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Students’ Perceptions of Group Journal Writing as a Tool for Enhancing Sense of Community on Wilderness Educational Expeditions

Morten Asfeldt, Rebecca Purc-Stephenson, Glen Hvenegaard


Journal writing is a common practice in outdoor education (OE) and there is a long-standing claim that OE programs enhance sense of community (SOC). However, there remains a call for additional evidence to support the relationship between participation in outdoor programs and SOC. This study examines students’ perceptions of the role of a group journal activity (GJA)—an uncommon form of journaling—on the development of SOC during a wilderness educational expedition (WEE) and proposes group journal writing as an additional model of journaling on WEEs. To measure SOC, we used Chavis, Lee, and Acosta’s (2008) Sense of Community Index version 2. Although the total SOC scale did not increase significantly, the two subscales, membership and shared emotional connection, increased as a result of participation in the WEE and remained stable over time. In addition, students perceived the GJA as contributing to the enhancement of SOC.

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sense of community; journal writing; educational expeditions; outdoor education

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