Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Third Edition

By McMahan, Kelli K. | Journal of Leisure Research, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Third Edition


McMahan, Kelli K., Journal of Leisure Research


Studies in Outdoor Recreation: Search and Research for Satisfaction, Third Edition

Robert E. Manning

Oregon State University Press, 2011

Twenty-five years after Studies in Outdoor Recreation was first published, and 12 years after the most recent edition, Robert Manning has published a thoroughly updated and authoritative resource. Over the years, his purpose has remained the same--to compile and synthesize all of the research contributing to a greater understanding of the social aspects of outdoor recreation participation. For Manning, this spans resource, social, and managerial environments. These environments comprise "a useful way to consider and analyze outdoor recreation in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary fashion" (p. 323).

The book contains 14 chapters, which is one more than the previous edition, and each chapter corresponds to what Manning suggests are themes or focus areas that emerge from scholarly, peer-reviewed literature. Although each chapter discusses unique subject matter, the chapters generally follow the same presentation pattern. Each chapter begins with a description of the theme, discusses relevant theories and any seminal work, and describes methodological approaches along with the findings and results of related studies. Many chapters also include a section that addresses important issues, concerns, or challenges that have come to light.

While it is often the case that a first and final chapter would serve as "bookends," it is my opinion that Chapter l, "Search and Research for Satisfaction: An Introduction to Outdoor Recreation Research," and Chapter 14, "Principles and Practices of Outdoor Recreation: Knowledge into Action," accomplish their purpose exceptionally well. Chapter I frames the book and sets the stage for the following chapters, while the final chapter summarizes, revisits, and moves the reader toward a trajectory of action via guiding principles and a framework for recreation management. Collectively, these two chapters provide an important and thorough look at the past and current state of outdoor recreation research, while providing a frame of reference for where the future of outdoor recreation research and practices should go in the future.

The themes of the remaining 11 chapters address the following: (1) social aspects of outdoor recreation, (2) descriptive aspects of outdoor recreation, (3) carrying capacity, (4) crowding, (5) indicators and standards of quality, (6) motivations and benefits, (7) the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, (8) recreation conflict, (9) substitutability, and (10) recreation specialization. A helpful feature of the book is the summary section found at the end of each chapter. There are also numerous tables, charts, and models provided throughout the book. The third edition incorporates hundreds of new studies published since the second edition.

There is far too much noteworthy content to be mentioned in a review, but one example of new research discussed in the book is the idea of "trade-offs." Based on economic theory of indifference and stated choice analysis, research on trade-offs provides insight into how visitors and managers make decisions when there are competing demands on resources. This approach takes previous work on descriptive analysis a step further and increases the chance that accurate predictions can be made about visitor acceptance of management practices.

This third edition includes new models for understanding outdoor recreation behavior. For instance, the Conflict Model has been expanded to include issues of "safety" and "expectations" to the list of variables that influence conflict sensitivity. In addition, a new conceptual model for substitutability is introduced. Manning added two appendices--the first summarizes indicators and standards used for measuring the quality of parks and outdoor recreation areas, while the latter includes a useful guide for locating social science literature in outdoor recreation. …

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