15th NRPA Leisure Research Symposium Offers Something for Everyone

Article excerpt

EDITOR'S NOTE: Karla A. Henderson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Leandra A. Bedini, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Research Update Co-Editors

The 15th Annual NRPA Leisure Research Symposium, a component of the 1992 NRPA Congress held in Cincinnati, was a veritable smorgasbord of the ever-broadening dimensions of leisure research. Not unlike other years, more than 90 papers were presented which involved almost twice that many individuals as authors, session coordinators, keynote speakers and reviewers. The topics ranged from discussions of tourism impact scales (Ap, 1992) to an analysis of leisure, science and religion in 17th century England (Sylvester, 1992).

The symposium provides a forum for both practitioners and educators to share and learn about current and relevant research. Linda Caldwell of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro and Carol Cutler Riddick of Gallaudet University served as the co-chairs for this year's symposium. Three-page abstracts were submitted in early March and were selected for presentation by a review panel. The sessions addressed in 1992 were: tourism; aspects of leisure over the lifespan; methodology, statistics, and design aspects; sociological aspects; psychological/social psychological aspects, management of leisure programs and services; curriculum and professional preparation; outdoor planning and management; leisure research and the humanities; and leisure programs and services for special populations.

The research presentations addressed both theoretical and practical concerns related to leisure studies and leisure services. The purpose of research is to discover theoretical and methodological or applied and practical answers to questions by applying systematic research procedures. Some of the questions answered by researchers in this year's symposium addressed theory and how research can contribute to a better understanding of the phenomena of leisure. For example, Barnett's (1992) discussion of maximizing the error in children's play research provided insight for improving research methods. An example of applied research could be found in Pedlar, Gilbert and Gove's (1992) study of how to start the process of facilitating integration and ensuring equal access to community leisure and recreation for all older adults. The entire symposium was replete with examples of theoretical and applied research as well as combinations of the two. Much could be learned by both practitioners and educators who attended these sessions.

The Research Symposium opening session, offered for the first time this year for CEU credits, was entitled "The New American Diversity: Examining Multicultural Issues in Leisure Research." After an opening address, the participants divided into small groups to discuss how' multicultural issues in leisure research might have implications for public policy and service delivery, education and training, and for social psychological research.

Although the subsequent symposium papers addressed many topics, it seemed that women and people of color emerged as groups who were given more consideration in this year's sessions than in the past. Further, the topic of constraints as it pertained to social psychology as well as to lifespan development and practice was a frequent topic of research. Additionally, topics addressing empowerment and integration of groups were prominent.

All abstracts of the research presentations can be found in "Abstracts from the 1992 Symposium on Leisure Research" which is available for purchase from NRPA. Besides a summary of the research, each abstract also includes the name and address of the author(s) so that they may be contacted for additional information. If any of the following summaries interest you, please get a copy of the abstracts and contact the author directly for further information.

The Tourism sessions had several papers that addressed various aspects of festivals and special events. …