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)


I have been following a LinkedIn discussion initiated by Dave Willoughby in the Performance Analysis in Sport Group.

Dave posted about Unpaid Internships on his blog on 16 April. I thought Dave’s analysis of internship advertisements over an eighteen month period was very helpful in providing a focus for discussion.

The LinkedIn discussion has had 20 responses to date. Yesterday, Josh Bryan provided a link in the discussion to the BASES position stand on graduate on internships (pdf).


I think the distinction between volunteer, worker and employee is an excellent clarification of a continuum of opportunities. It took me back to my reading of Max Weber four decades ago and to the distinction between values and being valued.

I thought the BASES decision tree (Figure 1 in the stand document) about internship pathways was very helpful.



This position stand and the LinkedIn exchanges have helped me think more deeply about the ways we share learning experiences and how a community of practice can support its members. This is my second post on this topic. My first post was written a month ago.


6016461865_4d0415581a_bI have not written many posts in the past two months. I have been a peripheral participant in many conversations and have admired from afar the insights and wisdom being shared.

This week a post from Stephen Downes was a catalyst for this post about c-ness.

Stephen linked to Dan Pontefract’s post The Organisation as a Cycling Peloton. Dan suggested “Maybe if we were to act like a peloton in our organizations, we might see higher levels of employee engagement”. Dan liked the idea that a peloton (particularly in recreational cycling): shared the load; communicated proactively; encouraged and recognised effort.

For some reason, I am not sure why, I started thinking about discussions of the forms MOOCs take. If there are cMOOCs, I wondered if there were cPelotons. The c-ness of both activities seems to promote cooperation and reciprocal altruism. I liked Gordon Lockhart‘s discussion of the c-ness of MOOCs. In a post earlier this year, Gordon observed:

cMOOCs are very peculiar beasts. I was first thrown by one in 2011 (CCK11) when it dawned on me that, contrary to what was on the tin, a cMOOC wasn’t a ‘course’ at all. Instead, a heady amalgam of ‘massive’, ‘open’ and ‘online’ was leading to a quite extraordinary place where the normal rules of learning engagement just didn’t apply. There were a couple of facilitators but no teachers. Participants were encouraged to create and maintain their own blogs. Social media was used for discussion and sharing resources. Topics were explored together, connections made and groups were formed and maintained long after the MOOC was over. cMOOCs never die – I still check out the CCK11 page on Facebook.

2186106604_78dd38ebb8_bI am particularly interested in cSOOCs. I think of the courses as Small rather than Massive. In the last two months, I have been delighted to have participated in an Introduction to Box’Tag cSOOC. I have been wondering if the C might be a community rather than a course. When I explored this idea, Stephen Downes responded with this observation:

courses have start and end dates, and communities don’t. So if your thing has a start and end date, it’s a course. It may foster and support community, but it’s something different. (Stephen’s emphasis)

Thanks to Stephen’s clarification, I do think this blending of courses and communities is part of the transformation Terry Heick discussed recently and is linked to the reflection Debbie Morrison discussed in regard to MOOCs. I think this blend is nourished by c-ness.

As a result of Stephen’s point, I realise when I discuss cSOOCs, I should specify that these are available after the ‘end’ of moments of concentration of collaborative or cooperative activity. They remain as resources in the dispersed communities they were designed to foster and support. Their c-ness includes: content creation, open and free sharing and personal responsibility for learning.

OopsI went missing in the discussion of accreditation in Performance Analysis too. I have been meaning to respond to the conversation around accreditation and the debate about unpaid internships. My tardiness meant that I could not find the unpaid intern position at Wigan Athletic advertised on the UK Sport website nor a position at Reading. But I did find Intern Aware and their discussion of the ethical issues related to unpaid internships and their illegality. There was coverage of the unpaid internship at Reading (including this Huffington Post UK post).

I thought Dave Willoughby provided an excellent discussion of internships in his post Unpaid Internships in Performance Analysis: My View. I liked his concluding statement:

I’m not asking for the earth, I don’t expect to be paid as much as Yaya Toure or Wayne Rooney, but if I’m doing a job that is valued I would at least expect to be paid enough to live on. I want to make a difference and help a team excel and achieve their potential, the sooner clubs realise the talent pool they are missing out on the better.

My involvement in the accreditation discussions about Performance Analysis are driven by a desire to infuse the process with c-ness. I would like to be part of a group that is able to form a consensus about standards and equivalence. Doug Belshaw‘s discussion of Mozilla’s Web Literacy Standard has focussed my attention this week. I am mindful that I need to support more effectively the advocacy lead by Jason Lear, Darrell Cobner and Josh Bryan amongst others.

I was around at the time the International Society of Performance Analysis in Sport (ISPAS) was founded and have followed the society’s development with interest. I note that ISPAS has shared its membership model on its Facebook page. I am hopeful that as an industry stakeholder, ISPAS might engage in accreditation discussions that have c-ness dispositions. I wondered if the sport technology hardware and software suppliers might do the same.

Together we could have a mutually assured system of accreditation that involves recognition of prior learning. The system could have many entry and exit points and could be mapped against tertiary education award schemes.

This leads me to a final point in this post.

I wonder if we can have an open accreditation system (cAccreditation) that has a modest fee for service (xAccreditation) that sets an open standard to assure the quality of performance analysts and to support the employment aspirations of generations of analysts.

Martin Lugton raises a very interesting point about cMOOCs and about c-ness:

cMOOCs are not proscriptive, and participants set their own learning goals and type of engagement. They won’t necessarily walk away with a fixed and tested set of specific skills or competencies, or knowledge of a set body of content. This makes cMOOCs tricky to grade or assess or certify. This, combined with the fact that the platform is totally open, means that they probably aren’t very easy to make any money from.

4337007744_70e6e21022_bWe are a very small industry and I am hopeful that we could develop an inclusive model that is sufficiently invitational that participating in it is ‘natural’ for our community of practice. We could share openly our practices and experiences to curate the most remarkable continuing professional development resources. We would be a great crowdsourcing professional organisation that might be sustainable by offering our shared energies in service of the common good. We could make c-ness work for us by anchoring our diversity in some fundamental principles.

We would be a cPeloton: sharing the load; communicating proactively; encouraging and recognising effort. Even on the hors catégorie climbs we could be a flat organisation.

Photo Credits

DSC_5645 (Roger Nilsson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Rainbow Over Innovation Park (Yorkali Walters CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Page not Found (UK Sport, accessed 27 April 2013)

No Safety Net Project 365(2) Day 5 (Keith Williamson, CC BY 2.0)