Course code REIS310

REIS310 Social Science Research Methods in Nature-based Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resource Management

Norsk emneinformasjon

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2017 - 2018 .

Course responsible: Jan Vidar Haukeland
Teachers: Kathrin Jathe, Øystein Aas, Stian Stensland
ECTS credits: 5
Faculty: Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resource Management
Teaching language: NO
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Teaching exam periods:
The course starts at the spring semester. The course involves teaching/grading during the spring semester. 
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2017-2018
Course contents:

The course is organized around the two most commonly used approaches in social science research for nature-based tourism, outdoor recreation and natural resource management: qualitative (interviews, text analyses) and quantitative (questionnaires, visitor counts, and similar) methods. The course focuses on research design/method, data collection and analysis, and covers the skills needed to write a master thesis, from designing a problem statement to choice of method and collecting data, to analysis and presenting results. The course also provides an introduction to visitor monitoring, use of questionnaires (Questback) and software used for analyses of qualitative (NVivo) and quantitative (SPSS) data. Statistical analyses covered include both parametric and non-parametric tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), factor- and regression analyses.

The course has two main assignments. One group assignment based on existing quantitative and/or qualitative data where students are to analyze and present results. The second, individual assignment is to write a project plan for the master thesis including introduction, problem statement, method, choice of analysis and time plan.

Learning outcome:


The course will give students knowledge how to plan and undertake a master thesis using social science methods focusing on problem statements in nature-based tourism, outdoor recreation and natural resource management. The course provides students the skills to undertake a scientific study. This includes knowledge about opportunities and constraints involved with quantitative and qualitative methods in social science research. The students will also learn how to select an appropriate method based on different problem statements, and how conclusions drawn from the analysis are constrained by the research design.


After completing the course, students will have skills in research design and be familiar with the most common methods used to analyze social-science problem statements in nature-based tourism, outdoor recreation and natural resource management. Students will know the principles of visitor monitoring and be able to apply different methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection (interviews, text analysis, questionnaires, visitor counts and similar). Students will also be familiar with software for quantitative and qualitative analyses, and be capable to apply statistical methods (parametric and non-parametric tests, analysis of variance, factor-- and regression analyses).

General competence:

Students should gain increased insights and understanding how empirical research is undertaken, and what methodological standards, knowledge and resources are needed. Further, the course will give an increased competence in performing empirical research and interact with researchers. 

Learning activities:
The course is based on a combination of lectures, exercises, group and individual work. The course ends with an assignment where each student develops a plan for the master thesis. 
Teaching support:
Teachers are available during lectures and exercises, or upon appointment.

Main text book:

Sirakaya-Turk, E., Uysal, M., Hammitt, W., &, J Vaske, 2017. Research Methods for Leisure, Recreation and Touris. CABI Tourism Text. Chapters 1-4, 6-8, 12-16.


Selected chapters (put on CANVAS) from the following and other sources notified upon at course start. :

Field, A. 2013. Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics. SAGE Publications

Mehmetoglu, M. 2003. Kvalitativ metode for merkantile fag. Fagbokforlaget.


Kajala, L., Almik, A., Dahl, R., Diksaite, L, Erkkonen, J., Fredman, P., Jensen, F. Søndergaard, Karoles, K., Sievänen, T., Skov-Petersen, H., Vistad, O. & Wallsten, P. (2007). Visitor monitoring in nature areas - a manual based on experiences from the Nordic and Baltic countries. Tema Nord 2007:537. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen.


Vaske J. J. (2008). Survey research and analysis: applications in parks, recreation and human dimensions. State College, PA: Venture Publishing. Chapter 7. Writing and constructing surveys.



Students must buy SPSS themselves (About 40 USD at

Questback provided by NMBU.

NVivo ¿ dowload a free trial version valid for 2 weeks.

Basic statistics, STAT100 or equivalent.
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:
Compulsory attendance at exercises.
Continuous exam where both individual assignment and the group assignment must be passed in order to pass the course.
Nominal workload:
150 hours.
Entrance requirements:
General study competense (GSK).
Type of course:
2-4 hours of lectures/exercises per week.
An external examiner sets the grade on the group paper in cooperation with an internal examiner. Internal sensors grade the individual paper.
Examination details: Continuous exam: Bestått / Ikke bestått