History of the Research Topic
Saudi women are typically perceived as rather conservative people who are focused on their privacy that is why they are not associated with any sports. However, recently, the Arab world has proved that its female population is not inferior to the rest of the world. In 2012, they participated in the Olympic Games for the first time, promoting physical activity among peers. Princess Reema Bandar did her best to make women from Saudi Arabia open a new area for development. However, there were no female athletes from the country at Asian Games in South Korea, even though almost 200 men were present (Almaeena, 2014). This fact revealed that the female population faces numerous challenges when it comes to participation in sports.
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According to the Secretary-General of Saudi Arabia’s Olympic Committee, women “were not yet competitive enough for the Asian Games” (Almaeena, 2014, para. 5). This characteristic can be explained in several ways. First of all, ladies started being trained along with boys only in the 2000s, which presupposes that this kind of practice is not yet well-developed. Female participation in sports starts being introduced in schools. However, public educational establishments open clubs rather rarely because of the lack of professionals who can work with girls. Moreover, there are no appropriate stadia and halls in schools. In addition to that, there are no physical education departments in universities, which means that they can hardly be properly educated.
Another obstacle faced by Saudi women who want to compete in sports is that the many representatives of the general public are still not ready to perceive the female population as a part of the world of sports. They do not realize how important exercises are for women and focus on stereotyped views, failing to understand that they can help fighting depressions and menopause (Toumi, 2017). Finally, the greatest issue that prevents Saudi women from being engaged in sports is the absence of sports-promoting culture. The majority of the female population considers sports to be a luxury or an alien phenomenon. For them, it is an unnecessary thing that can cause trouble in ordinary life.
Fortunately, particular improvements are already observed. Women find an opportunity to go in for sports regardless of the existing challenges. They wear specific clothes that prevent them from breaking the rules and practice separately from men (James, 2016). In this way, even though numerous changes are still to be implemented, Saudi women have a chance of overcoming those issues that prevent them from participating in sports currently.
Methodological Perspective of Approaching the Topic
On the basis of the literature sources that were used for the discussion of the selected topic and consideration of its peculiarities, it is possible to presuppose that the best methodological perspective that can be used in this case is a deduction. This very approach allows starting research with the general level of focus. In this way, it is presupposed that Saudi women face challenges in sports. This hypothesis is based on the stereotypes associated with the restrictions observed in the Arab world and the absence of discussion of female athletes.
The next step of this approach includes data analysis. It tests the developed hypothesis in order to reveal whether researchers’ ideas are true to life. A research strategy should be created in order to reach this goal and identify if a particular fact is appropriate for different circumstances. In this way, deduction allows finding out if the challenges faced by Saudi women on an everyday basis are also observed in sports.
Finally, a specific level of focus can be considered, and the initially developed hypothesis can be supported or refuted. Due to the analysis of the Saudi women’s participation in sports, it is possible to reveal that they are not perceived as individuals interested in such activities. As a result, there are not enough resources for them to train and become able to compete. Nevertheless, particular improvements in this situation are observed. In this way, deduction allows narrowing focus from general (challenges faced by Saudi women) to concrete (challenges faced by Saudi women in sports).
Philosophical Paradigm of Scientific Knowledge
A philosophical paradigm of scientific knowledge that can be applied when discussing the selected topic is positivism. It is one of the realist perspectives that encourage researchers to focus on the individual context instead of the social one (Rorty, 1982). This tendency is explained by the fact that individuals from communities, with the help of their personal worldviews (Lewis, 2000). In this way, researchers can develop a hypothesis according to which Saudi women face challenges in sports. Further, they may investigate their experiences in everyday life and identify issues that prevent particular female individuals from participating in sports. After analyzing this information, the final decision can be reached. According to positivism, there is a single reality with its common rules and truths.
In addition to that, it is possible to use the constructivism-interpretivism research paradigm, which is opposite to positivism (Ponterotto, 2005). According to it, no single reality exists; there are numbers of them. Moreover, it is not a singular entity but a set of people’s ideas. Individuals perceive reality in different ways, and researchers are to reveal them.
Epistemological and Ethical Issues
Due to the differences of the discussed research paradigms, researchers need to think about the topic using diverse approaches. For instance, their understanding of the issue is not the same. Positivists believe that researchers should gather information through observations without paying attention to unreliable variables, such as age or social position. Constructivists, in their turn, encourage interviewing individuals to reveal their way of thinking. While for positivists, it is enough to consider one group of people, constructivists want to question a wide population to develop general ideas on the basis of varied information. Moreover, positivists tend to separate themselves from the sample while constructivists interact with them easily. Positivists would state that Saudi women in sports have a particular culture that is followed by all newcomers as soon as they join this group. However, constructivists would emphasize that each participant will bring something new to this culture. In this way, the positivist position would end with the decision that the situation faced by Saudi women in sports is not likely to alter, while constructivists would claim that changes are likely to be observed soon.
Ontological Underpinnings, Epistemological Platforms, and Research Methods
Ontological underpinnings of positivism reveal that social phenomena are objective and not affected by the involved actors. Constructivism presupposes that social elements cannot be avoided, and the subjunctive truth is associated with people’s experiences. Epistemological platforms of positivism reveal that knowledge should be obtained and then interpreted, adopting appropriate research methods. In this case, subjunctive ideas developed by the researcher are not considered because they affect the quality of the findings. Instead, measurable relations are discussed with verifiable observations. Constructivism, in its turn, does not accept any general facts and encourages interpreting information obtained from the participants (Vanson, 2014). In this way, abstract theories are not discussed. As a result, positivist tends to select those research methods that include large samplings and measurements (quantitative approach) while constructivists focus on the investigation of small samples (qualitative approach; mixed methods).
Speaking about Saudi women in sports, it is possible to presuppose that positivists will think about the challenges faced by these people as the reality of existence that should be accepted. Restrictions and limitations can be identified when focusing on the observed cases. They should be categorized, and then their prevalence can be identified. In this way, personal biases will not affect the quality of the obtained knowledge, and calculations will reveal the currently observed situation in general. On the other hand, constructivists may speak about the experiences of athletes, schoolchildren, and students. Receiving information from them, researchers may reveal some challenges that are hard to observe initially. Even though this information is biased by the perceptions of participants, it reveals their true experiences. Gathering information from various people, it is possible to develop generalized conclusions as well. Interviews seem to be the best way of obtaining relevant data.
Benefits and Weaknesses
Positivism is focused on the use of quantitative research, which is rather advantageous. Information obtained in this way is believed to be more reliable than data gathered with the help of qualitative methods in the framework of constructivism. Positivists always developed a well-defined structure for their studies in order to minimize the possibility of error that can potentially affect the quality of findings. The use of mathematical and scientific tools ensures the accuracy of research. Unfortunately, constructivism does not follow these ideas.
In the framework of positivism, objective findings can be obtained only if the researcher is objective. However, people are not able to control their emotions totally. Constructivism, in its turn, focuses on human emotion and behavior, which allows overcoming this issue (Johnson, 2018). Moreover, constructivists use those approaches that allow measuring those phenomena that can hardly be calculated, while positivists are not flexible enough to deal with such information.
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Considering the essence of the selected topic, it seems that the constructivist approach can be more appropriate for further research study. It allows identifying what challenges are perceived by women in particular. Moreover, additional information related to the solution of the observed issues can be obtained at the same time.
It can be concluded that the challenges faced by Saudi women in sports are the topic that can be discussed in the framework of positivism and constructivism. The deductive approach can be used to obtain and analyze information. It will be advantageous to develop interviews and obtain qualitative data to prove or refute the initial hypothesis. However, additional advantages can be obtained if using mixed methods and including quantitative research. With its help, the prevalence of particular issues can be identified, and the most crucial one may be revealed and discussed in more detail. Thus, my personal approach to the investigation of the selected topic will be based on the consideration of both positivism and constructivism paradigms. The use of mixed methods will minimalize the possibility of error, and an in-depth discussion of the problem will be developed.
Almaeena, L. (2014). Opinion: Saudi Arabia’s women need more than a sporting chance to compete with the best. Web.
James, M. (2016). Saudi Arabian women’s sports break stereotypes. Web.
Johnson, S. (2018). Advantages & disadvantages of positivism. Web.
Lewis, P. (2000). Realism, causality and the problem of social structure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 30(3), 21-42.
Ponterotto, J. (2005). Qualitative research in counseling psychology: A primer on research paradigms and philosophy of science. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(2), 126-136.
Rorty, R. M. (1982). Hermeneutics, general studies, and teaching. In R. Rorty, & B. Chabot, Richard Rorty on Hermeneutics, General Studies, and Teaching: With Replies and Applications. Richmond, VA: George Mason University.
Toumi, H. (2017). Push to change mindset of Saudi women in sports. Web.
Vanson, S. (2014). What on earth are ontology and epistemology? Web.