WIT partners in pioneering Cross-Border Student Sport Research Study

Health Science

The Centre for Health Behaviour Research at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is part of a consortium which has been chosen to lead a pioneering €120,000 cross-border research partnership project examining the participation of 11,000 third level students in sport and physical activity.

The Centre for Health Behaviour Research at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is part of a consortium which has been chosen to lead a pioneering €120,000 cross-border research partnership project examining the participation of 11,000  third level students in sport and physical activity.

Commissioned by Student Sport Ireland, the research project called SASSI (Student Sport and Activity Study Ireland) is the first of its kind in Ireland and has been made possible through significant funding contributions from Student Sport Ireland member institutions, the Irish Sports Council and Sport Northern Ireland.

SASSI is the first large-scale survey (11,000 respondents) of third level student participation in sport and physical activity. There is currently 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 study aims to bridge that knowledge gap.

The research, which will be conducted in October and November 2014 with finding made available in 2015, will include a 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.

Dr Murphy, Principal Investigator on the project said, “WIT is proud to be involved in this important cross border-research project into sport and physical activity among students. Student life is a time of transition, when habits of exercise and physical activity are formed that may continue throughout an individual’s adult life. This project will find out the factors which influence students’ decisions to participate in physical activity and sport.

“The survey finding 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.”

Dr Niamh Murphy in WIT is the principal investigator and Mr Neal Byrne, based in the Department of Health Sport and Exercise Science at WIT, has been appointed Research Manager. WIT’s partners in the project are Dublin City University, University of Limerick, the University of Ulster, and the University of Wolverhampton.

In addition to the publications emerging from the data, the study will also serve as a baseline for future follow-up research, and will recommend strategies to increase physical activity among students.

Image Caption: At the announcement of the awarding of the Student Sport Ireland Third Level Research Contract were (Standing, from left): Mr. Ciarán Ó hIarnáin, (Student Sport Ireland); Dr. Paul Donnelly (Sport Northern Ireland); Mr John Kerrane (Student Sport Ireland); Mr Kyle Ferguson (University of Ulster); Dr. Niamh Murphy (WIT); Mr Brian Mullins (UCD and Student Sport Ireland) and Dr. Catherine Woods (DCU).

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