Challenges to Field-Based Outdoor Research: Pitfalls and Possibilities


  • M. Deborah Bialeschki American Camp Association
  • Karla M. Henderson North Carolina State University
  • Laurie Browne University of Utah
  • Benjamin Hickerson Pennsylvania State University


Research can occur in many ways. The gold standard of true experiments (i.e., random samples, controlled interventions, and pre- and post-test protocols) is often considered the sine qua non of research. Yet, this standard is almost impossible to use in most social service and outdoor professions. Besides being highly difficult, it is also often not practical given the need to understand phenomenon within the context of the natural and social environment.