'An Investigation into the impacts of higher education on participation levels in physical activity: A case study focusing on third year male university sport students'.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of the following study was to investigate the impacts higher education has on participation levels in physical activity. With evidence suggesting there are growing concerns regarding physical inactivity amongst the UK (BHF, 2011; DOH, 2011b), the present study focused specifically on third year male university sports students as students represent a distinctive under-researched area of the population (Lovell, et al., 2010) and focusing on a specific target allowed issues to be explored more effectively. A purposeful sample of six third year Cardiff Metropolitan University sport students participated in the study, with current levels of physical activity varying across the participants. A qualitative methodology in the form of face-to-face interviews (n=6) was selected which were transcribed ad verbatim and analysed by key theme in the discussion section. The interviews were conducted in privately booked rooms away from any noise or disruption in order to enhance validity. Upon review of the literature, evidence suggested that the transition from high school into university represents a period of dramatic decline in physical activity participation rates (Kwan, et al., 2013). This is due to numerous reasons including greater academic workload (Sport, Wales, 2012) and tougher competition (Street Games, 2012b) within university representative teams. The data collected during this study went somewhat to supporting these findings however, there was also evidence to suggest students may in fact regard university as a greater opportunity to engage with physical activity. Although university can offer various opportunities for third year students to engage with physical activity, evidence suggests students are more likely to be faced with barriers during this life period. As a result of this, future physical activity interventions need to shift their focus towards attenuating the declines in physical activity, with universities encouraged to devise mechanisms which aim to stabilise student participation rates throughout this transitional period. One key limitation of the study is that the data was collected from a specific university and therefore, cannot fundamentally be applied to students in different universities. In relation to this, future research will benefit from using a larger sample size across multiple universities as more generalised data will help to enhance the reliability of the study.
DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONOURS) SPORT MANAGEMENT
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