Education Research & Evaluation Center
November 07, 2006
New Content Updates focus on outdoor education philosophy, theory, research and evaluation content available on the web.
In the 5 months since Update #3 (Jan, 2003), the Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center website has undergone a period of consolidation, with improved navigation and a moderate amount of new content added.
By way of some general comments about the current state of philosophy, theory, research and evaluation in outdoor education:
14 June, 2003
Recent useful additions to outdoor education philosophy, theory, research and evaluation on the web included the 13th National Outdoor Education Conference Proceedings, April, 2003, Adelaide, South Australia and
The following overview articles were also added:
Neill (2003) Adolescent development in the 21st century: Potential for outdoor education. Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Neill (2003) Definitions & purposes of outdoor education Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Neill (2003) Impactful education: Research says let's go outdoors. Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Neill (2003) Predictions for theory and research in 2003 and the decade ahead Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Neill (2003) The effects of outdoor education programs: Literature reviews and key primary studies Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Rocha (2003) Science lessons in the outdoors Merced Sun Star
Sheffield, J. (n.d.) Experiential education: What the hell is it anyway
Adventure therapy material on the web continues to grow slowly. The most significant additions were Russell & Phillips-Miller (2002)'s Perspectives on the wilderness therapy process and its relation to outcome in Child and Youth Care Forum and Sandy Newes' Adventure therapy publications, which includes her dissertation, comprehensive exam answers, and articles scheduled for publication. Also of significant note is A meta-analysis of adventure therapy program outcomes, the powerpoint version of Norm Staunton's Masters thesis defense at the University of New Hampshire. Findings support that adventure therapy programs are at least as effective as other types of psychological intervention, although the body of empirical adventure therapy research literature suffers from its lack of rigor.
Other adventure therapy links added were:
Berman & Davis-Berman (1995) Outdoor education and troubled youth ERIC
Eberle (2003). "Executive Functioning" New research about familiar behavior. StrugglingTeens.com
Conner, M. (2002) Excited delirium, restraint asphyxia, positional asphyxia and 'In-Custody Death" syndromes Educationoptions.org
More material is emerging about professional issues in outdoor education, particularly with regard to training and careers.
Climer (2001) Training methods of non-degree college outdoor leadership preparation programs University of New Hampshire
McChesney, et al. (2002) Students say their future field is misunderstood by the public. Parks & Recreation Magazine
Neill (2003) If Only I'd Known...Advice for Outdoor Education Instructors. Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Texas A&M (2000) Outdoors is a wide open degree
There has been a dirth of research information on the web about corporate training and management development through outdoor education - its mostly all just marketing crap. I think its important that we hone in the good quality literature - so check out What Does Research Say about Outdoor Adventure Training for Corporate & Management Development? (Neill, 2003). It refers to articles available on the web, such as:
Donnison (2000) Images of Outdoor Management Development: A synthesis of the literature and participants' experiences on outdoor courses Unpublished doctoral thesis, Lancaster University, England
Krouwel (2003) From Lewin to lawnmower racing...Reflections on the current state of outdoor management development The Institute of Training & Occupational Learning Journal
Publications about the deep ecological aspects of outdoor education are difficult to keep track of, because they surface diversely, such as the Frumkin article about the positive effects of nature on health - reported in widely in the press, such as EarthSpirit (2001) Scientist: Contact with nature can help prevent, treat illness. There are general sources, such as Ecoself.net (n.d.) Deep ecology resources and Segal (1997) Ecopsychology and the uses of wilderness Ecopsychology Online. Personally, I strongly recommended reading Ellis-Smith (2003) Ancient land - current connections, by Graham Ellis-Smith who has been an inspiration in Australia for bringing indigenous knowledge into outdoor education. I also recommend Ricardo Sierra's work in this respect, for example Earth Mentoring Institute (2001) Initiation in the wilderness: Rediscovering lost ceremonies of rites of passage. I've added these sources to a page on Indigenous perspectives in outdoor education.
Two more general environmental outdoor education sources added were - Grant (1998) Why environmental education is GOOD education. Global, Environmental, & Outdoor Education Council and an ERIC Digest -Yerkes & Haras (1997) Outdoor education and environmental responsibility ERIC Digest.
Lastly, but not leastly, I have found in the US that there are many Willi Unsoeld fan's, so it was a pleasant discovery to find that Unsoeld's classic 1978 piece is on the net,
Wilderness and the sacred Green Pages.
There seems to be a resurgence of growth and interest in the philosophy and theory of outdoor education; but its still early days. I've continued adding classic 'essentials' such as
Stephen Bacon's (1987) The evolution of the Outward Bound process Outward Bound USA. Other classics recently added are:
Howe (1974) The role of experience in education National Conference on Experiential Education
Katz & Kolb (1968) Outward Bound and education for personal growth Outward Bound Inc.
Nold (1978) A primer on Outward Bound theory Unpublished manuscript
Walsh & Golins (1976)
For those who want some more indepth engagement with outdoor education philosphy and theory, consider downloading Neill (2003) Course materials for "Outdoor Education Philosophy & Methods" (introductory undergraduate semester-long course)
The most popular recent philosophy and theory articles has been McKenzie (2002) Beyond "the Outward Bound process": Rethinking student learning. Simon Fraser University.
Other recent additions of note are:
Dirkx (2000) Transformative learning and the journey of individuation ERIC Digest
Ellsworth (2000) A survey of educational change models ERIC Digest
McGowan (1997) A more conscious use of metaphor in adventure education The Bradford Papers
Neill (2003) Outdoor education philosophy Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Otten (2000) Character education ERIC Digest
Whitcombe (1999) Mark Whitcombe's outdoor education philosophy
The growth of outdoor education research and evaluation material on the web is slow. Efforts have been concentrated on continuing to make research reviews available, such as:
Chenery (1987) A sampler of qualitative research in organized camping The Journal of Experiential Education
Crompton & Sellar (1981) Do outdoor education experiences contribute to positive development in the affective domain? Journal of Environmental Education
Iida (1975) Adventure oriented programs: A review of research Research in Camping and Environmental Education
A new research tool for assessing the effectiveness of youth at risk programs has been developed - Neill (2003) A measurement tool for assessing the effects of adventure-based programs on outcomes for youth-at-risk participants
For outdoor education organizations interested in conducting research, I have proposed a Hierarchy of research and evaluation motivations (Neill, 2003; Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center).
I have been recommending for some time now that outdoor education research and evaluation pay more attention to the use of effect sizes - the reasons why are explained at Neill (2003) Why use effect sizes instead of significance testing for program evaluation Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation Center
Two other research articles were added:
Bocarro & Richards (1998) Experiential research at-risk: The challenge of shifting traditional research paradigms Journal of Experiential Education
Foster-Riley & Hendee (1999) Wilderness vision quest clients: Motivations and reported benefits from an urban-based program 1988 to 1997 6th World Wilderness Congress Proceedings on Research, Management, and Allocation
There is little new academic literature about risk, challenge, and safety in outdoor education appearing on the web (in contrast to the amount of professional concern). Currently, the most recommended source is www.outdoored.com. These two articles were added to risk, safety, and challenge articles available at http://www.wilderdom.com/Risk.html:
Knight (2000) The safe outdoors Generation - Youth Issues
Sharp (2000) Research into mountain accidents Mountaineering Council of Scotland
Call for Papers (2003) Children and Adolescents' Leisure in "World Leisure Journal"
Neill (2003) How to get published in outdoor education journals
Neill (2003) Why I write on the web.
Outdoor Education Research & Evaluation
Some quotes from North American "outdoor education legends" have been collated:
Knapp (1992) Thinking in outdoor inquiry ERIC Digest
Orans (2002) Scouting references & links PineTreeweb.com