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Session 3
Story completion: What can it offer sport and exercise researchers? 


Story completion is a novel method that offers a uniquely different and fun approach to generate qualitative data. The method involves providing participants with an opening to a story – the story stem – and asking them to write what happens next. In contrast to more traditional qualitative methods, the data created via story completion is imaginative data that captures sociocultural discourses and dominant meaning making around a topic. The aim of this session is to explore what story completion has to offer sport and exercise researchers. We will begin by examining the development of story completion as a qualitative tool and potential opportunities and challenges of engaging in this type of research. In small groups, we will then consider how to design a ‘good’ story stem and put creativity into action as we experiment in creating and responding to stems. Lastly, we will review the analytical techniques available to interpret story completion data and the methodological and practical implications of different approaches. We hope that this workshop encourages people to include story completion within their methodological toolkit to create more engaging research and collect qualitative data in new and exciting ways. 

Suggested pre-session reading:

Williams, T. L., Lozano-Sufrategui, L., & Tomasone, J. R. (2021). Stories of physical activity and disability: Exploring sport and exercise students’ narrative imagination through story completion. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2021.2001031

Story completion website by Professor Virginia Braun and colleagues


Toni is an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. Her research focuses on understanding the physical activity experiences of disabled people and effective physical activity promotion. Toni’s research also explores the use and development of qualitative research methods and methodologies to conceptually advance sport and exercise research. This includes the use of qualitative meta-synthesis and novel methods of data collection such as timelining and story completion. Toni is also a founding member and treasurer of the International Society for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (@QRSEsoc, launched in 2020.

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