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A summary by Callum Bromley of the main

points of: The Qualitative Report by Ian


Jones, Volume 3, December 1997.

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Introduction into sports fandom with


definitions.
Quantitative research methods in sports
fandom.
Quantitative research advantages and
disadvantages.
Qualitative research methods in sports
fandom.
Qualitative research advantages and
disadvantages.
Mixed methods approach
Summary

Although interest in the sports fan dates back to the beginning


of the century, there is little empirical research on the subject
(Jones, 1997, p. 1).

Sports fandom comprises of emotional and behavioral aspects


which are of a value to the individual. The intensity of fandom
can vary significantly (Pooley, 1978, p.14)

Sports fandom consists of cognitive, affective and behavioral


components which are of an equal importance when
investigations are undertaken.

Previous research investigations into the sports fan have


favoured more quantitative methodologies such as
Branscombe & Wann (1991, 1992).
Qualitative research on the sports fan is extremely rare.
However, such examples include Armstrong (1998).

Few investigations, if any, adopt a rigid mixed methods


approach of qualitative and quantitative research. Instead
opting for a single methodology perspective.

The report argues that a mixed method approach is


worthwhile in order to gain a fuller understanding of the typical
sports fan.

The nature of the sports fan investigated will have


implications upon the suitability of a methodology.

Sports fandom consists of more than overt behavior which


has important implications on the choice of research
methodology.

Overt behavior is behavior that is done openly or intentionally.


In terms of sports fandom, verbal support for a particular
sports team.

Quantitative research can be defined as


assumptions of human behavior of a sports fan
according to social fact.

Quantitative research investigations look for


distinguishable characteristics in order to gain a
quantifiable measurement of sports fandom.

Quantitative research is mainly used to address


the behavioral components of a typical sports
fan.

Relatively easy to collect and collate sets of data.

Statistical analysis can be undertaken, giving the


investigation scientific credibility.

Anomalies can be distinguished within the data set


with relative ease.

Comparisons can be made between broad data


ranges.

Longitudinal data can be collected between


consecutive sessions in order to enhance data
validity and reliability.

Jayaratne (1993) argues the strength of


quantitative research as it provides objective
data for objective analysis. An example of this
in relation to sports fandom is the comparison of
fans evaluation of team performance in relation
to attendance figures.
An example of quantitative research is the
SNCCFR (1996, 1997) research into behavioral
patterns of a typical English football fan at a
number of premier league football games.

Failure to assess the deeper underlying meanings


and explanations of sports fandom.

Only an assessment of the behavioral concept of


sports fandom, therefore does not address affective
and cognitive psychological issues.

Single data studies are only considered as a relative


snapshot of sports fandom. This means that it
doesnt take into account enduring variable factors
such as a teams performance or currant form.

It addresses people as a complete set of variables,


making no reference to specific individuals empathy
to sports fandom.

Qualitative research is an interpretative


approach from the informants point of view
(Jones, 1997, p.3).

Qualitative methodologies provide in depth


knowledge on sporting fandom from a
personal perspective, through research
techniques such as interviews and open
questionnaires.

Provides an insight to the cognitive and


affective aspects of sports fandom.

Advantages
Measurement of human behavior
from the outside.

Disadvantages
Low sample numbers may mean
data is unrepresentative of
fandom

Provides an understanding of how Only subjective conclusions can


subjects view personal behavior.
be drawn
Allows greater in depth cognitive
and effective sports fandom
research

Maykut and Morehouse (1994)


suggest qualitative research may
invite hostility.

Concepts are introduced from a


personal perspective rather than
pre-determined by the researcher

Validity of the research is


questioned as it is difficult to
determine how true the findings
actually are.

Provides flexibility as a researcher Time consuming process of data


and a subject
collection and collation
Allows for longitudinal changes in
sports fandom

Single methodology approach has been advocated


by a number of authors but many supporting
arguments are pragmatic.
Both qualitative and quantitative single methodology
approaches have strengths and weaknesses.
The combination of methodologies, however can
strengthen research into sports fandom.
Jayaratne (1993, p.117) comments qualitative data
can support and explicate the meaning of
quantitative research.
This ensures that the final research product
maximises the strength of a mixed methods
approach. (Jones, 1997, p.5)

Sports fandom involves cognitive and affective


characteristics, as well as overt behavior. This
means a qualitative core is appropriate for the
investigation, supported by quantitative
evidence.
Quantitative analysis can complement the
findings of qualitative research into sports
fandom.
A mixed method approach to sports fandom may
enhance the quality of work produce and help
provide greater scope for new developments
within this particular .