Undergraduate students’ perspectives regarding recreational sport at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University: A pilot study

  • A. Stolk
  • F. C. Conradie
  • C. Kriel
  • N. Peters


Background: Recreational considerations are thought to be second to academics as regards a student’s choice of a university.  These considerations are strengthened when a student experiences a sense of belonging, created by participation in recreational sport.  Students’ perceptions regarding recreational sports at the North- West University are, however, unclear.

Aim: The aim of this paper was to assist in the students' perceptions regarding recreational sport.

Method: The study was an extension of a pilot study carried out in 2013.  A qualitative research design of semi- structured phenomenological focus groups was used.  Sixteen students (n = 16) participated, and were divided into two focus groups of eight participants each (n1 = 8 & n2 =8).  The focus groups’ responses were recorded (together with field notes and observations) and were then transcribed, using Atlas.TI software.  After coding the content of the focus groups, themes were identified, namely: reasons for participation in recreational sport; understanding of recreational sport; and constraints to participation in recreational sport. Validity of the data was improved by co-coding, comparing data to quantitative data, and triangulation.

Results and discussion: Results indicated that most students had misconceptions about the definition of recreational sport, but its benefits, such as an increase in psychological and physical well-being, as well as social and emotional enhancement, were well known among them.

Conclusion: The results support the concept that recreational sport is integral to the students’ positive perception of a university.


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