Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Commentary | Open Access

Sport and Social Inclusion: Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

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Abstract:  This commentary reflects on my experience of compiling the Value of Sport Monitor—an on-line resource of policy-relevant, research on the social impacts of sport—for eight years. The commentary critically evaluates the assumption of the Value of Sport Monitor that social science research in sport is cumulative and it explores sports interest groups’ varying attitudes to the nature of evidence. It illustrates that widespread conceptual and methodological inconsistencies and weaknesses in research greatly reduce the ability to identify best practice and ‘best buys’ as a basis for policy. The commentary concludes by proposing that a way forward for research to contribute to policy and practice is via theory-based evaluation.

Keywords:  evidence-based policy; methodological weaknesses, sports research; theory-based evaluation



© Fred Coalter. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.