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Full ethical review must be used for research involving above minimal risk and therefore necessitating a more thorough ethical review prior to approval. Further guidance on projects which involve above minimal risk is provided within the University’s Ethical Review Policy.
Relevant professional body ethical guidelines should be consulted when completing this form.
Please seek guidance from the School Ethics Coordinator if you are uncertain about any ethical issues arising from this application.
There is an obligation on the researcher and supervisor (if applicable) to bring to the attention of the School Ethics Coordinator any issues with ethical implications not identified by this form.
Please provide a brief paragraph indicating answers to the following questions where relevant:
The aims and objectives of the project.
Its rationale and justification.
The research question or specific hypotheses to be tested.
The background to the project.
Where the research is to be carried out.
Names of other individuals or organisations involved in the project.
Whether other approvals have been gained or are to be sought.
The aim of this project is to explore Gender Inequality in Football Coaching, how the field of football coaching has been male dominated with only a limited number of women taking a dismal number of coaching positions.
There has been a rapid growth of women’s football globally with figures indicating more than 2 million female football players by 2017 (FA, 2017). A significant number of researchers have assessed the numerous incidences of stereotypical attitudes and gender discrimination directed against female players. Such evidence have been provided by researchers like Williams (2013), Scraton, Fasting, Pfister, & Bunuel (2018) and Norman, Rankin-Wright, & Allison, (2018). These researchers have shown how football has been given a cultural significance and masculinized in most countries. Despite this focus on how women footballers have experienced gender discrimination, most research have failed to show how women coaches have been denied full access to football workplaces. There are limited research that look at the types of informal/formal barriers and cultural biases and how these factors lead to gender inequality in football coaching. It is imperative for research to begin focusing on this area to shed more light on gender inequality in football coaching.
Is Gender Inequality in Football Coaching prevalent in the UK?
a) It is hypothesised that there is low gender stereotyping against women football coaches (they do not have to prove themselves and their confidence).
b) It is hypothesised that women football coaches do not experience limited career growth or mobility (that is, women coaches or not marginalized in terms of the power held as coaches/organizational barrier)
c) It is hypothesised that women football coaches do not experience sexism (they are not given sexist comments) at work.
William (2013) argue that men have historically dominated Football resulting even in less women coaches. Recent evidence show that 80 percent of all coaching positions are occupied by the male gender (UEFA, 2015). In England for instance, there are less women holding positions as women coaches with men taking a majority 91% in women’s football (UEFA, 2017). Rudd (2018) found no women coaches in male professional football. In addition to this, Wrack (2018) only found one women occupying the position of head coach in male’s semi-professional football. According to LaVoi (2016), women, compared to men, are marginalized and is represented by a significantly low figure in high coaching positions. LaVoi (2016) explains that this does nothing in changing people’s perception that this sport is heavily masculine. The numbers also fail to inspire women to take higher coaching positions to realize their career dreams. LaVoi (2016) says that the low numbers in women taking high level coaching positions is because of deeply rooted problems and challenges which these women face including sexism, prejudice and discrimination against them by their male colleagues.
Tarrant and Ward (2020) point us towards the Role Congruity Prejudice Theory which suggests that there are less positive attitudes towards women compared to men leaders, particularly under perceived incongruity between leadership roles and the role of women. Additionally, UEFA (2017) data show that women coaches occupy most low level positions in the football pyramid, roles where it is reasonable to have strength in dominant discourses as compared to higher levels where they have less exposure. Lavoi and Dutove’s (2012) talk about hegemonic masculinity arguing that this sociocultural barrier that results in cultural hegemony or a situation where a particular social group becomes dominant than the other. According to Tarrant and Ward (2020), hegemonic masculinity practices help reinforce and support male privilege and conformity to a perceived or idealized form of masculinity. This author opines that this practice helps subordinate women to maintain what Connel and Messerschmidt (2005) called, a patriarchy system. Lavoi and Dutove’s (2012) claim that the historical absence of women in dominant football coaching positions shows male hegemony. According to these authors, this practice has led to a powerful gender prejudice or bias in football coaching against women across all stages in the football field.
Norman, Rankin-Wright and Allison (2018) postulate that women underrepresentation in football coaching is an outcome, symptom or sign of a deeper problem, rather than the challenge/problem itself. These authors assessed different problems from organizational (professional practices and organizational policies) to the sociocultural context (cultural systems and social norms) which female football coaches work in. They found that women only hold about 9% of football coaching jobs in England confirming the presence of Gender Inequality in Football Coaching in the UK.
This study will take place in England. Participants in the study will involve females drawn from a population of women engaged in active football coaching in the region.
Head coaches who are former international players working in the English football will be targeted purposively as participants because of their experiences in their positions and the relevance of those experience to this study’s goal. The goal is to target at least 10 head coaches and other coaches working in different roles or positions such as recreation coaches (in youth recreational positions or levels), at least five participants, those working in talent development in youth football academies, at least five coaches and those working in elite positions in adult professional football, at least four. Women coaches with FA level qualifications in football coaching and UEFA licenses will be targeted.
This project will seek ethical approval and permission from the University to go ahead with the research. Permission will also be sort from the clubs where the coaches work. Permission from the clubs also seeks to ensure that there is voluntary participation of coaches in this study. The consent of the coaches to take part in the study will also be attained by providing them with consent forms. This will assure that their personal details will remain confidential, will be kept safely and used only for the purposes of this study.
Connell, R. W., 1987. Gender and power. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.
Schilt, K., 2018. From Object to Subject. Gender Reckonings: New Social Theory and Research, p.57.
Tarrant, A. and Ward, M.R.M., 2020. Hegemonic Masculinity. SAGE Publications Limited.
Football Association, 2017. The gameplan for growth: The FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football: 2017-2020. London, U.K: The Football Association.
LaVoi, N. M., 2016. A framework to understand experiences of women coaches around the globe: The Ecological-Intersectional model. In N. M. LaVoi (Ed.), Women in sports coaching (pp. 13–34). New York, NY: Routledge.
LaVoi, N. M., & Dutove, J. K., 2012. Barriers and supports for female coaches: An ecological model. Sports Coaching Review, 1(1), 17-37.
Norman, L., Rankin-Wright, A. J., & Allison, W., 2018. “It’s a concrete ceiling; It’s not even glass”: Understanding tenets of organizational culture that supports the progression of women as coaches and coach developers. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 42(5), 393-414.
Rudd, A., 2018. Is football ready for women coaches? https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-football-ready-for-women-coaches-hvpm20nrb [Accessed 26th Jan 2021].
Scraton, S., Fasting, K., Pfister, G. and Bunuel, A., 2018. It’s Still a Man’s Game? The Experiences of Top-Level European Women Footballers. In Female Football Players and Fans (pp. 19-36). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Union of European Football Associations, 2017. Women’s football across the national associations 2016-17. http://www.uefa.com/MultimediaFiles/Download/OfficialDocument/uefaorg/Women
%27sfootball/02/43/13/56/2431356_DOWNLOAD.pdf [Accessed 26th Jan 2021].
Williams, J., 2013. A game for rough girls? A history of women's football in Britain. London, U.K: Routledge.
Wrack, S., 2018. ‘What she says goes’: meet the woman in charge of a men’s team. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/dec/05/woman-incharge-mens-team-football-arlesey-town-natasha-orchard-smith [Accessed 26th Jan 2021].
Please provide a summary of the procedures that will be followed when carrying out the research project under the following headings.
a) The design of the project (including, where appropriate, issues of statistical power):
The study will conduct a series of 8 semi-structured open-ended question to investigate Gender inequality in football coaching.
b) The procedures to be followed:
The researcher will interview the participant for 30 minutes and it will be recorded with a Dictaphone.
c) The participation of people or animals in the project:
The study aims to conduct 19 interviews. The goal is to target at least 10 head coaches and other coaches working in different roles or positions. At least five coaches and those working in elite positions in adult professional football, at least four. Women coaches with FA level qualifications in football coaching and UEFA licenses will be targeted. Participants will be chosen through purposive sampling which aims at selecting appropriate individuals with the right experience in this area.
d) How the design of the project and the procedures followed are likely to assess the research question or test the hypothesis in question or establish some significant result:
Research open-ended questions to probe for more in-depth in answers from the participant. The transcript from each interview will be analyse.
e) Availability of facilities/resources/equipment to enable the project to be carried out:
Participant will be interview via zoom from their home because of the covid-19.
f) Procedures that will be followed if any adverse event occurs:
If any event occurs during the interview the participant will be given the opportunity to reschedule the interview a day and time convenient to them and I will make myself available for that day and time.
Please provide clear information regarding the recruitment of participants and their appropriateness to the project:
(NB: Student researchers must also ascertain from their Supervisor whether or not they require a criminal record check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in order to enable this project to proceed. If this is the case the application must make clear whether or not it has been undertaken. Any data collection or other activities requiring this clearance must not begin until it has been obtained.)
a) The number of participants involved in the study (including the adequacy of the sample size for both qualitative and quantitative research):
The number of participant will be 10 head coaches and other coaches working in different roles or positions such as recreation coaches (in youth recreational positions or levels), at least five participants, those working in talent development in youth football academies
b) How participants will be identified, approached or recruited:
Each Coach club will be contacted and will be picked at random based on their willingness to respond to the project and prospective participant will be sent an information sheet outlining details about the study.
c) Whether there are any inclusion or exclusion criteria, together with their justification:
Inclusion criteria participant should be actively coaching consistently over the past two year working with over 16 youth team playing 11v11 football competition.
d) The age range of participants; the gender balance of participants; and the participants’ state of health:
The age range of the participant will be age 35-55 years.
e) Whether there is any inducement to participate in the study:
There will be no inducement to participate in the study.
f) How participants will be informed about the right to withdraw from participation the study (and whether time limits will be established during which a participant can request for their data to be withdrawn from the study):
The participant information sheet will provide details regarding their right to withdraw from the project at any time and their information will be permanently destroy.
g) Whether the project involves any special groups requiring some additional justification or permission (e.g. children and young people under 18 years of age, those with a learning disability or cognitive impairment, patients, people in custody, people engaged in illegal activities (e.g. drug taking), or individuals in a dependent or unequal relationship):
h) Will informed consent be obtained from research participants? Yes ☒ No ☐
Please give details of who will obtain content and how this will be undertaken.
The researcher will obtain a sign consent form from all participants confirming their agreement to participate.
Please provide answers to the following questions regarding the handling and storage of information and data:
a) How will research data be stored (manually or electronically)?
All data collected will be stored electronically on a password protected computer known only by the researcher. All data will be placed in a locked cabinet only been accessed by the researcher.
b) How is protection given to the participants (e.g. by being made anonymous through coding and with a participant identifier code being kept separately and securely)?
First, all participants will be informed that their identities shall be protected. This will be indicated in the letters of participant recruitment, in the consent forms and participant information. Besides informing them that their identities will be protected, their data collected will be given a specific code number and be stored in a locked cabinet only been accessed by the researcher and supervisor.
c) What assurance will be given to the participant about the confidentiality of this data and the security of its storage?
Assurance on data confidentiality will be outlined within the information sheet given to all participant.
d) Is assurance given to the participant that they cannot be identified from any publication or dissemination of the results of the project?
e) Who will have access to this data, and for what purposes?
Only the Researcher, supervisor along with other academic members of staff within the department of sport and exercise will have access to the data. The supervisors and other academic staff members in the Sport and Exercise Department will have access to the data gathered during this study.
f) How will the data be stored, for how long, and how will it be discarded?
Data will be stored for 10 years at that point files on memory stick and computer will be securely deleted in accordance with GDPR (2018) Guidelines.
Please provide an estimate of the perceived benefits or outcomes of the project weighed against the possible harms caused to the participants.
Please identify any potential risks or hazards that might be caused to participants or the researcher, in addition to any discomfort, distress or inconvenience to them, together with any ethical problems or considerations that the researcher considers to be important or difficult in the proposed project.
Because the study involves discussing potential sensitive information about people’s experiences with gender discrimination and topics which might be linked to mental or physical abuse and harm, consideration will be given to this during the interview process and some questions will be appropriately stopped in cases where the participants will show or say that they uncomfortable with the line of questions. The interview process will also be stopped at the participant’s request. For those will require support and mental health care services, will be directed to the right NGB welfare officers, independent charities or other mental health services organisations. This will help them receive help from trained and qualified professionals. Participants will also be debriefed on the results and their welfare will be checked later after the study, either through video calls, emails or telephone calls. These information will be included in the participant information sheets and the ethics form.
Please explain how any potential risks or hazards will be dealt with, along with any justificatory statements. This information should highlight any remaining ethical considerations and to respond to them in a way which may assist the Research Ethics Committee in arriving at some judgement upon the proposal.
Has a risk assessment been completed for this project Yes ☐ N/A ☒
Please attach the consent form, information sheet, and questionnaire/interview questions to this application. Further guidance on the design and content of consent forms and information sheets can be found on the University’s Research Ethics website.
I undertake to carry out the project described above in accordance with ethical principles. I have completed the application in good faith. I accept that providing false information constitutes scientific fraud and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary procedures.
Signature of Researcher: D.Wright Date: 6/01/2021
NB: Any departure from the protocol for this research project may mean that the ethical approval decision made by the School Ethics Coordinator is no longer valid and a new ethics proposal will have to be submitted. It is the responsibility of a student researcher to discuss proposed changes to the agreed protocol with their project supervisor as soon as possible so that a revised /new ethics application can be submitted. Research based on any revised / new protocol MUST not proceed unless and until the protocol has ethical approval.
STUDENTS: Please submit this form (and supporting documentation) for consideration by your Supervisor/ Module Tutor.
STAFF: Please submit this form for consideration by your Head of Department of a Senior Researcher in the School. This form should then be forwarded to the Research Administrators in RIIS (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will arrange for it to be considered by two independent members of the School’s College of Ethical Reviewers
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