Searching for Articles


Scientific articles have been “tagged” to help you find the research you are most interested in.

To use the tag search function, click on a heading to see a menu of search tags. Check the the tags you would like included in your search. (You can choose multiple search terms under multiple headings.) The search function will look for articles that match your chosen tags.

If you want to find articles that ONLY contain your chosen tags, check the box that says “Search articles that exactly match search tags checked above,” located above the “Search Research Articles” button. For example, if you check this box after selecting the “correlational study” and “mental health” search tags, you will see only studies that are both correlational and address mental health. If you don’t check this box, you will see all studies that are correlational, regardless of whether they are about mental health, and all studies about mental health regardless of whether they are correlational.


Instead of, or in addition to, searching by tags, you can also enter a word or phrase in the keyword search box and the search function will seek articles that include your keyword(s) or phrase.

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Glossary of Search Tags

Glossary of Search Tags

Population of Interest (who is the study about?)


Infancy (birth – 1 year)
Toddlerhood (1-3 years)
Early Childhood (3 -5 years)
Middle Childhood (6-12 years)
Adolescence (13-18 years)
Young Adulthood (19-24 years)
Adult (24-64 years)
Seniors (65+)

Special Populations (the study includes, or is primarily about, these populations)
Children with emotional or behavioral difficulties
Children with ADD/ADHD or other cognitive difficulties
Children with Autism
Children with physical disabilities
Pregnant women
Immigrant populations
Refugee populations
Survivors of disaster, trauma or war
Economically disadvantaged populations
Homeless populations

U.S. Sample Participant Demographics
African American
American Indian or Alaska Native
Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
Asian American
Non-Hispanic White
Hispanic or Latino
Two or more (multi-ethnic persons)
Country of Residence of the Researchers

Methods (how was the study conducted?)

Study Design
Case Study (in depth look at specific children, school or program)
Correlational Study (nature contact is associated with a certain outcome, but without knowing if nature caused the outcome)
True Experiment with random assignment (allows conclusions about causality)
Quasi-experimental design (Includes comparing different conditions, but without randomized assignment to condition so you can’t assume causality)
Qualitative data (comments, observations, interviews, videos, etc)
Quantitative data (numbers)
Theoretical/conceptual article
Meta-analysis (statistical analysis of a set of studies about a particular topic with specific inclusion and exclusion criteria)
Research Summary (Like a literature review. Not very systematic)
Systematic Literature Review (includes a systematized and well explained process of including/excluding studies)
Participatory research/design (Stakeholders are involved in the design and implementation of the research, not just the researchers)

Settings (Where nature exposure takes place, or where the research is conducted)
Agricultural (including therapeutic farms)
Wilderness/back country
Water (includes beach)
Parks (local, city, regional)
School, schoolyard, school garden
Nature preschool
Forest school
Camp (summer camp, family camp or other out-of-school time setting)
Informal environmental education setting (nature center, outdoor education center, zoo, museum)
Childcare center or grounds
Nature playground
Children’s garden
Urban garden (e.g. community garden, “allotment”)
Residential landscape or garden

Forms of Nature Engagement (activity that places the individual in contact with nature)
Environmental living context / green settings (e.g. green neighborhoods, tree canopy, satellite images of greenery in buffer zones around home or school)
Free play in nature
Learning in nature – Academic subjects (e.g. math, reading)
Learning in nature – Environmental education
Learning in nature – Place-based education
Learning in nature – Green schoolyards/school gardens
Learning in nature – Nature kindergartens/preschools/forest schools
Viewing nature- View out a window
Viewing nature- View through screen/technology
Back country adventure/travel
Gardening, agriculture, foraging
Volunteer and stewardship activities (e.g. trail work, stream clean-up)
Therapeutic use of nature (e.g. therapeutic animal, horticultural therapy, shinrin-yoku)
Technological nature (e.g. robotic pets, remote gardening)
Green exercise
Outdoor recreation (e.g. hiking, camping, sledding)
Fishing, hunting
Pet ownership (or pet care)
Intentional engagement with challenge/risk (challenge courses; outdoor adventure with an element of risk or challenge to overcome; allowing young children to test their limits)

Design for Nature Access (studies with implications for architecture or landscape design, playground design, design of school or childcare school grounds, urban planning, policy implications, etc.)

Outcomes (what effects was the study looking for?)

Physical health benefits
General health
Blood pressure
Physical activity
Physical fitness
Weight, body mass index, obesity
Immune function
Asthma relief
Birth outcomes
Eyesight (myopia)
Vitamin D

Physical health risks
Animal bites
Asthma/respiratory problems
Traumatic injury (e.g. falls, fractures)
Poisonous plants
Sunburn/skin cancer
Stings/dermatological reactions

Mental health benefits
Restoration (emotional restoration)
Mood enhancement (e.g. anxiety, depression)
Stress relief
Well-being / happiness

Mental health risks (e.g. fear, anxiety resulting from nature)

Academic function
Engagement in school and learning
Attitudes toward school and learning
School attendance
Behavior in school
Academic achievement (e.g. grades, test scores, graduation rates)
Academic knowledge and skills (e.g. in science, math, social studies; young children’s knowledge of the natural world)

Occupational function (e.g. performance on the job)

Cognitive function
Attentional skills (focus)
Attention restoration (attention restoration theory)
Language development
Executive Function (mental control, self-regulation)

Motor function (e.g. coordination, strength and skills)

Social/emotional function
Pro-social behavior (e.g. cooperation, helping behaviors)
Emotional regulation
Social connection/friendship (and family functioning or bonds)
Community social capital

Perceived agency/efficacy/competence (and self-esteem)

Play behaviors and styles (how and where children play; play types – dramatic, constructive, creative, etc.)

Conservation values, knowledge and behaviors
Connection to nature or a natural place
Ecological/environmental identity
Pro-environmental ethics, values, attitudes
Environmental reasoning
Knowledge about conservation or the environment
Pro-environmental/stewardship behaviors
Civic involvement

Social Justice

Barriers to Nature Engagement (what barriers to nature exposure were mentioned in the study?)

Fear of nature (child’s, parent’s, teacher’s)
Lack of awareness of nature’s benefits (child’s, parent’s, teacher’s)
No interest/loss of interest
Accessibility issues (e.g. for the disabled)
Overscheduled time/perceived lack of time (at home or school)
Safety concerns (e.g. traffic, stranger danger, fear of crime, hunting, injury)
Device/technology/media/screen time use
Absence of or cost of programming
Equipment needed
Distance from nature opportunities (lack of nearby nature)
Regulatory/licensure/liability/permitting concerns


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