Hooton, Andrew (2015) Loosening the Leash: Exploring Experiences of Becoming an Applied Sport and Exercise Scientist. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research explored the lived experience of becoming an Applied Sport and Exercise Scientist. To become an accredited independent practitioner within the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science neophyte practitioners are required to undertake supervised experience. A review of contemporary literature revealed a paucity of research exploring the training and development of applied practitioners within sport and exercise science. Consequently, educational learning theory provided a vehicle from which to understand and critique related literature and provide context to analytical interpretations.
Van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological approach to human science guided the research process. This provided a middle ground between description and interpretation from which to explore participant experience. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifteen supervisees and nine supervisors to elucidate the lived experience of becoming an Applied Sport and Exercise Scientist. Digitally recorded data were transcribed verbatim and analysed via phenomenological thematic analysis. Template analysis was drawn upon to support the analytical process and assist in organisation of themes. To gain an in-depth understanding of participant experience the hermeneutic circle provided a means of remaining cognisant of fore-conceptions, whilst allowing original findings to emerge.
A number of themes were identified from which two essential themes were derived from the essential structure of the experience; ‘Being and learning relationships are predicated upon the emotion derived from interpersonal relationships’ and ‘Mutual participation enables movement towards independence’. Establishing trust and an emotional bond provided meaning within the supervisory dyad. Active participation from both supervisee and supervisor enabled reciprocity and supervisee development.
This research raises awareness for supervisees, supervisors and supervisory processes regarding the importance of interpersonal relationships within the training and development of applied practitioners. Future research is suggested to focus upon both supervisees’ and supervisors’ longitudinal experiences and their recommendation for the introduction of formal peer mentoring post accreditation.

Final thesis - HOOTON.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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