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Evidence based practice in sport development: a realistic evaluation of a sport and physical activity strategy

Daniels, John (2015) Evidence based practice in sport development: a realistic evaluation of a sport and physical activity strategy. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Local sport and physical activity strategy offer a plan for governing and exploiting resources with the objective of stimulating interest and increasing participation in sport. The impact of ‘strategy’ can be inconsistent and little is known of the personal and contextual factors that influence strategy effectiveness. Multiple programmes within a local sport and physical activity strategy were evaluated using a mixed method design through interviews and questionnaires with both programme leaders and participants. The data were generated between 2007 and 2012 and analysed using the Realistic Evaluation framework of Pawson and Tilley (1997). The findings show that the Strategy activities offer a foundation for instigating social connectedness and a mechanism for personal and professional development. These mechanisms were triggered when individual, and cultural needs were accommodated. Other outcomes explored within the thesis include the transfer of skills, the creation of safer and stronger communities and the improvement of health and wellbeing. Collectively, the data helped generate explanations or theory for these outcomes and formed useful information upon which strategic decisions were made. Further, there is critical commentary about the research position and its application in a sport development context.

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