Understanding the social impact of participation in Driven Game Shooting in the UK

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Taking a critical realist, mixed methods approach, this study fills a gap in the research base relating to driven game shooting (DGS) and its social impact. It looks at how involvement in DGS affects the people involved, using a recognised social impact assessment methodology with a theoretical underpinning of social capital theory. It considers the extent to which DGS creates social impact through the creation of social capital and reinforcement of identity, whether this is affected by size and/or type of shoot and how these impacts can be valued in future. A need for this was clearly outlined by National Resources Wales and its independent evaluation consultants (Hillyard and Marvin, 2017; Natural Resources Wales, 2017). This study is the first research study to consider the social impacts of DGS in full, utilising a recognised Social Impact Assessment method to produce a framework for future use in evaluating the social impact of shooting and therefore represents an original and needed contribution to knowledge. The study comprised of two stages of data collection. Firstly, qualitative, visiting shoots of different sizes and types from small and larger syndicates through to small and larger commercial shoots nationwide, observing/engaging with participants, contacting a sample of 45 people afterwards for a longer telephone interview. Results of these reflective observations and interviews were analysed using a Straussian grounded theory approach, allowing the production of a questionnaire for wider distribution using online and hard copy distribution channels, during the second quantitative stage, which received 2,424 responses suitable for analysis. Results indicate a positive impact on participant’s mental health and well-being measured using the short Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale (SWEMWBS) compared to national data. This positive impact, facilitated by social support networks created within DGS, is influenced strongly by identity. Regular participation in physical activity, time spent outdoors, a sense of purpose and reduced loneliness appear to be contributing factors to this positive impact. Syndicate membership in particular enhances the mental well-being benefits. This study confirms that the financial value of these social impacts is potentially significant, as the cost-savings to the taxpayer in avoiding poor mental health and maintaining physical health can be very high. This will have implications for policy-makers when considering amendments to the rules surrounding DGS in the UK.
Date of AwardSep 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorRichard Hazenberg (Supervisor) & Simon Denny (Supervisor)


  • Driven Game Shooting
  • Ageing Society
  • Social Impact
  • Social Capital
  • Social Networks
  • Wider Determinants of Health
  • Rural Identity
  • Health and Well-being
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health

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