Chapter One. Introduction [chapter]

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Introduction As in many areas of study, outdoor recreation research is often guided by simple questions which, more often than not, have complicated answers. For example, why do recreationists chose the activities they do? Why do they select one location over another? Why do they prefer being with some people and not others? And, perhaps most importantly, what experiences do they want and/or receive? As Virden and Knopf (1989) note, however, outdoor recreation researchers are not the only group
more » ... not the only group interested in these questions. Natural resource agency planners and managers--whose mandate often includes the provision of quality outdoor recreation outcomes--are also interested in finding answers to the above. One model which tries to answer some of these questions has become particularly popular among both outdoor recreation researchers and natural resource agency personnel; the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS). ROS contends that physical settings can be arranged along a continuum ranging from highly developed (i.e., the urban class) to highly natural (i.e., the primitive class). In its most common configuration, ROS also includes four intermediary types of physical setting. Thus, the ROS continuum may be conceived of as having six classes: primitive, semi-primitive non-motorized, semi-primitive motorized, roaded natural, rural, and urban. Further, ROS holds that social settings co-vary with physical settings for each class. For example, in the urban class the amount of inter-group contact that is likely to occur will be very high, while in the primitive class such interaction will be very low. Finally, the recreation activity may co-vary with social and physical settings (e.g., baseball and backpacking in urban and primitive classes, respectively), as may the managerial setting (i.e., the regulations and policies affecting each class). 2 ROS also holds that, in addition to these four elements co-varying so as to form a six-class continuum, they may also combine to shape the type of experiences a recreationist receives. For example, when the social, physical, managerial settings and the recreation activity combine to form the primitive class, risk, self-reliance, autonomy, and tranquillity are probable experiential outcomes. In contrast, when the urban class is formed, social affiliation and competitive interaction are more likely to occur. One factor which can affect this relationship is the level of familiarity or "expertise" a recreationist has with a particular activity/setting combination. A novice and an advanced hiker may, for example, obtain different experiences in the same setting or the same experience in different settings. One method commonly used to examine these experiential outcomes is the Recreation Experience Preference (REP) scales. REP is a list of 19 recreation experiences (e.g., independence, reduce tension, family relations), many of which are further sub-divided into smaller groupings (Driver, Tinsley, & Manfredo, 1991) . Problem Statement The purpose of this dissertation is to examine three issues associated with the REP and ROS models. First, is REP comprehensive or does it overlook some recreation experiences (e.g., identity, absorption, etc.)? Second, does REP have an underlying structure? If so, could it be used to develop a framework for classifying recreation experiences? And third, are there other variables, besides the ROS concepts of recreation activities, settings, and expertise, that could help predict the kind of experience a recreationist receives? Each of these issues will be discussed briefly in the remainder of this chapter and in greater detail in the following chapter. As noted earlier, REP is a well known and often used list of recreation experiences. But concerns about REP have arisen. For example, Schroeder (1994) states Purpose of Dissertation In summary, the purpose of this dissertation is twofold: (a) to develop a conceptual model of outdoor recreation experiences, (b) to test the model and the constructs suggested by it. In order to accomplish the latter, the following research questions have been developed. Research Questions 1) Is there empirical evidence that recreation experiences (e.g., identity, absorption) not included in the REP scales exist? 2) Do the concepts of mode, primary mode, and mode dependence exist? 3) How well do the ROS variables of recreation activity, physical setting, and expertise explain the types of experiences recreationists get (both REP and non-REP types of experiences)? 4) Does the concept of primary mode improve ROS's explanation level for both REP and non-REP types of experiences? 5) Does the concept of mode dependence improve ROS's explanation level for both REP and non-REP types of experiences? Conclusion Research literature pertaining to the development of the conceptual model will be reviewed in the next chapter. In chapter three, the study methods and descriptive statistics are examined and the conceptual experience indices are discussed. Chapter four describes the results of the statistical analyses performed on these indices. Chapter five reports the results of the statistical analyses conducted for each research question. In the final chapter, the research questions and the conceptual model are reexamined in light of the study's empirical findings. In addition, managerial implications and possible directions for future research are also discussed. 9 Chapter Two -Literature Review Introduction In order to address this dissertation's stated purpose, the following literature will be reviewed: (a) the types of experiences outdoor recreationists receive, and (b) the factors that shape these experiences. The review of recreation experiences will emphasize the Recreation Experience Preference (REP) scales. Building on REP, the concepts of mode and manner will be further developed and a classification system for outdoor recreation experiences--the Recreation Experience Matrix (REM)--will be introduced. The second section reviews factors that shape recreation experiences. The Recreation Opportunity Spectrum (ROS) model will be the basis of this discussion, emphasizing the ability of activity, physical setting, and expertise to explain and predict recreation experiences. This section will also describe the concepts of primary mode and mode dependence, focusing on their potential ability to further explain and predict recreation experiences. In the review's third section, a framework for integrating the ROS and REM models, primary mode, and mode dependence will be proposed. The final section will consist of a summary of concepts and a concluding statement. Outdoor Recreation Experiences Recreation Experience Preference (REP) scales.
doi:10.1515/9781400826292.1 fatcat:5l4o3bu3fnb2rlzgyw7o2xnxj4