The evaluation of sport and social inclusion policy programmes
The potential role of sport in tackling social exclusion received considerable attention from scholars and policy makers at the beginning of the 2000s (Collins et al., 1999; Kennett, 2002; Collins and Kay, 2003; Coalter, 2007b; Bloyce and Smith, 2009; Hoye et al., 2010; Waring and Mason, 2010) but relatively little research has been undertaken on the evaluation of policy interventions in this field. As the conceptual relation between sport and social exclusion has already been explored at length by other authors, this chapter will provide a brief theoretical overview before analysing literature on how interventions aimed at tackling social exclusion have been evaluated using two examples from the UK: Active England and New Opportunities for PE and Sport (NOPES). Building on the work of Tacon (2007), a realist evaluation approach is proposed for the evaluation of sport-based social inclusion projects. This analysis will be framed in the context of changing priorities in UK sport policy during the 2000s.