Outdoor research first set to go global

Outdoor research first set to go global

An outdoor learning tome strongly influenced from the heart of the Lake District is set to go global and adopted as an industry bible.

The new book, which includes authors and a PhD student from University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus, is the first text of its kind on established and cutting-edge research methods.

International publishers, Routledge, have produced Research Methods in Outdoor Studies, filling a void in a worldwide growing field of interest.

Co-editor is UoC’s professor of outdoor and environmental education, Heather Prince, who explained it was essential text for outdoor studies researchers looking for creative techniques.

Hot on the heels of the book’s launch in Ireland, the university’s Institute of Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies has taken top honours in the Celebrating Outdoor Learning Awards.

Professor Prince said it had been a very rewarding time, bringing widespread praise and recognition.  

She said: “It was wonderful to receive the research award for the work we’ve done with primary schools over a 22-year period. Taylor Butler-Eldridge, who graduated this year, was given best student dissertation for his research on psychogeography.

“There was a lot of interest in our work at the Institute for Outdoor Learning’s Birmingham awards ceremony, not just in research, but also in our degree programmes and students’ contributions.

“Our reputation will be further enhanced by the new book, which includes seven UoC authors, six from Ambleside and one from Carlisle, and aims to provide clear, yet provocative insights into the use of research methods.

“It’s for anyone already established in the field and wanting to refresh, those who may want to challenge conventional approaches, students and anyone just starting out in research.

Universal land and water activities are covered, from sea kayaking to angling, surfing to skiing, along with stories, letters, digital technologies and mobile data capture.

Professor Prince said readers might be surprised to see an analogy of jam sandwiches to understand aims and objectives, how playing with trains and making a packed lunch demonstrates data, or a fable can show mittens are better than gloves for disabled young people on adventures.

“She added: “Outdoor studies include the key threads of education, leisure, physical culture, sport, the outdoor environment and practice. High quality research is so important in all of these.”

Research Methods in Outdoor Studies, edited by Barbara Humberstone and Heather Prince and published by Routledge.