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Can Engagement in Physical Activity on Instagram Help Female Students?

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Table of Contents


Literature Review


Ethics of Research:

Research Predictions



Reference List:



In this proposal the author will present the area for research that will be conducted in al year research project. The area that the researcher wishes to examine is whether the use of Instagram can increase physical activity among female high school students. It has been established by Sport Ireland that physical activity among adolescents in Ireland has been decreasing.

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Younger adults are more likely to be active participants, but they are also more likely to drop out of a sport, especially in their late teens. Those in the 16-19 age group are significantly more likely to drop out of sport altogether. Keeping them in the game 2013

The reason decided to focus my final year research project on this area was because of the work that we completed last year with St.Vincents Secondary School last year during the sports development module. From that experience developed a real interested for this topic. The methodology that I will be using for this project is focus groups and questionnaires.

A reports conducted by Sports Monitor (2017) found that The most notable change since 2015 has been the decline in the proportion of those participating in sport among those classified as having “other second level” education. Among this group, while declines have been seen across a number of sports, they have been particularly severe in the case of running (from 9.0% in 2015 to 4.7% in 2017). Gender gap in sports participation (4.5%) is narrower now than at any point since the ISM was introduced in 2007 when it was 15.7%

Sports monitor 2017


The aim of the proposed research is to find if audio visual aids can be used to engage females in physical activity. The aim is to use Instagram to produce instructional fitness videos aimed at the target audience. The exercise videos being produce can be further developed to suit other platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Literature Review

Section 1: Defining Engagement in Physical Activity

In this section of the document the author will define engagement in physical activity. In order to plan and deliver exercise session aimed at the target audience it is important to develop an understanding of engagement in physical activity within the target group.

(Katzmarzyk, P. T. and Bouchard, C. 2010) describes physical activity as all leisure and non leisure body movements resulting in an increased energy output from rest. This can be from exercise to general daily activities carried out throughout the day.

(Quindry, J. C., Yount, D., O’Bryant, H., & Rudisill, M. E. 2011) suggested that engagement in physical activity varies in age and motivates of people. They concluded that young adults engage in exercise based on interpersonal motives, whereas engagement among adolescents is said to be more for more body related motivates such as appearance and weight management. They suggested that health motives for exercise influences individual’s involvement in physical activity whereas fitness involvement is a motivates for individuals throughout the life span.

(Leigh, Charity 2012) Also stated that there is an importance of engagement in physical activity in adolescences during their school years.  They concluded that the middle school years are a critical period of the development of physical activity among adolescent that extends into the adulthood. They stated that participation in physical activity among adolescences declines at a greater rate in females that in males.

From this we can establish that female students to have differing motivates for engagement in physical activity.

Section 2: Theoretical Perspectives – Technology acceptance

As I intend to use Instagram as a tool to engage participants in physical activity it is important that I look into the technology acceptance theory as the main area of this research proposal includes the use of Instagram.

(Dziak, M. 2017) Suggested that the technology acceptance model is a theory that intends to predict a companies or individual’s ability to successfully adopted new systems of technology.

Venkatesh, V.Bala 2008 Argged with this also stating that

TAM was developed to predict individual adoption and use of new ITs. It posits that individuals’ behavioural intention to use an IT is determined by two beliefs: perceived usefulness, defined as the extent to which a person believes that using an IT will enhance his or her job performance

Section 3: Engagement and Social Media

As the research is trying to establish if Instagram can help improve engagement in physical amongst females in their school years it is important to establish if there is an engagement among the target area in social media.For the use of Instagram to have a impact on the target area it is important that there is a relationship between the app and the target area.

(Len-Ríos, María E.Hughes, Hilary E.McKee, Laura G.Young, Henry N.2106)

Found that 75% of adolescents had used social media with the two main social media sites being used where Facebook with 71% and Instagram with 52%.  From this we can clearly establish that there is a link between the target group and social media showing that there is engagement among the target area.  From research in Ireland females are less likely to maintain their participation in physical activity than males are. A report produced by sport Ireland suggested that (keeping them in the Game 2013) Females where less likely to partake in physical activity and sport once they leave school. The area in which this research aims at combating is physical activity among TY female students.

Section 4: Audio visual tools

(Stanković, Zoran 2018) argued that the implementation of multimedia in the teaching process leads to an increase in the active participation of students on time, facilitating interactive learning and improving success. Practice shows that multimedia has its place

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As the project aims to use audio and visual tools through the use of Instagram it is important to explore the effectiveness of audio visual tools amongst the target audience. Kunari,(2006) and (Journal of Universal College of Medical Sciences 2015) both agreed  that audio visual tools are devices present unit of knowledge through auditory of visual stimuli both with a view to help learning. They concretise the knowledge to be presented and help in making learning experience more real, living and vital.

It is important to establish if the target audience engage in the use of audio visual aids before when being the project. In a study conducted by (Gupta, P) found that in a patient effected by leopsy had a positive affect of instructionally videos during the post operative exercise phase. He found that with the use of instructional exercise videos help improve the patient’s ability to perform the the exercises. Although this is a completely different situation that what the project aims are it shows us that individuals can respond well to audio visual tools for the use of exercise engagement.

Section 5: Motivations for exercise for the target audience

To be able to change participation in physical activity it is important that we can establish the motivations for physical activity among the target area in order to make a change. For the purpose of the research it must be established what the motivates for physical activity are for females.

A study carried out by (Castillo, Isabel Duda, Joan L. Balaguer, Isabel Tomás, Inés 2009) found that in the study that the motivates for exercise or physical activity differ between genders. The findings concluded that males are more motivated by competition, challenge, recognition and strength. However, females where found to be more motivated by weight management or appearance. In Ireland a report conducted by (Delaney 2007) also agreed with this argument finding that there was some difference in motivates between genders participation in physical activity. Suggesting that female’s motivations for participating is losing weight whereas males are motivated by friends and sport. For these finding we can programme a appropriate exercise programme and instructional videos for this issue.

Section 6: Instagram application and Physical Activity

In order for the research to be successfully it is vital that the author can establish that the participant will interact with physical activity through Instagram.

The aim for this research is to establish if the use of Instagram and help improve participation in physical activity. A similar study conducted on 58 female students form the college of applied medical sciences at king Saud University found that

The the adherence to PA among female college students was poor. The use of Instagram with the home exercise program as a motivationsssal modality could be attractive and effective to reinforce adherence and maintain appropriate PA levels among these populations(Einas Al-Eisa,1 Asma Al-Rushud,2 Ahmad Alghadir,1 2016)

Another study in America conducted on 305 students ranging form 18-28 year old  students of Bryant university (Kosek, Bridgette 2015) found that The results of this study revealed that regardless of gender or age, people who follow exercise Instagram accounts spend more time being active than those who do not follow exercise Instagram accounts.

This study shows us that in an America university the use of Instagram can have a positive impact on physical activity in students. This is important for the proposed piece of research as there needs to be a established use of Instagram with engagement in physical activity among females.


This section will the methods purposed for this piece of research in this section the author will give examples for the reasons why they have decided to use these methods over others and how the methods will be conducted. The proposed methods for this research project is a mixed methods approach with an aim to conduct a focus group and complete questionnaires. The Questionnaire will be dispirited to participants before and at the end of the project. The reason for this is to see if there have been any changes in participant’s views. The focus group will take place at the end of the project.

Questionnaires- For the purpose of this research the questionnaire that is being proposed to be used is the Motives for Physical Activities Measure – Revised (MPAM-R). The use of this questionnaire have been approved by DkIT ethical committee.

The reason the researcher has proposed the use of questionnaires is because as stated by (Wilson and McLean 1994) Questionnaires are a widely used and useful instrument for collecting survey information, providing structured, often numerical data, being able to be administered without the presence of the researcher, and often being comparatively straightforward to analyse 

It is the belief of he researcher that the questionnaires will give them a greater amount of information from a greater amount of people. Also a questionnaire is helpful in terms of analysing the data collected from the participants.

Focus group – the focus group will take have 6-10 respondents who have volunteered to take part in the focus group. No individual will be forced to take part in the focus group. The reason for this was as suggest by (Richard Krueger 2002) to have between 5-10 participants taking part in the focus group and for members not to be involuntary selected for the project.

(Richard Krueger 1988) suggested that the reason why focus groups work is because participants are made to feel comfortable, respected and free to give their opinions and not be judged.

The author believes that hold a focus group with the participants will allow them to clear establishes what the participant’s views are and also gather information from then that can be viewed a number of times throughout the research.

(Villard, Judith A. 200) describes focus group interviews as a qualitative research method that consist of a carefully designed “discussion” which allows people to express their points of view in a group setting and provide researchers with indicators of program impact.

Ethics of Research:

The main issues for an ethical stand point about the proposed research project is the fact that the researcher intends to work with school year’s pupils in the form for physical activity sessions. The weekly exercise session has been approved by the DKIT ethics committee for the Institute. The weekly exercise sessions have been approved form the being of the project that started in semester 3 of 2018.

A consent form for participation on the exercise session will be given to the participants before the start of the programme. Participants of the programme will be informed before the being of the programme of the objectives and how the programme will delivered. The participants will be informed of the purpose of the research being conducted and how the data that we gathered and how it will be used. The participants will not be identified of there role in the programme. Participants who have given their consent to the the project can withdraw from the process at any time.

During the focus group members of the group will have full confidentially and anonymity during the process. The data that is provided by participants can be assessed but the individuals identify will not be provided.

Research Predictions

My predication for the piece of research that I am conducting is that the use of Instagram will help the engagement amongst the target group. I predicted that the use of Instagram to promote physical activity will have a positive impact on the participations. The reason I feel that it will have this affect because of the effect and the time spent on social media groups by the target audience.   I predict that the participants you engage in the Instagram profile will be more likely to partake in physical activity.


In conclusion we have establish that the use for Instagram as a tool to engage females in physical may have a positive impact. It is clear that in other studies to use of audio visual tools has had a positive affect on participation in physical activity. This piece of research aims to find if the use of Instagram can engage female students in Ireland in physical activity. In this research proposal the author has established that there is a clear problem with the participation rates in physical activity in females which may lead to greater problems for the individual’s health and also the cost on health care for the state.


Reference List:

  • Dziak, M. (2017) ‘Technology acceptance model (TAM)’, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science. (Accessed: 15 November 2018).
  • Gupta, P. (no date) ‘Use of Audio-Visual aids in teaching post operative exercises to person affected by Leprosy’, Leprosy review, 86(3), pp. 251–253. Available at: //,cpid&custid=ns000798&db=edselc&AN=edselc.2-52.0-84953397422&site=eds-live (Accessed: 15 November 2018)
  • Quindry, J. C., Yount, D., O’Bryant, H., & Rudisill, M. E. (2011). Exercise engagement is differentially motivated by age-dependent factors. American Journal of Health Behavior, 35,


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