Handbook of Research on Sport and Business
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Handbook of Research on Sport and Business

Edited by Sten Söderman and Harald Dolles

This Handbook draws together top international researchers and discusses the state of the art and the future direction of research at the nexus between sport and business. It is heavily built upon choosing, applying and evaluating appropriate quantitative as well as qualitative research methods for practical advice in sport and business research.
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Chapter 9: Case study research in sport management: a reflection upon the theory of science and an empirical example

Eivind Å. Skille


Case study research is gaining popularity in sport management research (Slack and Parent, 2006). For example, Understanding Sport Organizations – an international textbook – contained not a single chapter on research methods in its first edition (Slack 1997). In the second edition (Slack and Parent, 2006) there is a separate chapter devoted to ‘Doing research in sport management’ (ibid.: 17–34), which includes several examples of case studies in sport management research. A similarity can be seen in terms of the content of the journal European Sport Management Quarterly. A review of three recent volumes (2007–09) reveals that about one out of four research articles use a case study approach. Thus, it is evident that case study research is worth some consideration by sport management researchers (also, in this volume, Dibben and Dolles, 2013; Gratton and Solberg, 2013; O’Reilly, 2013; Walters and Hamil, 2013). In this chapter I reflect upon the qualitative attributes of the case study – as an increasingly common approach used by sport management researchers – by considering notes from the theory of science. Generally, case study research is considered appropriate when the research questions contain ‘how’ or ‘why’ formulations, and when the phenomenon being studied is in real-life contexts where there are often unclear boundaries with other real-life phenomena (Slack and Parent, 2006; Yin, 2003).

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