Student Sport Ireland is planning to launch a significant research project which will assess the physical activity of third-level students on the island of Ireland and provide significant insight into the student experience of higher education. The project is an important national and cross-border project, which will provide new information on a very significant cohort of the population.
The Association’s member institutions provide for the sport and recreation needs of more than 200,000 full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students. SSI is committed to increasing participation in and adherence to physical activity by as many students as possible, with the objective of developing positive attitudes and commitment to lifelong involvement in positive health behaviour.
There is currently a distinct lack of information available on the participation levels of these young adults as they progress through the Irish third-level sector. There is no data available as to how the policies and programmes of individual colleges compare with others or how levels of participation vary across the sector. This dearth of what SSI members consider basic, but vital information, led to the establishment of a Research Steering Group to oversee the development of a research process. It is intended that this research will inform third-level institutes in the development and delivery of their sport and physical activity policies and programmes.
The project will be undertaken as part of a unique and very significant collaboration between SSI members, academic researchers from colleges and universities North and South, Sport Northern Ireland, the Irish Sports Council and other agencies.
The survey sample will be drawn from students registered in 2013/2014 in all Irish universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education and higher education students in Northern Ireland Further Education colleges.
The research will include a large survey of student attitudes and behaviour, an assessment of health and fitness indices and an analysis of the specific situation for physical activity and sport in colleges and universities across the island.
It is planned to launch the project in October 2013 and the study will be undertaken in 2014.