The impact of outdoor trip participation on the student experience has been evaluated by previous research, and this study sought to determine how participating in outdoor adventure programming impacts student academic success and social integration. This research study utilized a mixed method approach to measure how outdoor trip participation impacted student academic success and social integration. The quantitative portion of this study measured first year students' academic success as determined by GPA, academic persistence, and graduation rate as compared with peers. The qualitative aspect of this study utilized focus groups to understand how outdoor trip participation impacted the social integration of students. A total of 17 first year students were included in the quantitative portion of this study. The qualitative aspect of this research study utilized the responses from 20 past outdoor trip participants throughout four focus groups conducted in February 2011. The quantitative aspect of this research study produced no statistically significant results of the impact of student outdoor trip participation on academic success. Although positive results were seen in first year students being more likely to graduate and having higher GPA's than their non-participatory peers, these findings cannot be distinguished as statistically significant. The qualitative portion of this research study produced extensive data on the impact of outdoor trip participation and student social integration, specifically in the area of Individual Outcomes. The most common aspects of Individual Outcomes as reported by trip participants were in the categories of Developing Friendships, Interest in Outdoors, Approach to Life, Environmental Awareness, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Focus. Other impacts of outdoor trip participation as determined from this study include reports of Group Outcomes, Issues/Challenges, and Trip Attributes. The vast majority of outcomes experienced from outdoor trip participation were positive, indicating a wide variety of ways in which outdoor trip participation can positively impact the social integration of student participants.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2014. Major: Kinesiology. Advisor: Stephen D. Ross. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 131 pages, appendices A-B.
Morrissey, Sean Patrick.
A mixed-method study: evaluating the effects of college outdoor adventure programs on academic success.
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