Dr Phillips has a range of research interests in the historical and contemporary dimensions of sport. He has written on the historical and contemporary aspects of sport and war, sport and gender, sports' coaching, golf, rugby league, rugby union, sport structures as well as the ontological, epistemological and methodological aspects of sport history.
With these interests in mind, Dr Phillips has received external funding from the Australian Research Council, Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Coaching Council, the Australian War Memorial, as well as internal funding from the Universities of Canberra, South Australia and Queensland. He was commissioned by the Women and Sport Unit at the Australian Sports Commission to write An Illusory Image: A Report on the Media Coverage and Portrayal of Women's Sport in Australia 1996, has written a history of coaching in Australia entitled From Sidelines to Centre Field for the Australian Coaching Council, and is currently writing the centennial history of swimming in Australia for the National Sporting Organisation, Australian Swimming. In addition, Dr Phillips has been contracted to edit a book on the ontological, epistemological and methodological dimensions of sport history that draws on the collective experience of twelve of the leading sport historians around the world.
Dr Phillips has been an associate editor and book reviews editor for the Journal of Football Studies and is also on the executive committee of the Australian Society for Sport Historians and is the book reviews editor for the national journal, Sporting Traditions.