 312-324.

The purpose of this study was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organisation in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study design combining Action Research and Grounded Theory. Data collection included ethnography and focus group discussion (n=10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The core concept found was power relations further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g. formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organisation. The informational power (e.g. tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilised coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organisation's agenda.

Ramon, X., & Tulloch, C. D. (2021). Life beyond clickbait journalism: A transnational study of the independent football magazine market. Communication & Sport, 9(4), 603-624.

The authors, researchers at Pompeu Fabra University, investigated the expansion of the independent football magazine market. They suggest a constellation of quality football print magazines has emerged as an alternative destination in sports journalism. They conducted in-depth interviews with the editors of eight prestigious projects from seven countries: Howler (United States), Panenka and Libero (Spain), Mundial (United Kingdom), So Foot (France), 11 Freunde (Germany), Offside (Sweden), and Ballesterer (Austria). Their findings suggested that the editorial philosophy of the interviewed editors is built on three core axes aimed at developing cultural capital: (1) a diverse and multifaceted football agenda that embraces unheard voices and far-reaching issues of a sociocultural, geopolitical, and economic nature; (2) the importance of dedicating time and resources to create a visually distinctive output; and (3) a deliberate emphasis on nostalgia and resistance to the seemingly endless commodification of football.

MacCharles, J. D., & Melton, E. N. (2021). Charting their own path: Using life course theory to explore the careers of gay men working in sport. Journal of Sport Management, 35(5), 407-425.

Drawing from life course theory, the purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the experiences of 12 gay men working in the sport industry and understand how their awareness (or lack thereof) of the stigma associated with being gay shaped their career decisions. The authors’ findings suggested that historical/social context, organizational practices, personal and professional relationships, and the interplay between these factors inform how gay men navigate their stigmatised identities while working in sport.

Lee, J. W. (2021). Olympic ceremony and diplomacy: South Korean, North Korean, and British media coverage of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games’ opening and closing ceremonies. Communication & Sport, 9(5), 761-784.

The author, a researcher from the University of Edinburg, examined South Korean, North Korean, and British newspaper coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in order to identify the diplomatic gestures and conduct presented during these ceremonial events. This study looked at three diplomatically important components of the opening and closing ceremonies: artistic performance, a parade of nations, and the presence of world leaders. The media coverage of these components revealed that (1) the dissemination of a message of peace and unity, (2) the representation of unified Korean identity and Korean cultural heritage, and (3) the communication and negotiation between the high-level state officials were the three most visible acts of diplomacy at these celebrational occasions.

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