The epistemology of qualitative research into sport: ethical and erotetic?


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McFee, Graham (2009) The epistemology of qualitative research into sport: ethical and erotetic? Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 1 (3). pp. 297-311. ISSN 2159-676X

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The paper urges that researches into the social scientific aspects of sport centrally depend on distinctive epistemological assumptions, ignored at researchers’ peril. Given the ‘question‐and‐answer’ (i.e. erotetic) relation between research questions and research methods in sport, ‘qualitative research’ into sport is best recognised as research dealing with persons viewed as persons. But such interpersonal conceptions automatically import an ethical dimension; and much of this research will involve a degree of covertness. How can such research designs be accommodated, given the scientism prevalent in sports studies? As an epistemological argument, the presentation is largely given abstractly. One part of that argument lies in recognising just how pervasive such scientism is: even an explicit rejection of scientism (fuelled by postmodernism, perhaps) can still take its bearings from a scientistic account of truth – that is what is being denied! Further, such denial can seem to be a rejection of the concept of truth. But the search for truth is fundamental to any research worth the name. So a second part articulates a conception of human truth. Such a conception can be given a philosophical underpinning by a particularist contextualism, although this is merely sketched in the paper. A third consideration lays out the distinctiveness of this account of truth, highlighting its appropriateness to social research, given its congruence with the picture of ‘research into persons’ from which the paper began.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: epistemology; erotetic; naturalistic; scientism; postmodernism; evidence; finite totality
Subjects: L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy
X000 Education > X500 National Curriculum > X525 Dance Education
L000 Social Sciences > L300 Sociology > L311 Sport and Leisure
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/19398440903192357
Faculties: Faculty of Education and Sport > Chelsea School
Depositing User: Converis
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2011 11:21
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2013 07:54

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