Sport in Society honours projects

Honours projects available in the Sport in Society research program are outlined on this page.

Sport, Heritage & Cultures

There are a number of projects available within the Sport, Heritage & Cultures topic area.

College of Sport and Exercise Centenary Project

Victoria University celebrated its centenary in 2016.

This project will examine various aspects of the life of the College of Sport & Exercise Science, including:

  • the sporting and recreational activities of staff and students
  • the development of the curriculum
  • the nature of the College’s partnerships with industry and international partners.

This project will be based on exclusive access to material available from Victoria University’s Records and Archives Services.

Contact

Associate Professor Rob Hess | robert.hess@vu.edu.au

Victorian Netball History

This Honours project will explore various historical dimensions of netball based on exclusive access to Netball Victoria’s archives.

Background

Despite its immense popularity, netball is one of Australia’s most under-researched sports. As a result, there have been few authoritative historical studies and little is known about the heritage of women’s involvement in this sporting practice.

Contact

Dr Fiona McLachlan | fiona.mclachlan@vu.edu.au
Associate Professor Rob Hess | robert.hess@vu.edu.au

Women Playing Australian Rules Football: Historical Case Studies

This project involves students investigating the development of the women’s game via selected historical case studies based on such sources as rare archival photographs, newspapers and memorabilia, and genealogical profiles of the women who played in these matches.

Background

Recent celebrations to mark the sesquicentenary of Australian Rules football have been overshadowed by significant academic and public debates concerning the birth of the code. Yet the origins and early development of the women’s game remain shrouded in mystery, despite the fact that women have played the sport for more than 100 years. Part of the problem is historiographical. Women’s sport in general has been marginalized and female football in particular has attracted only limited attention.

Previous Honours theses on this topic include:

  • Leach, C. E. (2010), ‘Female Patriots: Women’s Participation in Australian Rules Football in Victoria During 1943’.
  • Sinclair, Kathryn (2009), “‘Who Won? Who Cares?’’: Media Coverage of Women Playing Australian Rules Football in Melbourne During 1947’.

Contact

Associate Professor Rob Hess | robert.hess@vu.edu.au

Gender and Sport: Historical Perspectives

I invite Honours students to undertake research into the historical issues and understandings of gender and sport within Australia and/or New Zealand.

Opportunities exist to investigate the physical activities of women via examination of a vast array of primary source material drawn from different time periods and different sports.

All relevant topics will be considered but of particular interest is sport in the 1920s and 1930s, and specific sports such as cycling, soccer, and hockey.

Contact

Dr Fiona McLachlan | fiona.mclachlan@vu.edu.au

The History and Heritage of the Western Bulldogs Football Club

This project involves students investigating the history and development of the Western Bulldogs Football Club (and its predecessor, the Footscray Football Club). The studys will be via selected historical case studies based on such sources as rare archival photographs, newspapers, and genealogical profiles.

Students will have exclusive access to the memorabilia of the club associated with the recently opened Bulldogs Museum.

Background

Most Australian Football League clubs are now into their second century of existence and have published centenary histories. However, there is still much to be explored on aspects of club history.

Previous Honours theses on this topic include:

Camilleri, L. J. (2012), ‘Cede Nullis: The Impact of the Second World War on the Footscray Football Club’.

Contact

Associate Professor Rob Hess | robert.hess@vu.edu.au

Victorian Cycling History

This Honours project on Victorian cycling history will fill the gap that exists in terms of authoritative historical studies conducted into Australia’s cycling lineage.

Background

In Australia today cycling and related issues attract significant public interest, and are becoming more prominent across the spheres of sport, health and wellbeing, environment, politics and cultural studies.

These modern day issues have their origins in a rich history of Australian cycling dating back to the 1860s.

Victoria, in particular, has long been at the forefront of cycling in Australia. Most of this country’s key historical moments, innovations and firsts occurring here (e.g. first Australian bicycle race, first long distance rides, first cycling records, oldest track race in the world, second oldest one-day classic in the world, and Australia’s oldest stage race, and so on). 

Contact

Associate Professor Rob Hess | robert.hess@vu.edu.au
Associate Professor Craig Fry | craig.fry@vu.edu.au

Match-Fixing and Australian Sport

Match-fixing has been described as a serious threat to the integrity of Australian sport. Honours students are invited to investigate this issue through a variety of case studies drawn from different sports and historical time periods.

Contact

Associate Professor Rob Hess | robert.hess@vu.edu.au

Sport, Diversity & Community Development

There are a number of projects available within the Sport, Diversity & Community Development topic area.

The Role of Sport in the Lives of Young People with Migrant or Refugee Backgrounds

I invite Honours students to undertake research into the sport experiences of migrant or refugee youth growing up in Melbourne’s inner-west.

Issues may include, but are not limited to, young people’s sporting aspirations, the ways in which they understand and engage in sport, barriers and facilitators they encounter, the influence of family on their sporting lives, multicultural encounters, identity and belonging, or the benefits they derive from playing or watching sport.

The research project aims to explore how sport participation affects the lives of young people with migrant or refugee backgrounds.

Contact

Associate Professor Ramón Spaaij | ramon.spaaij@vu.edu.au

Violence in Australian Sport

I invite Honours students to undertake research into issues of violence and aggression in Australian sport, with a particular focus on violence on and off the field in community sport.

This research project aims to explore how violence arises and is performed, and how it may be prevented.

The project will build on sociological theories of violence and seeks to collect primary data on violent interactions and situations in community sport.

Contact

Associate Professor Ramón Spaaij | ramon.spaaij@vu.edu.au

Sport as Active Citizenship

We know very little about the ways in which sport may serve as a suitable platform for the cultivation of active citizenship. This research project aims to explore this question with a particular focus on the experiences of people with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds in Melbourne’s inner-west.

Background

Policymakers promote sport as a site where active citizenship can be fostered. The notion of active citizenship dictates that citizens ought to take an active role in the community, for example in the regeneration of neighbourhoods, volunteering, health promotion or crime prevention.

Contact

Associate Professor Ramón Spaaij | ramon.spaaij@vu.edu.au

Gender, Sexualities & Sport Studies

I invite Honours students to undertake research into the sociological and/or historical issues and understandings of gender, sexualities and sport within Australia.

Research opportunities exist to investigate the sporting experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender people:

  • across a particular time and place (history) within Australia, OR
  • with in-depth case studies (particular sport, queer sport club/league) and ethnographic analysis.

Other topics include:

  • the nature, significance, politics and history of gender within a particular sport
  • the ways that gender and sexualities shape the history and lived experiences of that particular sport.

Contact

Associate Professor Caroline Symons | caroline.symons@vu.edu.au

Sport & Social Inclusion/Community Development

Sport has been identified by the Federal government as a key site for social inclusion and community development. However research suggests that many models of sport are exclusive rather than inclusive.

Some of the factors influencing inclusion are ethnicity, gender and sexuality, age, socio-economics, and body shape.

Opportunities exist for students to conduct qualitative research projects engaging with these issues and various sport and government organisations.

Contact

Dr Brent McDonald | brent.mcdonald@vu.edu.au

Sport & Drinking Culture

This project will utilise field research methods to engage with various sports and players to understand attitudes toward alcohol consumption in the context of sport. It will also involve an investigation of the financial relationship the sale of alcohol may have on the club’s ability to successfully operate.

Background

The sale of alcohol at local sports clubs is often a major source of revenue for those clubs. At the same time there are increasing programmes focusing on the responsible service of alcohol and the negative effects of binge drinking.

Contact

Dr Brent McDonald | brent.mcdonald@vu.edu.au

Understanding Japanese Sport and Society

Sport in Japan is strongly connected with the education system and the delivery of the so called ‘secondary curriculum’. Research projects in this area would be suited to students who have an interest in Japanese sport and culture, who have competed in sport in Japan, or a looking to engage with the growing sport and physical fitness market in Japan.

Research for these projects will be based in Australia and at Victoria University’s partner university, Biwako Seikei Sports College in Japan. There may be an opportunity to receive some funding toward the Japanese component of the project.

Contact

Dr Brent McDonald | brent.mcdonald@vu.edu.au

Sport Business, Policy & Integrity

There are a number of projects available within the Sport Business, Policy & Integrity topic area.

Drugs & Doping in Australian Cycling: History, Current Practices, and Policy Implications

This project will examine the attitudes, experiences, and practices of Australian competition cyclists and other key stakeholders about drug use and doping in cycling, health risks, and related opinions about drug testing policies and procedures.

Background

The issue of drug use and doping in international professional cycling is never far from the news, with a number of high profile cases in recent times. Albeit a taboo topic, drugs and doping have also been part of the story of cycling in Australia since its earliest days. There are numerous less well-known historical examples from media reports, and anecdotal stories of performance enhancing drug use and ‘doping’ practices by Australian cyclists dating back to the early part of the 1900s.

To date there has been surprisingly little health social science research in Australia focused on the attitudes and experiences of elite and other cyclists around the issues of drug use and related health risks. 

Contact

Associate Professor Craig Fry | craig.fry@vu.edu.au

Moving from Local to Glocal: Engaging New Customers by Connecting International Tourists to Locals Through Professional Sports

We invite Honours students to undertake research into the contemporary issues affecting pro-sports. These issues may include but not limited to legal issues, economic issues, environmental issues, talent issues, political issues, organizational issues, socio-cultural issues, infrastructural issues, and ethical issues amongst others.

The research project aims to explore the extent to which different professional sports teams manage and deal with the above issues.

Contact

Dr Eric C Schwarz| eric.schwarz@vu.edu.au

Further information

More information about applying for an honours, scholarships and supervisors.

General enquiries about the Honours program can be directed to the Honours Coordinator, Senior Lecturer Dr Aaron Petersen.

Email: aaron.petersen@vu.edu.au.