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An analysis of elite sport policy change in three sports in Canada and the United Kingdom

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This thesis explores the process of elite sport policy change in three sports (swimming, athletics and sailing/yachting) in Canada and the United Kingdom (UK). The nature of policy change is a complex and multi-faceted process and a primary aim of the study is to identify and analyse key sources of policy change in four elements of elite sport programming: i) the development of elite level facilities; ii) the emergence of 'full-time' swimmers, athletes and sailors; iii) the adoption of a more professional and scientific approach to coaching, sports science and sports medicine; and iv) competition opportunities and structures at the elite level.

The study focuses on the meso-level of analysis, which centres on the structures and patterns of relationships in respect of three Canadian national sporting organisations (NSOs) and three UK national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) - representing the three sports cited above.

The macro-level of analysis is also considered, where the primary concern is to analyse relations of power between governmenta nd quasi-governmentasl porting agenciesa nd the respective NSOs/NGBs. A case study approach is adopted, focusing on the six NSOs/NGBs, wherein a qualitative methodology is utilised in order to elicit data in respect of policy change in the four key elements of elite sport programming set out above.

Within the case study approach, the advocacy coalition framework has proved useful in drawing attention to the notion of changing values and belief systems as a key source of policy change, as well as highlighting the need to take into account factors external to the policy subsystem under investigation.

In Canada, it is evident that the preoccupation with high performance sport over the past 30 years, at federal government level, has perceptibly altered over the past two to three years. In contrast, in the UK, from the mid-1990s onwards, there has been a noticeable shift towards supporting elite sport objectives from both Conservative and Labour administrations.

The study concludes that it is only by exploring specific sports through a comparative-analytic framework that a better understanding of policy change, within the complex and multi-layered sport policy process, might be achieved.



editors comments

Editor's comments -  [ The above is the abstract from an original PhD thesis from the late Dr Green who is missed from the sport social science world; the final publication in the study for the author in pursuit of a doctorate; such works result in the author being awarded a PhD and the title of Dr. by an appropriately accedited University. PhD's are the culmination of a number of years work by the author supervised by two (normally PhD or MPhil qualified) academics and, with the addition of a further appropriately qualified academic (not normally from the same University) as part of a viva-voce examination team. Successful research work at PhD level is designed to add to the body of knowledge in the study area at some level.

A PhD thesis often forms the foundation for journal articles for the author and leads to further enquiry in the form of what is called post-doctoral research. These works are characterised by comprehensive literature reviews, sometimes traditional yet multiple (and often mixed) methods, interesting if not ground breaking discussions and always directional signs toward further research; they provide for undergraduates not only a model for the possibilities for further study but a gift in terms of references in any given subject areas.

To reference an eThesis the convention in the text is the same as a book; author (date), in the reference list there is some debate; theses are more often than not, unpublished works, yet when listed on databases at Universities or elsewhere it could be argued that they are published.

Our best advice is to reference list internet sourced theses as ‘published’…. ie.; Author, (date). Title (emphasised). Place of publication and (university) publisher. Available from: URL reference. See our example reference below. ]


APA reference for this document


Reference :   Green, M.J. (2003). An analysis of elite sport policy change in three sports in Canada and the United Kingdom. Loughborough: Loughborough University


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Access this URL (, M. PhDGreen, M.J. (2003). An analysis of elite sport policy change in three sports in Canada and the United Kingdom. Loughborough: Loughborough University
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 April 2013 14:07  

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