Methodology in Sports History
Edited by Wray Vamplew and Dave Day

The process of converting the ‘past’ into ‘history’ involves an engagement with a multitude of different sources and methods, and sports historians inevitably participate in the same debates over approaches and methodologies as their counterparts in other historical disciplines. At its heart, history remains a genre of empirical knowledge that is based upon the remains of the past, and without suitable evidence, there can be no sports history.    A burgeoning range of sources has stimulated new ways of thinking and a significant expansion in the sports historian’s evidentiary base, as textual sources have been supplemented by photos, films and cartoons, uniforms, architecture, maps and landscapes, and material culture more generally.

The book deals with some of those innovations. It is divided into two sections, the first offering chapter length studies of particular methodologies, and the second, brief responses from experts in their fields to the question ‘what can sports historians learn from other disciplines?’  the contributors are a mix of established and early career researchers, some drawing on their years of experience, others bringing fresh ideas. Both constituencies raise some provocative issues, and what emerges from this collection is that sports historians can, and should, look at different ways of doing research.

This book was originally published as a special issue of The International Journal of the History of Sport


Wray Vamplew is Emeritus Professor of Sports History at the University of Sterling, UK, Visiting Research Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, and Global Professorial Fellow at the Academy of Sport, University of Edinburgh, UK. His research has gained awards from the North American Society for Sport History and the Australian Sports Commission. He is currently working on an international economic history of sport.

Dave Day is Professor of Sports History at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He has a particular interest in the history of sports training and coaching, cross-cultural exchanges of sporting knowledge, the development of Victorian swimming communities, and the lives of working-class sportsmen and women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.