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Research in the Challenge Course Field


As the challenge course industry continues to grow and as the field matures, the need for documentation of the efficacy of challenge course usage increases.   ACCT does not conduct research, but does seek to connect the research data collected with those operating challenge courses.

Aram Attarian, from North Carolina State University, and Alpine Towers International have generously allowed us to post the Second edition of Aram's Bibliography on Challenge Courses here on our website, in PDF format. A printed copy can also be purchased through Adventure Hardware.

ACCT Research Grant


The ACCT Research Grant was created to further research in the challenge course industry by providing financial assistance (up to $1,500) to individuals conducting challenge course research. Proposals will be accepted November 1 - December 31, each year.  Notifications about the winner will be announced at the annual ACCT International Conference.


Submissions are reviewed by the Research Advisory Committee and all applicants will be notified by the end of January each year. All grant awardees will be expected to present their research at a future ACCT conference. 


All proposals should not exceed 5 pages and are expected to include the following:

  • Title of the research project
  • Purpose of the research (including how this is related to the challenge course industry and a literature review)
  • The problem or issue of focus and the research questions being asked, and how this research will benefit the challenge course industry.
  • The research methodology being used.
  • The proposed budget for the research project (indirect costs are not permitted)
  • Project timeline and IRB approval.
  • List of relevant documented references/works cited (may include those used to justify proposal and potential references). These are not personal references.

Submissions are reviewed by the Research Advisory Committee. Specific questions about the research grant can be sent directly the Lizzie Lange (, chair of ACCT’s Research Advisory Committee.

 Rubric for assessment of research proposals - click here


 The Research and Literature on Challenge Courses:
An Annotated Bibliography 2nd Edition

Many research based articles on challenge courses and other facets of experiential education have also been published in the Journal of Experiential Education.

If you know of other research studies which have been published, please forward that information to ACCT. We will post citations for other publications as we learn about them and PDF's of publications when copyright permits.

Please note that ACCT does not endorse or sponsor any of these research studies.



Links to Citations and Publications -Downloads (PDF Format)

· The Research and Literature on Challenge Courses: An Annotated Bibliography 2nd Edition

· Gillis, H. L., & Speelman, E. (2008) Are Challenge (Ropes) Courses an Effective Tool? A Meta-AnalysisJournal of Experiential Education, 31(2), 111-135.Back issues and subscriptions to the Journal of Experiential Education are available at Association for Experimental Education

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