Collecting the information

Getting people involved

You have already identified the key stakeholders who you’d like to collect information from. Use a range of methods to introduce the project and to recruit participants.

  • Formal letters can be posted or emailed to external stakeholders such as the local media or local authority

  • Posters displayed on noticeboards at the club or facility

  • Meeting papers and minutes can include information about the project and provide a way of communicating to club members

  • Flyers can be sent home with children and junior members or users. This is a useful way to get consent; which needs to be from parents/guardians for research participants under 15 years

  • Email messages and text messages for club members and facility users – while text has to be brief it can include an offer email or post more information

  • Posts on the club or facility’s social network sites such as Facebook

Template 1: Invitation To Participate In An Interview Or Focus Group

How will you collect the information?

You can collect information in a range of different ways.

  • Internet search to find out publicly available references to club or facility

  • Site visits to observe activities, become familiar with site (particularly if you are not familiar with the club or facility)

  • Document analysis to identify themes and get quantitative data (eg membership or user numbers, achievements, trends over time)

  • Individual interview (face to face, over the phone, email interview) to collect descriptions of the club or facility, collect stories, collect quotes and take photos on the values

  • Group interview/focus group to collect descriptions of the club or facility, collect stories, collect quotes and take photos on the values

  • Review of photo archives and club or facility memorabilia to identify repeated themes, historical features. 


For most clubs and many facilities, many people involved are volunteers or participating in their free time. They may also hold paid jobs and/or have family commitments, and may be in the midst of a busy sports season when the case study is underway.

  • Plan for flexibility in appointment times (evenings, weekends and daytime), allocate contingency resources for missed appointments and plan for rescheduling.

  • Plan for smaller focus groups (such as four participants) for easier scheduling.

  • Use technology to help with scheduling. There are a range of online meeting management options ( that can make it easy to invite people and have them ‘sign up’ for a time that suits.

Recording interviews or focus groups

Ideally, and especially if the research includes a large number of interviews, the interviews should be recorded to allow you to transcribe or take detailed notes. Otherwise a note taker can be at the interviews. You should only record if you get consent to do so.

Remember to record participants’ contact details so you can get back in touch if you need to. Be flexible in this; offer to be in contact with participants in a variety of ways (eg phone, email or text).

Focus groups or group interviews

Another option for collecting information is a structured group interview or focus group. Typically you should have small groups of 3–5 people so that everyone can participate in the discussion.

The number of groups will vary depending on the nature of the club or facility. More than one group may be required to ensure people involved in a broad range of the activities are included.

We have prepared some interview and focus group plans for you to use when planning your sessions.

You may also want to have a look at other possible ideas for information, research questions and methods to use. These are in the ‘Further Options’ section.

Template 4: Generic Interview Plan

Template 5: Focus Group Format

What do you need?


For the values report you’ll need to collect a significant quantity of information. It’s wise to invest in a dictaphone and digital camera.


Depending on the method that you choose to use, you may need some additional people to help:

  • take notes at a group interview or focus group

  • transcribe any digital recordings

  • edit and name photos.