Evaluation research in sport for peace initiatives: A personal reflection and proposed methodology

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Sport has been viewed in many developed countries as a panacea for a range of social problems; such as crime, economic disadvantage, poor health, low education attainment and conflict. This has led to considerable public and private investment in initiatives that use sport to address these issues. However, funders, policy makers and academics are increasingly asking questions about some of the claims made about the wider role of sport in society. This has highlighted considerable difficulties in measuring the effectiveness of programmes that use sport to address social issues. Nonetheless, delivery organizations and their staff continue to evangelize about the wider social role of sport and root their programmes in ambiguous objectives that make evaluation difficult. This paper is informed by existing ‘critical’ research to outline the somewhat muddied context for local Peace III initiatives set for 2012 and 2013. Following a brief review of research on sport for development, from which the sport and peace literature has emerged, I review previous fieldwork and propose a reflexive ethnographic, active-member approach to the study of a sport for peace project. From this it is hoped that we can gain a greater understanding of the conditions by which evaluators find themselves embedded within when measuring programme effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages15
JournalShared Space
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • sport-for-development
  • monitoring
  • evaluation
  • peace


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