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View Full Version : Help With Research Study: Seeking 2017 Thru Hikers



hikenow
02-13-2017, 15:17
Hello Whiteblaze community! I first want to thank the entire community for everything that I learned here in preparing for my 2016 thru hike. It was an amazing experience and I envy those of you getting ready to head out this year. I also come asking for some help with a research project my colleague and I started last season and will continue this with season. We are both psychologists at Shenandoah University located in Virginia (I'm a clinical psychologist, he is a cognitive psychologists). Please see the official announcement below explaining the research and the link to the survey. THANK YOU!! - Rodney/Bones

We are conducting a large survey study to examine how thru-hiking impacts individuals in terms of their personality, stress and depression symptoms, and skills in recognizing the emotions of others. Participation in this survey study would involve completing several short surveys at two different times: once prior to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and once after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. We have carefully designed procedures to limit the amount of time and effort needed for participation, and estimate that you will only need to devote approximately 30 minutes to complete the surveys each time. We hope to gain valuable insight into the benefits of embarking on a thru-hike experience. As an incentive for your participation, all participants of this study will be placed in a raffle for a chance to win one of four $100.00 REI gift certificates.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate and the study. All of the survey questions will be administered on-line and all of your responses will be kept confidential. If you are interested in participating in this study, please go to the following link for more information and to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thruhike2017
(http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AT_Prehike_Survey)
Please feel free to contact either of the researchers listed below if you have any questions or concerns:

Dr. Rodney Bragdon (AT thru-hiker class of 2016) can be reached by email at atstudy@su.edu (atstudy@su.edu) or by telephone at (540) 409-1975.

Dr. Mark Chan can be reached by email at atstudy@su.edu (atstudy@su.edu) or by telephone at (540) 545-7284.

wookinpanub
02-13-2017, 15:40
I thru-hiked a very long time ago (1990) and I can tell you that in some ways it took years for me to fully understand how it impacted my view of the things you're trying to measure. I'm not sure I could have accurately articulated the impact right after it was over. Sure, I knew how it had changed my view of physical comforts, but the alteration of my interaction with others has been better understood through the passage of time. Your study is a good one, though, and I would suggest some sort of longitudinal component to capture the "slow-thinkers" like me. Good luck in your studies.

Kookork
02-13-2017, 15:40
Hello Whiteblaze community! I first want to thank the entire community for everything that I learned here in preparing for my 2016 thru hike. It was an amazing experience and I envy those of you getting ready to head out this year. I also come asking for some help with a research project my colleague and I started last season and will continue this with season. We are both psychologists at Shenandoah University located in Virginia (I'm a clinical psychologist, he is a cognitive psychologists). Please see the official announcement below explaining the research and the link to the survey. THANK YOU!! - Rodney/Bones

We are conducting a large survey study to examine how thru-hiking impacts individuals in terms of their personality, stress and depression symptoms, and skills in recognizing the emotions of others. Participation in this survey study would involve completing several short surveys at two different times: once prior to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and once after thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. We have carefully designed procedures to limit the amount of time and effort needed for participation, and estimate that you will only need to devote approximately 30 minutes to complete the surveys each time. We hope to gain valuable insight into the benefits of embarking on a thru-hike experience. As an incentive for your participation, all participants of this study will be placed in a raffle for a chance to win one of four $100.00 REI gift certificates.

You must be at least 18 years old to participate and the study. All of the survey questions will be administered on-line and all of your responses will be kept confidential. If you are interested in participating in this study, please go to the following link for more information and to complete the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/thruhike2017
(http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AT_Prehike_Survey)
Please feel free to contact either of the researchers listed below if you have any questions or concerns:

Dr. Rodney Bragdon (AT thru-hiker class of 2016) can be reached by email at atstudy@su.edu (atstudy@su.edu) or by telephone at (540) 409-1975.

Dr. Mark Chan can be reached by email at atstudy@su.edu (atstudy@su.edu) or by telephone at (540) 545-7284.






Just curious why your research is focused on AT alone and not other major trails? At the end of your survey and research you might be able to say: Thru hiking AT will change hikers from this to that but If you include other major trails then you might be able to say : This is a research about the effects of long distance hiking on hikers overall.

hikenow
02-13-2017, 16:18
Great point! We hope to do just that, but attrition in longitudinal research is a real issue and difficult to overcome. At the very least, we do hope to add another measurement at around 6 months post-hike in the future. We did this study last year and it is very difficult to get participants for the pre-hike survey and post-hike survey. We are trying to collect more data this year and go from there.

hikenow
02-13-2017, 16:22
Another great point! We do hope to expand our research to the other trails in the future!

Kookork
02-13-2017, 16:38
Another great point! We do hope to expand our research to the other trails in the future!

Sorry, I did not get my answer here. What is stopping you to expand it now.I am not too alien about the research and it's short comings since I used to work in Medical research as a medical doctor.

hikenow
02-13-2017, 23:07
Sorry, I did not get my answer here. What is stopping you to expand it now.I am not too alien about the research and it's short comings since I used to work in Medical research as a medical doctor.

Time and resources mainly. We are located just off the AT in Virginia and hope to collect pre-hike surveys in-person in Harpers Ferry during the flip-flop kick-off, so there is a convenience factor as well. I wish I had more time to devote to research, but it just is not reality.

llittle_llama
02-15-2017, 02:56
I'm game :) I wish I was closer (2.5 hours away) so I could just come and meet with you both before and after instead of doing it online. Would be nice to be able to give better in person feedback :(

llittle_llama
02-15-2017, 03:13
OMG THAT TOOK FOREVER!!!! Seriously though, it wasn't that bad ;) Everyone should go and do it! The more people that do it the larger the sample size is.The larger the SS is the better the results are :D

Traveler
02-15-2017, 07:32
Having seen a lot of these "studies" on WB alone, I am curious as to what these things are used for beyond being sophisticated surveys.

What is the purpose of this "study", what value will it provide those who participate, what has been revealed from other "studies" that fish for similar data, and what potential value will it have for those who hike the trail in the future?

I suspect some of these "studies" are funding vehicles and/or a mechanism to provide the time to make a thru hike attempt. However some of these are probably legitimate and the data used for some purpose or another. For example I can see industries that market outdoor equipment or clothing being interested in some types of trail data. A lot of these seem to include a focus on human condition issues like mental health, which unlike equipment or clothing data do not change much over the years.

lwhikerchris
02-15-2017, 11:26
If interested in surveying 2016 hikers I would fill it out.

hikenow
02-16-2017, 22:16
OMG THAT TOOK FOREVER!!!! Seriously though, it wasn't that bad ;) Everyone should go and do it! The more people that do it the larger the sample size is.The larger the SS is the better the results are :D

Thanks llittle_llama! Yes, this is our second year of data collection to increase the sample size. Thank you for participating! Bones

hikenow
02-16-2017, 22:25
Having seen a lot of these "studies" on WB alone, I am curious as to what these things are used for beyond being sophisticated surveys.

What is the purpose of this "study", what value will it provide those who participate, what has been revealed from other "studies" that fish for similar data, and what potential value will it have for those who hike the trail in the future?

I suspect some of these "studies" are funding vehicles and/or a mechanism to provide the time to make a thru hike attempt. However some of these are probably legitimate and the data used for some purpose or another. For example I can see industries that market outdoor equipment or clothing being interested in some types of trail data. A lot of these seem to include a focus on human condition issues like mental health, which unlike equipment or clothing data do not change much over the years.

Hi Traveler,
I am a clinical psychologist and my colleague is a cognitive psychologist. Naturally, we are interested in studying human behavior. If you click on the link, you can read a brief description of the study and the purpose of our research (you do not have to complete the study to do this).
Bones

hikenow
02-16-2017, 22:26
If interested in surveying 2016 hikers I would fill it out.

I appreciate the offer, but our methodology requires that hikers complete a pre-hike survey and then a post-hike survey. Hope you had a great journey!

hikenow
03-03-2017, 23:14
FYI: We will have a booth at the Flip Flop Festival! Please consider stopping by and completing our survey! You will be entered into a raffle for REI gift cards for your participation. Happy Trails!!