A Mixed Methods Approach to Compare Elite Sport Policies of Nations. A Critical Reflection on the Use of Composit Indicators in the SPLISS Study.

This paper discusses the utility of mixed methods research in international comparative studies on elite sport policies and (quantitative) composite indicators (CIs) in particular. It illustrates how complex and large amounts of data in 15 nations have been objectified into easily understood formats, CIs. Using a nine Pillar model, data were collected through a research inventory and surveys completed by 3142 elite athletes, 1376 coaches and 241 performance directors. Ninety-six critical success factors and 750 sub-factors were aggregated into a CI. The paper shows how CIs are helpful in identifying a possible (non) relationship between elite sport policies and success, in facilitating interpretation and comparison, and in understanding differences and convergences in elite sport systems. However, there are a number of drawbacks, for example, understanding elite sport policies as part of a broader social, cultural and political context. Complementary qualitative analysis is necessary and has been used to interpret elite sport policies of nations.

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