A/r/tographic inquiry in sport and exercise research: A pilot study examining methodology versatility, feasibility and participatory opportunities

McMahon, Jennifer; MacDonald, Abbey and Owton, Helen (2017). A/r/tographic inquiry in sport and exercise research: A pilot study examining methodology versatility, feasibility and participatory opportunities. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7(4) pp. 403–417.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2017.1311279

Abstract

This research paper centres on a pilot study where a/r/tography, an arts based methodology was implemented into a sport and exercise research context. As a/r/tography is yet to be employed in this particular research context, an emphasis is placed on exploring the versatility and feasibility of the methodology when applied to the field of sport and exercise. T hrough the implementation of an a/r/tographic inquiry with a swimmer which focuses on the ‘normalised’ yet destructive body practices found to be occurring in swimming culture. In the paper that follows, we outline what a/r/tography is; why it should be considered as a methodological approach in sport and exercise research and how it has been used in other research domains such as the social sciences. The remainder of the paper is dedicated to outlining the four distinctive step process that we undertook as part of the a/r/tographic inquiry. These four steps are important to highlight in terms of explaining how this methodology can be implemented by other socio-cultural sport researchers and also the feasibility and educative outcomes of such a process. In the final section of the paper, we outline how, for one swimmer participant, her interaction with the a/r/tographic inquiry process enabled her to better identify potentially damaging body practices and analyse the multiple layers associated with these practices occurring in a sporting culture.

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