Psychology-informed doctoral research in tourism

Document Type


Publication details

Weiler, B, Torland, M, Moyle, DB & Hadinejad, A 2018, 'Psychology-informed doctoral research in tourism', Tourism Recreation Research, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 277-288.

Published version available from:


Peer Reviewed



While scholars have reflected on the roles played by psychology in tourism studies, there has been only limited exploration of the contributions of this discipline to tourism doctoral research. The aim of this study is to examine how psychology features in tourism-focused doctoral dissertations completed in the United States (US), Canada, Australia and New Zealand from 1974 to 2013. A content analysis was conducted on the 359 tourism doctoral theses identified during that four-decade period as drawing directly on theory informed by psychology and/or employing psychological concepts. The results indicate that motivation/destination choice, tourist behaviour/experiences, and attitudes/satisfaction are the most prevalent conceptual themes studied and expectancy-value theory the most frequently-invoked theory by psychology-informed doctoral research in tourism. Although collectively drawing on a wide range of methods throughout this period, an increase in the use of mixed and qualitative methodologies in recent decades was evident. This paper adds to a suite of studies exploring the scholarly contributions and trends in the application of psychology to the study of tourism. It serves to highlight gaps and avenues for further research, including the need for a more strategic and documented approach to the selection and application of psychology-informed theory, theoretical frameworks and models.

Find in your library