Tackling reliability and construct validity: the systematic development of a qualitative protocol for skill and incident analysis

Trevor Nicholas Savage, Andrew Stuart McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


It is important to understand factors contributing to and directly causing sports injuries to improve the effectiveness and safety of sports skills. The characteristics of injury events must be evaluated and described meaningfully and reliably. However, many complex skills cannot be effectively investigated quantitatively because of ethical, technological and validity considerations. Increasingly, qualitative methods are being used to investigate human movement for research purposes, but there are concerns about reliability and measurement bias of such methods. Using the tackle in Rugby union as an example, we outline a systematic approach for developing a skill analysis protocol with a focus on improving objectivity, validity and reliability. Characteristics for analysis were selected using qualitative analysis and biomechanical theoretical models and epidemiological and coaching literature. An expert panel comprising subject matter experts provided feedback and the inter-rater reliability of the protocol was assessed using ten trained raters. The inter-rater reliability results were reviewed by the expert panel and the protocol was revised and assessed in a second inter-rater reliability study. Mean agreement in the second study improved and was comparable (52–90% agreement and ICC between 0.6 and 0.9) with other studies that have reported inter-rater reliability of qualitative analysis of human movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • biomechanics
  • Qualitative methods
  • sport injury

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