client of an MRO, or the in-house marketing research manager, generally has a budget available to finance a variety of studies and he or she will usually have to determine whether it is worth conducting a particular survey or study. This is frequently a subjective decision based on their previous experience of commissioning and conducting research (Swain and Jones, 2002). The choice made usually depends on the circumstances of the research project, its objectives and how much is already known about the management problem from either past research or experience. If there is little pre- understanding of the management problem faced, the researcher may wish to explore the problem further before attempting to research a possible solution.
Since every research project is unique, because of its objectives, each can be tackled in different ways, utilizing different techniques and combinations of techniques. Quantitative research methods (e.g., the ubiquitous survey questionnaire) are designed to elicit responses to predetermined, standardized questions from a large number of respondents. This involves collecting relatively small amounts of information from a large number of people. The responses are then quantified in percentages and descriptive statistics and often statistically analyzed. Other quantitative research methods include mass observation techniques and experiments. Neither of these relatively less popular methods is covered further within this text. Qualitative research is quite different from quantitative research.
These techniques are often used at the preliminary stages of a research project to identify the basic factors affecting the management problem. The most common forms of qualitative research are focus groups and in-depth interviews. Projective techniques can also be used in both forms. Qualitative research techniques attempt to uncover the underlying motivations behind consumers' opinions, attitudes, perceptions and behavior (Martens et al., 2000). Qualitative methods are unstructured and the researcher will have a number of basic issues guiding the research but not a structured set of questions for each respondent. Focus groups are small-group discussions generally involving between eight and twelve people, lasting between 1 and 3 hours and are led by a trained moderator who guides the discussion (Swain and Jones, 2002).
In-depth interviews are usually one-on-one discussions, often using a broad set of open questions to cover key points of interest, that last around an hour.
Projective techniques are often used within focus groups and sometimes within in-depth interviews but may be used as a substitute method for dealing with sensitive topics. Qualitative techniques generally involve a small number of respondents. The emphasis is on obtaining rich, detailed information from a small group of people rather than short, specific answers from a large number of respondents, as with survey questionnaires. The major characteristics of qualitative and quantitative marketing research techniques are outlined in Table 1. The main advantages of qualitative research lie in its use for uncovering the underlying motivations for people's behavior, attitudes, opinions and perceptions.
A major disadvantage is that the results derived from this form of research are not generalizable to the wider population of interest and should be used only as a guide. Furthermore, focus groups are particularly reliant on the skill of the moderator in enhancing group members' interaction with each other (group dynamics). Quantitative research techniques address the issue of representativeness and generalizability by basing the research on large samples of respondents (Martens et al., 2000). The researcher establishes the level to which the results will reflect the entire population by choosing the number and type of respondents required. A disadvantage of quantitative research is that with such a large number of respondents it is usually difficult to obtain detailed, in-depth information to answer the research questions properly. Often also, because the answers are usually predetermined by the researcher, there is a chance that the respondents are not being allowed to express their true opinion but one that only approximates to it.
Investigating anxiety in sport psychology- methodological issues
In his review of research developments and issues in competitive anxiety in sport, Jones (2005) highlighted the need to use different approaches in the study of anxiety. According to Jones, qualitative methodologies have been little used by researchers in the area; it is suggested this is unfortunate given that qualitative approaches may provide a more complete method for examining the social context within which competitive anxiety is experienced. Jones has gone further in suggesting that self-report measurements such as the CSAI-2 (Martens et al., 2000) have largely failed to facilitate the precise measurement of anxiety.
This situation, it is argued, is due to the difficulty of assessing a psychological state solely from the measurement of cognitive and somatic symptoms. Lane et al. (1999) have questioned the use of the CSAI-2 as a valid measure of competitive state anxiety. Their study involved 1213 subjects who completed the CSAI-2 one hour before competition. Confirmatory factor analysis revealed that the factor structure proposed by Martens et al. (2000) is flawed. In addition, this study revealed that there are difficulties within the cognitive anxiety scale around the word 'concerned'; athletes did not interpret this as worry or negative thoughts, but as a declaration about their motivation and willingness to meet a challenge.
Jones and other researchers (Swain and Jones, 2002) have identified a further weakness of current self-report anxiety measures, in that they cannot be used 'in vivo' to assess anxiety levels during competitive performance. This has led researchers (Terry, 2006) to suggest that new and shorter self-report measures need to be developed, and that greater use should be made of physiological and behavioral assessments during the sporting performance. However, it does appear doubtful that physiologically-based measures will be able to do much more than record arousal levels. Earlier research in the area investigating physiological arousal in parachutists (Fenz and Epstein, 2004) and arousal, stress and motor performance (Neiss, 1988) was unable to clearly identify the exact etiology of the symptoms and could not adequately overcome the fundamental conceptual problem of relying on objective arousal measures to assess the essentially subjective psychological state of anxiety.
That the major approach to the study of competitive sport anxiety during the past ten to fifteen years has been that of trait psychology, owes much to Martens' development of the SCAT (1977) and the CSAI-2 (Martens et al., 2000). However, researchers (Jones et al., 1996) have increasingly called for the inclusion of emotion and mood to be considered in work on both stress and anxiety in sport. This represents recognition as Fischer (2005) has argued that the study of anxiety cannot be advanced by the continued acceptance of a dualistic Cartesian metaphysics which separates meaning from affect.
Combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies according to Fischer (2005) and Caruso (2009), are able to build on the genuine and worthwhile findings of more traditional approaches, and accommodate much of the vigor and vitality of data that emerges from completely qualitative approaches. This integrated approach must not be simply defined as eclectic according to Assagioli (2010), but represents a new organic synthesis where unity and fidelity to both traditions are the goals. An integrated approach holds out great promise in the field of research if it can achieve a creative and meaningful reconciliation of two antithetical positions; on the one hand, the apparent duality of the self, and the real unity and uniqueness of the self on the other.
An important development in terms of providing a methodology that allows qualitative and quantitative data to be gathered simultaneously, involves the use of diaries. The diary has been recommended by psychotherapists such as Assagioli, in that it, 'gives a psychological film of the dynamic development of the patient's psychological state, of his mind stream' (Assagioli, 2010). He suggests that the keeping of a diary provides a means of self-expression, and encourages the development of will, concentration and attention. Assagioli has also advocated that diaries can be used as an intervention technique in psychotherapy.
Within the mainstream, researchers interested in mood and emotional states have begun to utilize diary-based methodologies in their work (Stone et al., 2003). Diary approaches have recently been used by researchers investigating relationships between mood and exercise addiction (Sewell et al., 1996) and the impact of exercise on mental states (Clough et al., 1996). These studies used four-week daily mood diaries, which included analogue or bipolar scales and short, open-ended sections where subjects could provide more rich and in-depth qualitative data. According to Clough et al. (1996), such an approach allows the researcher to provide ecologically valid and in-depth results, which are nevertheless amenable to quantification and rigorous analysis. In combining the strengths of strictly qualitative and quantitative methodologies, the diary-based approach facilitates group analysis and investigation from an intra-individual perspective.
In conclusion, it appears that the reliance on the CSAI-2 has continued even where researchers cite the urgent need to employ a range of other methodologies and methods of data collection. Rather than following the suggestions made by Nesti and Sewell (1999), and Lane and Terry (1998) that mood should be considered alongside anxiety and performance, researchers have increasingly turned their attention to investigate…