University Of Tasmania

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Engaging participants in qualitative research: methodological reflections on studying active older lives in Scotland and Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 17:50 authored by Tulle, E, Palmer, C
Deliberations on methodology in qualitative research have typically offered guidance for increasing involvement by subjects or focus on the reasons why people choose not to take part in the research. This paper provides a different contribution to advancing knowledge and practice in qualitative methodologies. It examines the reasons why people choose to participate in qualitative research. Drawing together our reflections on three research projects with older athletes in Australia and Scotland, the paper examines: the importance of shared insider experience and physical capital by the researchers and participants alike, participant empowerment and enthusiasm to share their passion as older athletes and; the opportunity for the research to counter perceptions of invisibility – of leisure interests, older people and active older women more particularly as key factors in engaging participants in the research process. Specifically, we link the sociological concept of capital and the notion of the gambit to qualitative studies in sport, health and leisure. As a sociological reflection on both the design and methods of qualitative research and the subjective experiences of our participants, the research has wider significance and application to critical qualitative methodologies more broadly and investigations of older people’s leisure experiences more specifically.


Publication title

Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health






School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Organised sports