In elite sport, the advantages demonstrated by expert performers over novices are sometimes
due in part to their superior physical fitness or to their greater technical precision in executing
specialist motor skills. However at the very highest levels, all competitors typically share
extraordinary physical capacities and have supremely well-honed techniques. Among the extra
factors which can differentiate between the best performers, psychological skills are paramount.
These range from the capacities to cope under pressure and to bounce back from setbacks, to the
knowledge of themselves, opponents, and the domain, which experts access and apply in
performance. In the companion chapter on breadth and depth of knowledge in expert sport (see
Chapter 11), we discussed the forms or kinds of knowledge deployed by elite athletes, and described
some lines of research which seek to tap and study such expert knowledge (McPherson &
MacMahon, 2008; McRobert, Ward, Eccles & Williams, 2011). In this chapter we focus more directly
on questions about methods for measuring or more accurately assessing expert knowledge, in
particular addressing a wider range of methods to help us understand what experts know.
Suggesting that sport researchers can productively adopt and adapt existing qualitative methodologies for integration with more standard quantitative methods, we introduce and survey a
number of areas of qualitative research in psychology.