Research in Outdoor Education


For most outdoor education (OE )advocates the ready-at-hand, ad hoc evidence is sufficient to support their en­thusiastic claims about OE. Indeed, the smile when a participant conquers a challenge and the glowing words spoken during a debrief are often compelling. But is it enough to let such evi­dence speak for itself? Professional OErs should know more about research results, as should all stakeholders in OE programs and related fields of endeavor, includ­ing researchers of OE. To date, however, there has been a lack of high quality research reviews that have been written for both researchers and practitioners. Thus the current article undertakes to compare and summarize the findings of empirical outcome research on OE and related programs for both general audiences. Initially this paper overviews two ways of measuring outcomes, then describes the use of meta-analysis as a method for objectively sum­marizing pre-post empirical research results, and finally provides recommendations for future OE research and evaluation studies.