The Initial Phase of Development for a Questionnaire to Assess Perceptions of Subgroups in Sport
Sport Psychology , Group Dynamics
An emerging body of literature has noted the salience of subgroups in sport, emphasizing important implications for athletes and teams (Martin et al., 2020). Specifically, subgroups represent a grouping of individuals who exhibit reciprocating relations and that belong to but are discernible from a superordinate group (Martin et al., 2015). Importantly, growing evidence suggests that it is not the presence or absence of subgroups that is of consequence, but rather how teammates perceive and experience them. With the advancement of a conceptual framework for athlete perceptions of subgroups (McGuire et al., 2022), a warranted next step is to advance a psychometrically sound questionnaire. Measuring subgroups is nevertheless complex, given the need for an innovative tool that describes not only the distribution of teammates into subgroups but also perceptions of how subgroups relate to member behaviour. Thus, a collaborative, iterative, and critical process that differs from how many self-report tools are developed is needed for measurement development. To initiate the development of a subgroup measure in sport, we adopted a three-phase process that involved literature/questionnaire reviews and research team collaborative meetings (Phase 1), topic expert document review and semi-structured interviews (Phase 2; N = 5), and athlete think-aloud interviews (Phase 3; N = 7). Phase 1 resulted in a proposed subgroup questionnaire, with Phases 2 and 3 leveraging the knowledge of experts and experiences of athletes beyond the approval of items for representativeness and readability. These processes resulted in changes to the questionnaire structure (e.g., context descriptions), initial participant demographic and orientation sections, and proposed items. In addition, the benefits derived from incorporating more in-depth discussions with experts and athletes will be put forward (e.g., discussing expert intention and conducting virtual think-aloud interviews). This study contributes to the advancement of subgroup literature by proposing a questionnaire to evaluate athlete perceptions while also serving as an example of how expert and athlete input can be further incorporated into questionnaire development protocols.