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Research Case studies

Systematic Review of Participation by Black and Minority Ethnic Groups in Sport and Active Recreation


Although the field of sport and ethnicity is still under-researched, the body of evidence has grown considerably in recent years as ethnic issues have assumed a higher political profile.

Conducted for Sporting Equals and the home sports councils this review of published and ‘grey’ material in the UK identified over 300 items that were included in an annotated bibliography as a precursor to us providing a synthesis.

Such approaches are now commonplace in scientific fields, where the standard has been set by the systematic reviews of the Cochrane Collaboration, but they typically demand a particular kind of quantitative study.

We had to find an alternative that would embrace the kind of qualitative research more commonly found social science approaches to sport, but which still ensured the quality of the material to be considered for guiding policy.

The review emphasised the need to look beyond the headline figures of participation surveys and disaggregate data for a more nuanced appreciation of (non)involvement. It also served to highlight that despite legislation, campaigning and education the persistence of racism in sport still serves to deter.

Research outputs
  • Long, J., Hylton, K., Spracklen, K., Ratna, A. and Bailey, S. (2009) Systematic Review of the Literature on Black and Minority Ethnic Communities in sport and physical recreation.
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