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Developing a strategic research framework for Sport and Exercise Medicine


Background/aim Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) is a young, fast growing discipline. The need to broaden its evidence base has been established. The aim of the study was to compile a research-based strategic framework for the development of a sustainable research programme in SEM at a South African university.

Methods A literature review, internal document analysis, semistructured interviews with role players within the university and a Delphi process utilising a panel of international and national experts in research and SEM, were applied. Results were analysed and categorised regarding foundational aspects and operational components to create a sustainable research programme in SEM.

Results The foundational level of the framework consists of points of departure, premises and resources. Points of departure regarding SEM, the university, management, research and sustainability were identified. The premises for the research programme are relevance, currency, flexibility, implementability and a scientific base. Internal, institutional and external resources required by the programme were identified. The operational level was developed according to the W.K. Kellogg programme logic model. It consists of academic and management inputs; a central hub of activities which drives the programme; desired financial, human and academic outputs, and long-term qualitative and quantitative outcomes. The third level represents a sustainable research programme which is constantly monitored and reviewed.

Conclusions The strategic framework provides guidelines for the development and sustainable management of an SEM research programme. It will make a substantial contribution to the research, further development, and ultimately the status of SEM in South Africa.

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