Starting around 2000, research activity about sail training increased such that there is now sufficient research on the subject to constitute a foundation upon which an emerging body of literature can be identified. The literature has the potential to be utilized to influence program design, policy, theory, and practice—a growing area of youth development practice.
This systematic review of the current literature on sail training (post-2000) aims to (a) provide a single work for researchers and practitioners to consult for an overview of the current research on sail training; (b) perform a thematic analysis of the current trends for sail training research within the categories of demographic characteristics, research strategies, process, and outcomes; (c) quantify the greater discourse on sail training; and (d) suggest directions in which sail training research can go to build upon the current foundation.
The main findings from this systematic review are that a limited set of methods are used in sail training research; participants experience a positive long-term effect in regard to personal and social domains; structured program design can lead to better specified outcomes; and the effects of demographic characteristics such as gender, age, or socioeconomic background remain unexplored. Much of the research is noncumulative and the related theoretical frameworks lack coherence.