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A current awareness resource for students & faculty members in Business & Economics

Trampoline 8 of 12: Publishers - Academic researchers

Published by Mark Bodnar

Table of contents of this post series. Links back to first post.<This series of posts is aimed at the current RADIUS Trampoline cohort – but will be of use to anyone learning to do secondary market research. Click on the table of contents to go to the first post.>

For many people, the word research evokes an image of university professors and dense journal articles. I hope that by this point in the series you can see that useful research-based information can come from other places such as governments and associations.

That being said... academically trained researchers in places like universities and research institutes produce  very useful information and should not be overlooked as you try to gather reliable evidence for your business case or marketing plan.

Unfortunately, the main sources for academic research findings - scholarly journals - tend to be expensive and off-campus access is often only available for current postsecondary students.

I'll discuss workarounds for that issue at the end of this post, but let's start with some of the sources of academic research you do have free and easy access to... 


Getting the Message Home and the Children Outdoors: Parents’ Perceptions of Barriers and Facilitators to Enrolling Their Children in a Summer Outdoor Activity Program – Thesis (2014) from Queens Univ.

Communities and Health in Living Landscapes: Linking Outdoor Recreation and Health in Northern British Columbia – Thesis (2014) from the Univ. of Northern BC

The Impact of Outdoor Environments on Health and Well-being of Residents in Long-term Care Facilities: A Review of the Literature  – Thesis (2015) from right here at SFU

Search Tip:  Check Theses Canada (part of Library and Archives Canada) for further theses – Sample search 

Most Masters Theses and PhD Dissertations are published online and freely available these days, and they can be incredibly useful resources.  Theses & Dissertations often provide comprehensive treatment of their subjects – which can be daunting!  Start by checking their conclusions, then their references for a shortcut to a list of the key literature on the topic.

Research institutes & think tanks 

Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute – start with their Research by Topic page

Outdoor Recreation, Health, and Wellness: Understanding and Enhancing the Relationship – from RFF: Resources for the Future (USA)

Green Cities: Good Health – a page from the "Human Health & Well-being Research" research project based at the University of Washington's College of the Environment; check their report on Nature’s Riches: The Health and Financial Benefits of Nearby Nature to start

Nature for Health and Equity – prepared by Friends of the Earth, Europe for the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP)

Improving Human Health by Increasing Access to Natural Areas: Linking Research to Action at Scale from the Yale Program on Strategies for the Future of Conservation

Wellbeing benefits from natural environments rich in wildlife – a literature review for The Wildlife Trusts: By the University of Essex

An Oregon Action Framework for Health and the Outdoors – by  a coalition of research institutes, government agencies, advocacy associations... these categories are not mutually exclusive!

Search Tip: Try Harvard's Think Tank Search tool to search for research institutes and their reports

There are hundreds of research institutes and think tanks, including many that are solely focused on issues such as health or the environment.  These organizations generally have highly trained researchers and produce some very useful reports, often in cooperation with government agencies or advocacy associations. 

Academic articles and journals 


Academic journal article (2017): Parents’ Perceived Barriers to Accessing Sports and Recreation Facilities in Ontario, Canada: Exploring the Relationships between Income, Neighbourhood Deprivation, and Community 

Journals: Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning & Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership – neither of these journals are free online, but you could still search their sites for article titles, then visit your local university library to see if they have copies

Tip:  As I mentioned at the start of this post, academic/scholarly articles and journals are often quite expensive and off-campus access is usually restricted to current students and faculty members.

However, most university libraries offer some form of guest access for in-library access to most of their databases and online journals. Consider visiting your local university and asking to speak with the research librarians about relevant sources in their collections.

Also, a growing number of journals and articles are being published as Open Access and are freely available even if you aren't studying at a university. Try searching the Directory of Open Access Journals to find such articles as...

Extra stuff that I couldn't classify quickly

Much of the research summarized in the Knowledge Transfer document by SIRC (mentioned in my Associations post) is by academic researchers. 

Planning with (not for) persons with disabilities: Insights and opportunities – Conference Paper presented at the Canada Parks for Tomorrow Conference (2008)

line drawing of a person speaking on a megaphoneAcademic research articles and reports can be frustrating to read. 

The trick is to not treat such resources as if they were fairy tales.  Instead of starting at "Once upon a time..." and plowing straight through to "... happily ever after", it's more effective & efficient to jump from section to section – and not in order!  

Check the following blog post for some resources to help you learn this important skill: Baffled by dense academic writing? Start here!

Done exploring all those links?  Our next "likely publisher" category is >> Private researchers

Mark Bodnar
Business & Economics Librarian

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