Telling Tales in Sport and Physical Activity: A Qualitative Journey

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9780736031097: Telling Tales in Sport and Physical Activity: A Qualitative Journey

Telling Tales in Sport and Physical Activity: A Qualitative Journey is the first book to challenge and displace the tried-and-true and often atrociously dull writing styles employed by qualitative researchers of sport and physical activity. Author Andrew Sparkes breaks disciplinary boundaries to move the field into new and unfamiliar territory by encouraging qualitative researchers to think of themselves as storytellers, not just scientists.

Using traditional and contemporary writing styles as examples, author Andrew Sparkes introduces readers to the potential that storytelling in different genres has to contribute to the understanding and acceptance of sport and physical activity. Sparkes also provides readers with innovative examples of how, when, and why to use new writing practices to make research more readable and understandable.

The text urges qualitative researchers to become central characters in their writing and to use their own embodied experiences as a valuable resource for inquiry. Drawing inspiration from poets, novelists, and dramatists, Sparkes encourages researchers to acquire and nurture their own voices in their writing and to highlight the writing as a process of discovery, understanding, and analysis. The text features
-artful illustrations of how writing styles ranging from confessional to fictional can persuade readers to more readily accept and believe what is written;

-a thorough discussion of the emergence of new forms of representation and the shifting landscape of qualitative research within the social sciences;

-a comprehensive evaluation of the methods that can be employed to judge and legitimize the different tales researchers are using to represent their work;

-an overview of what the future of sport and physical activity looks like if researchers make informed, principled, and strategic choices in their storytelling; and

-illustrations of how new approaches can be better and more beneficial in certain contexts and for certain purposes than the older, more traditional style of reporting qualitative research.
Researchers will neither view their own writing practices as innocent nor take them for granted after reading this book. Rather, they will find a new complexity and a new source of fascination in what they and others write. Scholars in the field will be encouraged to experiment with how they represent their findings as part of an emerging research community that is spoken, written, performed, and experienced from many sites. Telling Tales in Sport and Physical Activity: A Qualitative Journey is an essential resource for social scientists performing qualitative research and a perfect supplemental text for graduate-level students who are beginning their research journey.

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About the Author:

Andrew C. Sparkes, PhD, is a professor of social theory and the director of the Qualitative Research Unit in the School of Health & Sport Sciences at the University of Exeter in Exeter, Devon, England. He earned his doctor of philosophy and bachelor of education from Loughborough University, and his master of arts from Durham University. He has taught qualitative research methods to undergraduate and postgraduate students for 12 years.

Extensively published, Dr. Sparkes has developed an international reputation as an expert and innovative thinker in qualitative research circles. Sparkes is the editor of Auto/Biography, a refereed journal of the British Sociological Association Study Group. He serves on the advisory board for Sport, Education & Society and is an editorial board member for the European Physical Education Review, Sociology of Sport On-Line, Agora, and the International Journal of Men's Health.

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