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Two decades of youth sport policy research: A augmented scoping review and synthesis

Lindsey, Iain; Strittmatter, Anna-Maria; Hayton, John; O'Gorman, Jimmy

Two decades of youth sport policy research: A augmented scoping review and synthesis Thumbnail


Anna-Maria Strittmatter

John Hayton

Jimmy O'Gorman


Research question: This article addresses the need to develop a comprehensive understanding of research on the formation and content of youth sport policies by presenting a review of studies across the period from 2000 to 2020. The review examined the scale and scope of these studies, collective research findings, and theoretical and methodological approaches utilised. Research methods: Compatible approaches to research synthesis were utilised, with scoping review methods supporting both searching within 31 relevant journals and the creation of a definition of youth sport policy research by which inclusion/exclusion of articles was determined. Scoping review techniques augmented by those of ‘meta-study’ were used to analyse the 71 articles that were identified through the review. Results and Findings: Youth sport policy research was dominated by studies in Europe and North America. There was also a predominance of qualitative methods, with studies being collectively limited in their utilisation of theory. 44% of studies examined policies focused on schools, with similar proportions (between 17%-20%) addressing policies for welfare and safeguarding, community-based participation, and high performance sport. Youth sport policy goals were often found to overlap and be influenced by other policy agendas, with health being a prominent policy concern. Implications: Besides the need for a wider geographical spread, improved theoretical underpinning and expanding quantitative methods should be priorities for future youth sport policy research. Extending normative analysis and study of democracy and inclusion in youth sport policy-making should also be pursued, especially as young people appear commonly excluded from these processes.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 30, 2023
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 30, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 25, 2023
Journal European Sport Management Quarterly
Print ISSN 1618-4742
Electronic ISSN 1746-031X
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
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Published Journal Article (Advance Online Version) (2.3 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License(, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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