UBC Undergraduate Research

An Analysis of Recreation Communication Effectiveness Among English Second Language Students in Their First Year at UBC Chan, Leona; Lopes, Sydney; Quon, Stephanie; Sen, Shivani


The target population of this project are ESL International students in their first year at the UBC. Research indicates that international students have lower rates of physical activity than domestic students (Suminski et al., 2002), thus making them an ideal population for this study. Our research design is a mixed methods study, collecting qualitative and quantitative data. This study includes both open-ended and closed-ended questions during the interview process. Participants were asked 10 semi-structured questions. Once the interviews concluded, a thematic analysis was done on the data collected. Researchers replayed the recordings and went over the notes to find keywords describing their experiences. Our main goal with these analyses was to identify whether there were similarities, differences or trends/themes in the answers provided. Findings- Involvement Most of the participants reported a limited amount of involvement in organized UBC Recreation activities and programs. Informal, unstructured, and individual recreational activities were preferred by many of the participants. Language Barriers Contrary to what we anticipated, none of the participants experienced notable language barriers during the interviews or pertaining to understanding advertisements. Knowledge of UBC Recreation Programs Limited knowledge of UBC Recreation programs was seen across all participants. Only 6 out of 9 participants knew where the Student Recreation Centre was. Although 5 out of 9 participants mentioned social media as an effective avenue for information on UBC Recreation programs, other forms of communication strategies such as Clubs Day booths, Vantage College emails, Campus wide emails, in-class speakers and peers were also reported. We found three themes that have emerged following speculation of the participants’ responses to our interview questions: (1) emphasis on competition, (2) loss of networks, and (3) quality and consistency of advertisements. Discussion- There was a lot of variation in the number and type of communication techniques mentioned by the participants. Participants who were more aware of UBC Recreation programs and events also reported more communication techniques that resonated with them, which suggests that using multiple modes of communication may be beneficial. A student who is currently connected to a greater number of UBC platforms has a greater likelihood of being more aware of UBC Recreation events and programs, and may be more inclined to participate. However, merely knowing that there are UBC Recreation programs and events happening on campus may not guarantee participation. Overall, our results suggest that within our chosen population, variations in recreation interests, participation rates, perceived barriers, and lifestyles exist. Communication techniques and platforms that resonate with some students may be completely disregarded by others. Therefore, in order to promote UBC Recreation events and programs effectively, diversity in communication techniques must be attained. Recommendations- 1.Our first recommendation is that UBC Recreation could build on existing social networks by implementing interactive marketing techniques in UBC residence buildings. 2.Staying consistent with advertising throughout the year could strengthen student engagement with recreation. 3.UBC Recreation representatives could set up booths at residence common areas once a month. 4.UBC Recreation could emphasize their smaller events using a more inclusive tone more frequently throughout the school year. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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