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My PhD thesis has been written in the field of educational psychology and, more specifically, on the psycho-educational effectiveness of outdoor education programs. It examines changes in life effectiveness self-ratings by ~3000 outdoor education participants, most of whom were involved in Outward Bound Australia programs from 1992 to 2000, and finds, overall moderately positive and lasting impacts on enhancement of life skills, with little notable variation, although longer, challenging programs with motivated adults were approximately twice as effective as shorter, compulsory programs with school-aged students.

The main contributions of the thesis were:

  • Major reviews of theoretical aspects of outdoor education and research about the effects of outdoor education.
  • Further development and testing of the Life Effectiveness Questionnaire.
  • Largest outcome study of outdoor education programs to date.
  • Demonstration of use of effect sizes for analysis of change.

The main limitations of this thesis included that:

  • The sample was heavily reliant on programs conducted by one organisation (Outward Bound Australia) during the 1990s.
  • The study did not measure any antecedent or process-type variables (including individual differences) which may have helped to account for variability in change.
  • The study was quantitative and thus lacked somewhat in qualitative insight into the nature of OE program's personal and social development effects.


  • Submitted for examination to the University of Western Sydney, June, 2008
  • Examiner feedback received, August, 2008
    • Examiner 1 recommended "Accept"
    • Examiner 2 recommended "Minor changes"
  • Submitted final draft with examiner-requested changes - ~18 October, 2008
  • More info (including draft)

Planned publications[edit]

Title/Topic Draft due
Psychometrics of the LEQ December 2008
Effects of OE programs February 2008
Review of research July 2008
Theoretical model review September 2008