Research in Outdoor Education


This research examined staff perceptions of the outcomes and values of service in an outdoor education organization through an approach known as means-end analysis. Means-end analysis provides a framework to identify and explore the interrelationships among the important attributes, consequences (i.e., benefits and outcomes), and values of a product or service (Gutman, 1982; Klenosky, Gengler, & Mulvey, 1993). Typically, the means-end approach bas focused on decision-making behavior of consumers. More recent applications have used the approach to understand the outcomes associated with ropes course programming (Goldenberg, Klenosky, O'Leary, & Templin, 2000) and the components of an Outward Bound experience (Goldenberg, McAvoy, & Klenosky, 2005). The present study expands means-end research by applying the approach to examine perceptions of the service component of Outward Bound' s outdoor education programs. Service projects have been one of the key foundations of the Outward Bound organization; and these projects have become increasingly recognized as key vehicles to augment learning experiences in a variety of outdoor education and general education settings.

Given the limited amount of research that has been conducted in this area, the present study examines perceptions of the role and value of service programming among staff members of the Outward Bound organization. The paper begins by providing an overview of the role of service in Outward Bound, the value of service-learning in general, and the key ideas underlying means-­end analysis. Next we present the methodology and results of our empirical study. Finally, we conclude the paper by discussing the contribution of the study results for practice and future research efforts.