Measuring and analysing attributions in natural discourse in sport: What's the problem?

Christopher N. Sellars
University of Huddersfield, England

It has been demonstrated (e.g., Biddle & Hill, 1992: British Journal of Social Psychology, 31, 215-226) that sports people undertake attributional activity and ensuing attributions affect various emotional and motivational responses. Biddle et al. (2001: In R.N. Singer, H.A. Hausenblas, & C.M. Janelle (eds), Handbook of sport psychology (2nd edition), New York: Wiley) summarise the contribution of attribution theory to the study of motivation in sport, highlighting the shortcomings in the methods used to date. Over-emphasis on self-completion attribution questionnaires (often for hypothetical situations), the reliance on written language, and the almost exclusive emphasis on intra-personal attributions for performance outcomes, as opposed to interpersonal outcomes potentially influential to interpersonal cohesion in dyads or groups, undermine the application of attribution theory in sport research. To more fully appreciate the motivational processes affecting individuals and groups, the pursuit of an understanding of participants' causal belief structures seems a worthy cause; attribution statements made in natural discourse are considered to offer a window onto these belief structures (Munton, Silverster, Stratton, & Hanks, 1999: Attributions in Action. Chichester: Wiley).
This poster will focus on the need to consider natural language, freely spoken in the speaker's sporting domain. It will offer insights into the collection and analysis of naturally occurring attributions, explore some of the difficulties associated with these endeavours, and suggest considerations for future attribution research. Summary attribution data pertaining to two coaches in two distinct series of coaching sessions will be presented to demonstrate how even basic analyses of attribution statements can provide useful insights into the speaker's causal beliefs.

Page 151 in the conference book.
Abstract no. 346 (unique identifier).

[Back] [Up]

Home | Post-Congress | Welcome | Information
Programme | Sponsors | Committees

Level Double-A conformance icon, W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!
This site uses CSS and HTML 4.01 Strict.
Conformance level Double-A of the WCAG.
Click for further information.

[print version]