MAS Research Papers
Best Research Papers
Each year a participant is awarded the best research paper for their class. Below are the most recent recipients of this award.
Protective Shield: Safeguarding and the escalating importance of coach education within youth sports
RP Supervisor: Boris Gojanovic
Youth athlete abuse has been leading media headlines in recent years, thus causing a growing concern worldwide for safe sport environments. The power and influence they have, combined with the amount of time they spend with youth athletes, put coaches in a position of great authority. Until very recently, coaches received little to no education around safeguarding. The purpose of this study was to understand
abuse from the perspective of youth coaches in the United States and to evaluate the safeguarding education they receive. Youth, for purposes of this research, was defined as children ages 17 years or younger. In order to complete this research, a survey was distributed to coaches of youth team sports within the United States to understand their perception of abuse. The US Center for SafeSport, the governing body of safeguarding for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and all governing bodies that fall within their jurisdiction, was interviewed for thirty minutes to understand their education program and policies. Lastly, a benchmarking study was conducted to evaluate best practices in safeguarding education. Results found some discrepancies amongst youth coaches in the US as to what type of behavior by a coach is perceived as acceptable versus unacceptable. The research, while preliminary, does give a basis for the importance of safeguarding education for coaches. Final recommendations focused on one teaching methodology to best help coaches retain and apply the information learned, what elements to consider as part of safeguarding courses, and what other stakeholders should be educated and why.
Developing a diagnostic tool to enhance the employability legacy of major sporting events: the challenge of DAKAR 2026 YOG
RP Supervisor: Giovanni Battista-Derchi, Dr.
The project aims to identify effective mechanisms which will enable the Dakar 2026 Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee to develop consistent actions towards an effective legacy strategy raising skilled employment to the most of the local Youth Community. It started with an international literature review which distinguishes factors that positively or negatively influence the economic and social impact of Major Sporting Events through employment. As a following step, research work focused on establishing and implementing a diagnostic tool which would be used as a guide for a content analysis of data on the specificities of the local labour market. The findings have been summarised in a series of short statistical study reports with a broad set of policy recommendations based around three key strands: ensuring an adequate supply of skills now and for the future, optimising the productive use of skills, and the effective steering and funding of skills systems. Such proposed Methodology would in turn enable the Dakar 2026 YOGOC – together with local stakeholders of the Olympic Movement – to build up an Employability strategy making the transition to a more productive and successful economy.
The shaping of the media sports content ecosystem: media companies and the increasing role of OTT streaming platforms
RP Supervisor: Jennifer Smith Maguire
As the advent of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms – internet-based stand-alone streaming services – are undeniably stirring up the media sports content ecosystem, this research approached such a heated landscape by establishing a comprehensive classification system as well as key roles related to OTT (Part I). Subsequently, Part II investigated how media companies – a key ecosystem stakeholder – can harness the potentialities of OTT to reinforce their value proposition. The methodology consisted of a competitive landscape analysis (Part I, descriptive) as well as qualitative interviews (Part II, exploratory). Key findings highlighted major roles and strategies for each OTT category (core, complementary vs. substitution strategies for media companies; acquisition of exclusive rights vs. partnerships for “tech giants”; premium vs. second-tier rights activation for rights holders). Experts’ operational recommendations were classified into two fundamental areas where OTT can enhance broadcasters’ value proposition: fluidity and experience. Final recommendations emphasised the importance for media companies to invest in OTT offerings despite the current nominal audience, as enhanced fluidity and experience can address major ecosystem issues, including the ability to react to landscape fragmentation with cross-media content distribution models, as well as to capitalise on their competitive advantages through experience augmentation rather than solely relying on rights exclusivity.
Assessing Applications of Genetics Based Training within Professional Football Clubs
RP Supervisor: Boris Gojanovic
This study aimed to answer two major outstanding questions in the field of sports genetics. First, to understand more deeply the characteristics surrounding genomics in elite sports. Second, to determine whether genetic based training is ready to be implemented within professional football. Through a 35 item questionnaire sent to coaches, managers, scientists, and medical staff at football clubs, we investigated the utilization, impact, implementation, and ethics of sports genomics. Overall, we found that football clubs are optimistic about the positive impact that genetic testing can have on the athletes, staff, and club. Clubs are eager to adopt new science and technology for training optimization and injury reduction, but without expert advice from scientists and medical professionals are unable to do so properly and effectively. We identified the major barriers to implementation as high costs, limited time, and a lack of specialized knowledge. Our data also highlights that even though stakeholders might act with good intentions, ethical issues might still arise due to the sensitive nature of genetic information and the complex relationships among stakeholders in the sports ecosystem. Thus, we propose a set of best practice guidelines for sports genomics that can be used by sports organizations. We envision a future where the promise of helping athletes through genomics becomes a reality for elite sports.
Emerging Patterns in the Consumption of LiveSport Events: Millennials and Streaming
RP Supervisor: Jennifer Smith-Maguire
The millennial generation has undoubtedly been priced out of live attendance of football matches. With new trends in the digital world, this paper will examine how millennials perceive the consumption of live football events through illegal streaming, in terms of morality. The research is conducted in three parts: a descriptive study of existing literature, pilot interviews, as well as a broader-reaching survey. This paper confirms trends found in existing research that illegal streaming of football matches is an established phenomenon among millennials. Furthermore, it shows that millennials find it generally acceptable to watch games illegally. The implications of this study on the established business models in football, and sport more broadly are significant.
Going Mobile with Strava: The ‘Serious Leisure’ Identity of Amateur Endurance Athletes
RP Supervisor: Jennifer Smith-Maguire
The advent of mobile apps to track and supervise patterns of health and exercise have shifted the landscape in terms of offering us innovative and more comprehensive representations of human performance. The use of voluntary self-monitoring strategies for personal interpretation – better known as the ‘quantified self’ – has given us new insights into our own identities (Lupton, 2013). One such app in this mould is Strava, designed principally for endurance athletes in cycling, running and swimming. Through regular data capturing, this popular software allows its users to construct virtual identities in the areas of competition and community based on their offline training performance.
This study offers a fresh perspective to the literature around ‘serious leisure’ identity and how the ‘quantified self’ complements this in the sphere of endurance sport realised through Strava. It presents an analysis of sporting identity related specifically to amateur endurance athletes and how this mobile app supplements and develops substantial leisure careers. A six-pronged ‘serious leisure’ model developed by Robert Stebbins (1997) is applied to seek out links to how Strava serves as an important conduit for identity creation, maintenance and enhancement. Moreover, the underlying premise outlines how this model applies to amateur endurance athlete identity, how it is connected to intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, and how it underscores feelings of accomplishment, enhancement of self-image, sense of belonging, and self- expression.
Each year the AISTS nominate the best research papers to be recognised at the annual Graduation Ceremony. View the abstracts of the best Research Papers by year below.
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