Throughout areas, issues, Programme theory; Context mechanisms

Throughout our
communities there are a variety of different social issues that affect
different areas. Adams and Harris (2017) state that sport is often used as a
tool within communities to address a wide range of social issues such as crime,
teenage pregnancy, health and cohesion within the community. Levermore (2011)
has said that there are a lot of Sport for development programmes that take
place within local communities, however there have been many publishers that
have been very critical towards SFSC programmes with many issues arising, Coalter
(2007, 2010) being one of them. Therefore, it is crucial to know what should go
into a successful sport for development Programme and or CIP. This essay will
cover the key areas of what should go into a successful CIP, mainly focusing on
the following areas, issues, Programme theory; Context mechanisms and outcomes,
monitor and evaluating and sustainability.


The primary
aim of a sports development Programme is to contribute and help promote a
social change within a variety of communities across the country (Coalter,2005).
These SFSC and CIPS aim to promote many social outcomes be it pregnancy rates, crime
etc. all through their participation in sport.  Depending on whether the Programme is a
government run Programme or locally run there are many issues that can arise.
Government run “top down” programmes do not always have the desired effect on
local communities due to not all communities needing the same CIP (Houlihan and
White, 2002), for example one community in the north of the country may need a
Programme focusing on crime rates whereas down south the community may need a
Programme focusing on child obesity, this is where the “top down” programmes
have issues. Locally run coaching innovation projects carry many negatives throughout,
be it from a lack of funding, knowing that a social change is not guaranteed
from the Programme and a lack of aims/objectives could affect sports provision (McDonald and Tungatt, 1992, p33).

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The black box is a crucial mechanism within
all coaching and innovation projects, it is a theory that is unknown or
invisible before the project has taken place (Purcell et al, 2003). The black
box can be understood once the context and outcomes have been defined and the
programme has begun, then the mechanisms can be uncovered. The mechanism plays
an important part in knowing how and if the programme has achieved the outcomes
set out (AHRC, 2017). Solmeyer and Constance (2015) say
that It is important to not only understand if a program works, but how, why,
and for whom, so that clients in many different contexts receive comparable
benefits from services and supports. This is crucial for a successful CIP as a
poorly defined Programme could lead to it not succeeding in the way that it was
planned to. Firmly addressing the needs of the local community is also crucial
as the main aim is to benefit the local community with bottom up and remove the
top down approaches in place that don’t focus on the needs of that said area
(Houlihan and White, 2002).

Many local councils said that sport
development and partnerships were often marginalised or sometimes even undermined
by the core activities, this meant that on occasion many planned CIPS drifted
away from their initial objectives and thus achieving non sporting objectives
(Sports Council, 1991). This could be seen as a problem or not depending on
what was set out to achieve. For youth projects Utting (1996) believes that
programmes can only be successful if they are concerned with other aspects of
young people’s everyday lives, including school attendance, training
opportunities and job-search, this would suggest that non sporting objectives
play a bigger part in the younger population. The Health Development Agency and
Coalter (2005) have 5 factors that they say underpins a successful Programme,
which contains both sporting and non-sporting objectives:

Appropriate and convenient local facilities;

Recognising the importance of
participants’ friendship groups in getting involved and staying involved;

Providing reassurance that
‘people just like us’ are able to participate;

Acknowledging, particularly to
older people, that some physical activity will be better than none; and

Recognising that if the activity
has some intrinsic value (fun, enjoyment, a change of environment), it may be
more appealing and ensure adherence.

objectives from a sport for social change project could become problematic
depending on if they are solved and/or altered to benefit the participants,
this is evident with many believing that to make a project successful the
problematic objectives need to benefit everyone with and without the use of

A programme theory
according to Westhorpe (2014) and Coalter (2013) is a set of beliefs or
assumptions as to how and why a programme may or not work. It can be a
potential way of addressing issues underpinning the lack of evidence along with
using programme theory to help demystify the black box issues within a
programme (Astubury and Loew, 2010). Programme theory is an integral part in
the development of a coaching innovation project, programme theory can be used
to provide a framework for monitor and evaluation it can also be a useful way
to bring together existing evidence about the programme if there is any, or how
the programme is going to work (Funnell and Rogers, 2011). This is why theory it is an important part of
any CIP as knowing if your project is working throughout can help to know where
the Programme is going and if it will leave a legacy.


important theory is the realist Programme theory, Tilly and Pawson (1997)
developed ‘realistic evaluation’ a model theory driven towards evaluation which
was centered on finding out not only outcomes but how they are produced. Tilly
(1998) has outlined that there are three key areas that need to be addressed
when monitoring a the Programme.


Mechanism: what is it that may lead it to a
particular outcome in a given context?

Context: what mechanisms are required to produce particular outcomes?

Outcomes: what are the effects produced by mechanisms in a given

Tillys (2000) model
involves developing a context, mechanism, outcome (CMO’s) pattern that allows
researchers to understand what and how something works. CMO’s are created
through consultations with the relevant coaches responsible for implementing
and the participants participating within the project. Behavior is outlined by
Sarafino (1996) as anything a person does in response to an internal or
external event, these actions could be overt (performing a movement) or covert
(individual thoughts). Thurston (2014) refers to behavior change or behavior
theory, as the explicit intention to shift negative behaviors into a more
desired direction. All CIPs should consider behavior theory as it attempts to
work on individual’s motivation, behavior/lifestyle, health and wellbeing.

There have
been a number of different conceptualisations of mechanism within evaluation. Chen
and Rossi (1987) highlighted mechanisms and their significance within
theory-driven evaluation. In 2005, Chen broadened our understanding of mechanisms,
he identified two types: mediating and moderating.  He defines these as follows: A mediating mechanism
is the part of a program that intervenes between two other components, whilst a
moderating mechanism represents the relationship between program components that
is enabled, or conditioned. Weiss (1997) also reflects on mechanisms, in terms
of Programme theory. She has stated that it is important to understand the
difference between mediating and moderating, and incorporating them in the process of a decision or plan. Pawson and
Tilley’s (1997) scientific mechanism approach has provided another
conceptualisation of mechanism, they state that mechanism will only activate in
the right conditions, providing that there is a context + mechanism = outcome
formula in place.  


Monitoring and evaluation (M) for sport-for-development
is a high priority. Monitoring is a systematic and routine
collection of information received from projects and programmes. It is used to
improve the programmes in the future, to take
informed decisions on the future of the initiative. Monitoring is a constantly
recurring task throughout the Programme from beginning, planning and the end
(Levermore, 2011).  Evaluating is also a key
part within the creation of a Programme, Evaluation is the assessing of the
Programme after completion. Evaluations help to improve the project or
Programme in the future (Nicholls.
S., A. Giles. And C. Sethna, 2010). Monitor and evaluation is an important part
of any CIP, as it is important that the project/Programme is assessed
frequently to achieve the set out targets. For instance, monitoring the programme
will help to understand whether changes need to be made and act upon accordingly.
Milestones could be in place to review at stages and again develop the programme
to have continuous success (Donaldson,
S.I. and M.W. Lipsey, 2006.).


Sustainability is the last crucial area for a coaching
innovation project to consider with its future development. Lindsey (2008)
states that sustainability is a present term used in the explanation of sport
development programmes. She also outlines four key areas of sustainability; individual, community, organisational and institutional sustainability
(Lindsey, 2008). Individual sustainability as stated by Houlihan (2011) relates
to the participants and their own journeys during and after the projects have
ended.  Community sustainability could be
understood by changes in the relationship between communities, members of the
communities and local organisations (Swerissen & Crisp, 2004).
Shediac?Rizkallah and Bone (1998) suggest that
organisational sustainability relates to how the programme has and was adopted
within the set out organisation. These are all very important for a CIP,
because they only run for a short period of time. Therefore, it is essential
that links are made wherever necessary, so the participants have a point of
call and somewhere to go beyond the project.


This essay has shown what needs to be in place to create a successful
CIP and be used as a successful tool to combat social issues (Adams and Harris, 2017). From creating a more specialized
coaching innovation project to combat the less effective top-down projects (Houlihan and White, 2002). Solmeyer and Constance (2015) statement
about knowing the project inside and out is one of the key areas for a
successful CIP, as demystifying the black box early can help to understand if
the program works, how, why, and for whom. Programme theory and Tilly and
Pawson’s (1997) ‘realistic evaluation’ model theory which along with the black
box is a key theory that contains ‘context + mechanism = outcomes’, this works
parallel to the ‘black box’ in uncovering the mechanism of the project and thus
helping to evaluate in the future. M&E and sustainability is the final
stage that should be applied into a successful CIP. Levermore (2011) has said
that M&E should be a constantly recurring task throughout the CIP to allow
for any changes to be altered to turn a potentially unsuccessful CIP, positive.
Sustainability as mentioned previously is the legacy that the programme leaves,
on both the community and the personal progress of the participants (Houlihan,
2011). All of these come together to create a successful CIP.