An €120,000 cross-border research partnership project examining the participation of 11,000 third-level students across Ireland in sport and physical activity is being led by a consortium, with Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) at its helm.
The project, conducted by the Centre for Health Behaviour Research, will be called Student Sport and Activity Study Ireland (SSASI). It is the first study of its kind to be conducted in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and is important in creating an overall picture on how the policies and programmes of individual colleges compare with others, or how levels of participation vary across the sector.
Along with WIT, the research project will be carried out in collaboration with Dublin City University, University of Limerick, the University of Ulster, and the University of Wolverhampton.
As part of the survey, students will be asked about their attitudes and behaviour, give an assessment of health and fitness indices, and also an analysis of the specific situation for physical activity and sport in colleges and universities across the island.
The research will begin towards the end of this year in October and November, and all the resulting data will be compiled for release some time in 2015.
One of the investigators on the project is WIT’s Dr Niamh Murphy, from the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science. She says the technology used to gather the data will be incredibly beneficial to future generations of third-level students.
“The survey findings will enable us to offer practical recommendations that will make a real difference as to whether students continue to enjoy the health benefits that sports and physical activity can bring throughout their lives.”
Once the team has compiled its data next year, it is expected to deliver findings from the results and recommendations for institutions.
Photo: (Standing, from left) Ciarán Ó hIarnáin, (Student Sport Ireland); Dr Paul Donnelly (Sport Northern Ireland); John Kerrane (Student Sport Ireland); Kyle Ferguson (University of Ulster); Dr Niamh Murphy (WIT); Brian Mullins (University College Dublin and Student Sport Ireland); and Dr Catherine Woods, (Dublin City University)