Things to consider

There are a number of things you need to consider.


Remember that you’re dealing with people, what they say, their opinions and view points and their images. You’ll need to get their informed consent to record, report and produce what they give you.

  • Make sure that your participants are informed and give consent to the process and how the information will be used. For adults, verbal consent is usually adequate.
  • Young people and children need consent from their parent or guardian. Provide a written flyer about the process and seek verbal, text or phone consent from the young person’s parent/guardian either directly or via a club/facility person (such as a coach or manager). Repeat the information and consent process when you meet the young person face to face.
  • Photo stories are a really good way to show the case study to others — but you need to collect consent. Explain the use of the photos, and where people are identifiable collect contact information. It’s best to show participants any photos of them in the context of a production prepared using the photo — that is, to gain informed consent to the use of the photo in the final product.


Published documents are subject to copyright. You’ll need to make sure that you accurately reference any sources used. Include the title of the document, the author and/or publisher, year of publication and specific pages where the material is drawn from.

All direct quotes should be highlighted and extended quotes put in italics and indented.


Research needs to be conducted in accordance with the following ethical principles.

  • Respect for persons
  • Minimisation of harm to participants, researchers, institutions and groups
  • Informed and voluntary consent
  • Respect for privacy and confidentiality
  • The avoidance of unnecessary deception
  • Avoidance of conflict of interest
  • Social and cultural sensitivity to the age, gender, culture, religion, social class of the participants
  • Justice


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/recreation 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).


While the case study or photo story captures the shared themes that emerge, personal and individual quotes liven up the information and making it more personal. Depending on the quote you can either give the role title (eg volunteer, media, local councillor) or, if the person is a key figurehead who is happy to be quoted, you could include their name (eg The Mayor).

When presenting quotes, use a different font or italics to make sure that it’s clear what’s an individual opinion.

Record keeping

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).

Taking photos

A photo story, case study or values report will be more effective with great photos. Include plenty of photos in your case study that reflect the club, facility, its people, location and where possible the benefits and values.

Here are some tips on taking photos that capture the values that you’ve identified. Make sure that you’ve got permission to use the photos and accurately name the key people in each image.

Look your subject in the eye

Direct eye contact can be as engaging in a picture as it is in real life. When taking a picture of someone, hold the camera at the person's eye level. This will create a personal and inviting feeling that pulls you into the picture.

Use a plain background

A plain background shows off the subject you are photographing. When you look through the camera viewfinder, force yourself to study the area surrounding your subject.

Use flash outdoors

Bright sun can create unattractive deep facial shadows. Eliminate the shadows by using your flash to lighten the face. When taking people pictures on sunny days, turn your flash on.

Move in close

If your subject is smaller than a car, take a step or two closer before taking the picture and zoom in on your subject. Your goal is to fill the picture area with the subject you are photographing.

Move it from the middle

Bring your picture to life by simply moving your subject away from the middle of your picture.

Watch the light

Next to the subject, the most important part of every picture is the light. It affects the appearance of everything you photograph.

Don't like the light on your subject? Then move yourself or your subject. For landscapes, try to take pictures early or late in the day.

Take some vertical pictures

All sorts of things look better in a vertical picture.

Be a picture director

Take control of your picture. A picture director picks the location: A picture director adds props and arranges people.