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ERIC Number: EJ1119252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2206-3110
What Do Citation Patterns Reveal about the Outdoor Education Field? A Snapshot 2000-2013
Brookes, Andrew; Stewart, Alistair
Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, v19 n2 p12-24 2016
This study considered what insights into outdoor education (OE) research and scholarship could be gleaned from citation indices and patterns. Citation indices have long been used as ranking tools in the physical sciences, and more recently have been used in humanities and social sciences. High citation measures indicate high research impact, although the converse is not necessarily true because research can have impact unrelated to citations, especially in a small practical field such as OE, and citation indices cannot be used for cross-discipline comparisons without considering variations in citation patterns between fields or disciplines. Citation data can also be used for purposes other than ranking. One aim of this article is to consider what OE citation "patterns" indicate about the distinctiveness of OE as a field. We wanted to use citation data to inform our understanding, as researchers, of the nature and structure of OE discourse. In particular, we made use of citation tools to look at not only which OE work had been cited but also where citation impact occurred. The study examined the most-cited OE research and scholarship published from 2000 to 2013. We attempted to answer the following questions: (1) What do citation patterns indicate about OE research impact outside the field? (2) Does where OE research is published predict where its citation impact, if any, will be? (3) Do citation patterns point to the existence of a single OE literature, or several? (4) Do citation impacts provide insight into how, if at all, the OE field progresses? Using Google Scholar data, Publish or Perish software, and searches for "outdoor education," we obtained 1,446 articles or other sources. Using Zotero software, we reviewed and analysed these articles and works. We found strong support for an argument that OE discourse constituted a distinct research community clustered around the "Australian Journal of Outdoor Education" (now the "Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education"), the "Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning," and the "Journal of Experiential Education." Most published OE work is never cited, and a small number of well-cited works form patterns of citation. We were surprised by the number of theses in the citing works, and found that with the exception of a few articles any impact of OE research and scholarship outside of the OE journals, theses, or OE conferences, is highly diffuse.
Outdoor Council of Australia. 150 Caxton Street, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia. Tel: +61-7-3369-9455; Fax: +61-7-3369-9355; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A