Go to main content

Doctoral thesis

Senior researchers at the Institute have extensive experience in directing doctoral theses in their fields of knowledge. In sport, more than 50 doctoral theses have been directed. Currently, 13 sport-related doctoral theses are being directed.

Find out about some of the ongoing PhD studies:


Coach influence on athletes’ development
PhD student: Marta Borrueco
Directors: Yago Ramis, Susana Pallarès and Jaume Cruz

The sports context represents a great opportunity to promote the psychosocial development of athletes. The role of the coach constitutes an essential part of the sports environment, since their task influences the development of athletes. The general objective of this thesis is to explore experiences in relation to the resources and barriers that team coaches/developing athletes encounter in their task. In addition, from an evidence-based practice perspective, it is intended to develop a training program aimed at offering resources for these coaches.


Social networks, violence and football: The Spanish ultras through Facebook and Twitter in the 2017/2018 La Liga’s season
PhD student: Oriol Figuera Godoy
Director: Natividad Ramajo Hernández

The doctoral thesis analyses the activity generated by ultras of teams that played in the League in the 2017/2018 season on Facebook and Twitter, based on big data study techniques. This research aims to describe the social network usage of radical followers of Spanish football, focusing on the particularities of Facebook and Twitter in order to find out the nature and type of content generated by ultras. The analysis will show which are the most active groups in the network and whether their Internet presence is related to violence in the stands.


The role of beliefs throughout the life cycle of elite athletes
PhD student: Anna Jordana
Directors: Miquel Torregrossa and Yago Ramis

The transition from junior to senior and sports retirement are two of the stages that entail the greatest challenge in the elite athletes’ career. The uncertainty about these transitions and their results encourages athletes to generate dysfunctional beliefs (rigid, extreme, inconsistent with reality) about situations they have faced or will have to face. As a consequence of these beliefs, the emotions, thoughts and behaviors that are produced end up interfering with psychological well-being and the achievement of objectives, among other things. The general purpose of the doctoral thesis is to develop a training program in functionalization of beliefs, aimed at improving the psychological well-being and the achievement of objectives of (ex) elite athletes.


Dual career of vulnerable student-athletes
PhD student: José Mejías Riquelme
Director: Miquel Torregrossa Álvarez

The doctoral research aims to describe and analyze the environment in which the dual career of student-athletes from vulnerable populations develops. The reason for emphasizing this target group is to provide visibility to populations not much studied in research on dual careers. Based on the cultural psychology of sport, and using innovative qualitative research methodologies, I seek to contribute to the generation of culturally inclusive knowledge, challenging traditional assumptions, with the aim of promoting contextualized interpretations of marginalized issues and cultural identities. I am currently conducting a systematic review of qualitative research in athletes with disabilities.


Big data applied to the management of sports stars’ personal brand: the cases of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi
PhD student: Adolfo Nieto Losada
Director: Emilio Fernández Peña

The thesis analyses the management of the soccer superstar's personal sports brand through social networks. It focuses on two of the most popular players in the sport, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and aims to analyze their interactions on Facebook and Twitter, their fans and the mutually beneficial relationships with the brands associated with their image using big data techniques.


Analysis and evaluation of the impact on territorial and urban planning of the XXI century
PhD student: Valerio della Sala
Director: Francisco Muñoz Ramírez

The objective is to demonstrate how socio-urban implications, impact, heritage and sustainability are fundamental aspects to consider when planning and evaluating the Olympic Games. The analysis of the Olympic Village will also describe the obstacles posed by the creation of a new neighborhood and the link network to the future Olympic city. The project includes a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary methodology that, through a critical analysis approach, aims to develop a new way of studying the Olympic Games.


Multilingual football communication: the tower of Babel on the grass
PhD student: Tianqi Zhang
Directors: Anna Aguilar-Amat and Olga Torres Hostench

Football is one of the most influential sports in the world, and it has spawned a host of multilingual phenomena. Football organizations ranging in scale from international organizing bodies, such as FIFA, to individual clubs, for example FC Barcelona, require daily multilingual communication to function. Translation is an essential tool for multilingual communication. Therefore, we can say that the high development and widespread popularity of football at a global level has promoted multilingual communication among a large number of professionals in the football industry and, as a consequence, has generated a large number of translation needs. The ability to provide an accurate and efficient football translation is a necessary condition to guarantee multilingual communication between football professionals, and this has been the motivation of this academic work as a doctoral thesis.