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The map is not the territory: Developing evidence-based practice in applied sport psychology

Authors:

Abstract

What does “the map is not the territory” mean? It means that the world is what it is. In applied sport psychology, we create maps and models to help us understand how this world works yet these maps and models only approximate the actual world we experience. We simplify and symbolize the applied sport psychology (ASP) world as we see it to help us think and talk about it better. My perception of an experience constitutes an abstraction which will differ from the experiences of others and when I describe my experience it is further abstracted and even more inexact. The world of sport is messy, therefore, in ASP we need these experiences of the territory to help us to understand our maps better and shape evidence-based research. Without this evidence-based research, how can we claim that what we do is effective and efficacious for the clients we serve?
The map is not the territory: Developing evidence-based practice in applied sport
psychology
Professional Practice and Training
Dr Paul McCarthy, Glasgow Caledonian University
What does “the map is not the territory” mean? It means that the world is what it is. In
applied sport psychology, we create maps and models to help us understand how this
world works yet these maps and models only approximate the actual world we
experience. We simplify and symbolize the applied sport psychology (ASP) world as
we see it to help us think and talk about it better. My perception of an experience
constitutes an abstraction which will differ from the experiences of others and when I
describe my experience it is further abstracted and even more inexact. The world of
sport is messy, therefore, in ASP we need these experiences of the territory help us to
understand our maps better and shape evidence-based research. Without this
evidence-based research, how can we claim that what we do is effective and
efficacious for the clients we serve?
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