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Visual search strategies and knowledge elicitation in sports officiating - Project ID SAS0019

Project Description

Sports officials’ (referees and umpires) decisions can have a big impact upon the outcome of games. However, our understanding of the processes that officials employ to make quick and accurate decisions is only still in its infancy. Studies have begun to employ eye-tracking equipment to investigate the visual search behaviours in soccer referees to examine expert / novice differences (Spitz et al, 2016). Crucially to date, no studies have investigated visual search behaviours alongside think-aloud or retrospective think-aloud data to expose how fixation strategies contribute to the officials’ declarative knowledge base. As such, our knowledge of the link between visual fixation strategies and the development of rich declarative and procedural knowledge structures in sports officials remains limited. Therefore, the aim of this research project is to use eye-tracking and retrospective think-aloud protocols to examine effective fixation strategies to inform fast and effective decision making in sports officials.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in a sport psychology or coaching related discipline with a good fundamental knowledge of elite performance and decision making.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
• Experience of fundamental athletic development in sport
• Competent in a variety of research methods
• Knowledge of current research in sports officiating
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
• Good time management

Desirable attributes:
Experience in sports officiating or performance coaching

When applying for this position please quote project ID SAS0019

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded position


Mascarenhas, D. R. D., Collins, D., Mortimer, P., & Morris, R.L. (2005). A naturalistic approach to training coherent decision-making in rugby union referees. The Sport Psychologist, 19, 131-147.

Spitz, J., Put, K.., Wagemans, J., Williams, A.M. & Helsen, W. F. (2016). Visual search behaviours of association football referees during assessment of foul play situations. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 1(12) 1-11.

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 22.20

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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