Office of Undergraduate Research Spring 2013

Undergraduate Research Journal

The new issue of the Undergraduate Research Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, will debut on April 11, 2013 LEARN MORE

Place Holder Image

James Gould, Associate Professor, Recreation & Tourism

James GouldJames Gould is an Associate Professor of Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality in the School of Human Sciences. He completed his doctoral work at Clemson University with a focus on community recreation management. James has been involved in various facets of the industry including sports officiating, adventure racing events, natural resource management, special event tourism, Olympic development, and leisure skills instruction. In his unobligated time, James enjoys mountain biking, fly fishing, kayaking, and skiing. He also enjoys playing the drums for various bands and dabbling in documentary film production. James is in his 6th year as a faculty member at UNC.

What is your own research background? 

My research background is the development and testing of psychometric instruments involving leisure behavior. More specifically, by conducting Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) with instruments in order to determine threats to the various types of validity and reliability that affect social science survey research.

I am currently working with a group of undergraduate students interested in exploring potential relationships between personality type and commitment to high risk recreation pursuits. In order to assess personality types, we are using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scale. We are using the Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure (SLIM) to assess levels of commitment in recreational pursuits. There seems to be a lack of research related to high risk recreational choices and personality types so we are excited about what the findings may reveal to us.

Please discuss one significant and/or noteworthy undergraduate research project where you served as a fellow researcher and/or mentor.

Recently I mentored a student’s research project involving recreational boating and invasive Qaugga and Zebra Mussels in the reservoirs of Colorado’s Front Range. Since Colorado is a mandatory boat inspection state, various resource managers were interested in determining if the inspections affected a boaters decision to recreate on a Front Range reservoir or go elsewhere. The inspections can delay boaters, especially those from distant states that might be carrying the mussels, as they require a lengthy decontamination process. 

My student Brad Wright, an avid outdoorsman and manager for Colorado Youth Outdoors, took this project on and did superbly. We were able to post the questionnaire online through FishExplorer.com and accessed nearly 130 Front Range boaters. Our findings revealed that the mandatory boat inspections had undetectable effects on recreational boating choices overall. However, two-thirds of respondents indicated that they had left a reservoir earlier than planned due to crowding on the water. In short, Brad was able to demonstrate to various resource managers that their worries about long waits diverting boaters and monies to other reservoirs are currently of little concern.

How many undergraduate students are doing research in your department?

All Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality students are required to complete a research project as part of the RTH 490 Research and Evaluation class, the capstone of the program. Currently there are 14 teams of students conducting research this semester.

What is most rewarding about working with undergraduate students on original research projects?

There is great reward in having students think clearly in the abstract and logically in the concrete. Even more rewarding is that they understand explanations and theories as well as they could critique and test them quantitatively. They work easily in both realms and understand clearly how each can inform the other. To establish this level of ability in critical thinking about concepts or explanations is to me among the most powerful tools one could bestow to graduating students. When a student puts these same skills to good use in career life, in personal life, and in their community life, then I have cause for celebration.

James Gould is an Associate Professor of Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality in the School of Human Sciences. He completed his doctoral work at Clemson University with a focus on community recreation management. James has been involved in various facets of the industry including sports officiating, adventure racing events, natural resource management, special event tourism, Olympic development, and leisure skills instruction. In his unobligated time, James enjoys mountain biking, fly fishing, kayaking, and skiing. He also enjoys playing the drums for various bands and dabbling in documentary film production. James is in his 6th year as a faculty member at UNC.

Faculty Mentors

mentoring undergraduate students on original research projects.

 

Britney McIlvaine

Assistant Professor for Antropology Department

 

Kristin Bouvaird-Abbo

Associate Professor, English