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Engaging participants in qualitative research: methodological reflections on studying active older lives in Scotland and Australia


Tulle, E and Palmer, C, Engaging participants in qualitative research: methodological reflections on studying active older lives in Scotland and Australia, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health pp. 1-15. ISSN 2159-676X (2020) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/2159676X.2020.1812700


Deliberations on methodology in qualitative research have typically offered guidance for increasing involvement by subjects or focus on the reasons why people choose not to take part in the research. This paper provides a different contribution to advancing knowledge and practice in qualitative methodologies. It examines the reasons why people choose to participate in qualitative research. Drawing together our reflections on three research projects with older athletes in Australia and Scotland, the paper examines: the importance of shared insider experience and physical capital by the researchers and participants alike, participant empowerment and enthusiasm to share their passion as older athletes and; the opportunity for the research to counter perceptions of invisibility – of leisure interests, older people and active older women more particularly as key factors in engaging participants in the research process. Specifically, we link the sociological concept of capital and the notion of the gambit to qualitative studies in sport, health and leisure. As a sociological reflection on both the design and methods of qualitative research and the subjective experiences of our participants, the research has wider significance and application to critical qualitative methodologies more broadly and investigations of older people’s leisure experiences more specifically.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:qualitative research, physical capital, cultural capital, recruitment strategies, social change
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociological methodology and research methods
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Organised sports
UTAS Author:Palmer, C (Professor Catherine Palmer)
ID Code:140925
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-09-15
Last Modified:2020-10-29

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