Authentic Insights



Peter Berger, in his invitation to sociology (1963), wrote about “the curiosity that grips any sociologist in front of a closed door behind which there are human voices”. I have been fascinated by learning about these voices in education and in sport.

In pre-Internet days, I enjoyed reading about the lives (voices) of teachers and pupils in books like Philip Jackson’s Life in Classrooms and Ivor Goodson’s Studying Teachers’ Lives. Ivor’s advocacy and use of life history methods struck a strong chord with me and informed my ethnographic approach to the study of physical education in schools.

This story about Anush and basketball fever is an example of where Ivor, and subsequently John van Maanen, took me.

With the Internet, we have ever-increasing opportunities to learn about and share voices. I believe strongly that the thick description available to us through multi-media content raises important issues about and opportunities for authentic learning.

When we had initial discussions (in 2000) about the format of the proposed International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, one of my suggestions was to enable agnostic content (text, audio, video, data) to be shared and to do so as an open educational resource in any language.

If I had the same conversation today, I would support strongly the produsage of performance analysis accounts from the diverse social media available to us. I would be mindful of the conventions in using these resources. In October this year, Chelsea Lee wrote:

Thanks to developments in technology and feedback from our users, the APA Style team has updated the formats for citing social media, including content from Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. These guidelines are the same as you’ll find in our APA Style Guide to Electronic References, Sixth Edition (available in PDF and Kindle formats).

The availability of such diverse sources is offering remarkable opportunities to develop digital literacies and dynamic sharing of content that go beyond traditional journal formats.

I do feel very strongly that the digital age has transformed the narrative of scholarly writing.

The blossoming field of performance analysis in sport can make a significant contribution to this transformation. I discussed the contribution blogging might make to our understanding in this post.

I found two excellent examples (Charlie and Adam) of this approach this week. They relate directly to the occupational culture of a performance analyst.


Josh Bryan introduces Charlie Barwis in a Visual Performance Analysis blog post.

Charlie is a graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University (UWIC). His present role is Performance Analysis intern at Millfield School.

Josh’s blog post shares a 41 minute 22 seconds YouTube video recording of his interview with Charlie.


If I was asked on an undergraduate or postgraduate course to discuss what it is performance analysts do, I would hope to use Charlie as an example of participation in an exciting career pathway.

APA allows me to cite the video using the author’s screen name:

AnalysisForAll. (2013, December 5). Performance Analysis at Millfield School [Video file]. Retrieved from

Josh’s blog post is:

Bryan, J. (2013, December 5). Charlie Barwis Video Interview [Blog post]. Retrieved from

As a student produser, I would treat these secondary sources with the same rigour as if I were reading a journal paper or a book chapter. Their digital provenance should enable me to make informed decisions about their authenticity.


Adam Cullinane

Adam Cullinane is the Performance Analysis Officer at Cardiff Metropolitan University (UWIC). Adam has written a detailed, insightful blog post about changes in Performance Analysis in the last five years.

The APA reference for his post is:

Cullinane, A. (2013, November 22). “What has changed in Performance Analysis over the last 5 years?” [Blog post]. Retrieved from

I do think Adam’s post is a must-read for anyone involved in or thinking about becoming involved in performance analysis.

I am mindful that Adam’s post appears in the Visual Performance Analysis blog. As a reader I am mindful that overreliance on one source is an issue to be addressed through personal judgement. However, I do think this is the same kind of vigilance i would have if I was citing a number of papers from one journal.

As part of my reflection on the authenticity of the post, I might take note of open peer response to the paper. APA gives me the opportunity to cite Twitter.

This is a reference for a tweet that provides information about visits to Adam’s post:

VisualPA. (2013, December 3). Not bad statistics for your blog @adam_cullinane !! [Twitter post]. Retrieved from

The tweet is:


Authentic Resources

My aim in writing this post is to support those authors who are keen to transform the public and scholarly narratives about performance analysis in sport.

I have been through the 1980s discussions of the validity of qualitative research. I am hopeful that just as qualitative research is acknowledge as a valid and reliable approach to gathering and telling stories, the emerging digital literacies (with all the required safeguards) will be seen as acceptable too … in a much shorter time frame.

I do hope that if there are any inaccuracies in this post they will be pointed out to me. This seems an essential characteristic of open publishing … an interested (supportive or antithetical) readership becomes co-authors.

If we use established rules of evidence, the rich digital assets available to us become vibrant, authentic resources. We can do this with our close or loose connections to each other.

Photo Credit

The Art of WordPress (mkhmarketing, CC BY 2.0)

6 thoughts on “Authentic Insights”

  1. Thanks for creating this resource as confirmation of the value of social media as a communicative knowledge-transfer tool. I certainly see and share the value.

    This article, published today, by Vicki Coleman adds more supporting evidence – ‘Social Media as a Primary Source: A Coming of Age’

    An extract reads:
    “Signs indicate that the research guides are being rewritten to accommodate the impact of social media on informational resources. Social media expands our reach more quickly, much further, and at a grander scale through words, pictures, and videos. Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram empower individuals to share their voice in a media-centric model. With communication of information fundamentally changing, the definition of a primary source needs to reflect this change.”

    Is any more permission required?

    1. Hello, Darrell

      Thank you for posting a comment and for the link.

      I am very struck by the parallels between the emergence of qualitative research and social media resources.

      I hope to respond to your comment with a detailed post.

      Thank you for all your energy.

      Best wishes


  2. Hello Keith, really interesting post.

    On a different subject areas I was asked to speak to some MSC Sport Coaching Students at Lougbrough University recently on the theme of “My 30y in UK Coaching”. I prepared a presentation with old photographs together with some personal insights and messages. If you are over in the UK would be great to share these with you.

    Apologies have not been in touch of late but very busy at moment on both work and home front.

    Regards Graham

    1. Thanks for posting, Graham.

      Do you have a copy of the presentation? It would be good to include it on Clyde Street.


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