Sports science is one of the (still younger) fields that gain their self-image to a large extent from their object orientation. For this reason, phenomena observable in the social subsystem of sport constitute the starting point for sports science research. The associated research problems are often so complex that an interdisciplinary approach is required. In contrast, sports science is still confronted with scientific policy requirements that are more likely to be met by disciplinary approaches and an orientation towards the respective parent discipline (e.g. sport psychology -> psychology). The chance for acceptance in the scientific community and thus the chance of successful third-party funding acquisition and well-placed publications appears to be more lucrative when following a greater orientation towards an established parent science. At the same time, however, there exists a danger that a narrow orientation towards a parent science will cause the subject of sports science to disappear from view. A science whose basic concern was “a better sport” (Ommo Grupe) could thus become a relatively unconnected collection of sub-disciplines whose orientation towards the subject area of sport increasingly loses its importance. This would mean, as it were, that the social impact of sports science would decline.
With the doctoral program “Problem-oriented Sports Science,” the four participating institutions plan to continue and expand a program that aims to achieve both a high scientific and a high social impact. The prerequisite for a high scientific impact is a high-quality theoretical and methodological foundation for the research work. The social impact is to be achieved by orienting the research work towards the “supremacy of phenomena” (Magnusson, 1992) and thus towards concrete phenomena and problems of sport, which is associated with the opportunity to achieve research results that can contribute to the solution of problems from the practice of sport.
In light of the framework of this program, a position paper has been developed.