ERIC Number: ED480113
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2002-Jan
Meta-Analytic Research on the Outcomes of Outdoor Education.
Neill, James T.
This paper compares and summarizes empirical research on the outcomes of outdoor education (OE) and related programs. Most frequently, OE outcomes have been researched using post-program surveys of staff and participant attitudes. Such reports are vulnerable to many potential distortions. A second major approach to examining OE effectiveness involves comparisons of pretests and posttests of participant self-perceptions. The validity of this approach depends on the quality of measures and methods, and the wide variety of measures and methods used makes comparisons across studies difficult. Since the 1980s, meta-analysis has provided a method for analyzing the results of different studies. To date, five meta-analytic reviews of OE and related outcome literature have been conducted; they agreed that OE programs had a small-moderate impact for typically measured outcomes, such as self-esteem, changes in behavior problems, and teamwork. The largest of the meta-analyses (96 studies) suggested that 65 percent of participants were better off for having participated in OE programs. Findings of the five meta-analyses are summarized for six broad categories of outcomes (leadership, self-concept, academic, personality, interpersonal, and adventuresome); for program effectiveness; for moderators of outcomes (program length, gender, age, participant type, organization, and quality of the study); and for comparisons of OE outcomes to those of other interventions. Research recommendations focus on describing program methods in detail, studying the influence of individual differences on outcomes, and using effect-size benchmarks. (Contains 32 references) (SV)
Descriptors: Effect Size, Individual Development, Meta Analysis, Outcomes of Education, Outdoor Education, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Research Needs
Coalition for Education in the Outdoors, SUNY at Cortland, P.O. Box 2000, Park Center, Cortland, NY 13045 ($18). Tel: 607-753-4971; e-mail: email@example.com.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Research in Outdoor Education, Volume 6. A Peer-Reviewed Publication of Scholarship First Presented at the Biennial Research Symposium of the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors (6th, Bradford Woods, IN, January 11-13, 2002); see RC 023 980.