World Scouting and Guiding

Scouting is the largest youth organisations in the world, with over 30 million members across 161 countries. The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) defines Scouting as contributing “to the education of young people, through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to help build a better world where people are self-fulfilled as individuals and play a constructive role in society” (WOSM, 2012). The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world.

Research on Scouting and Guiding is a growing body of literature within academia. Below are some links to research material focusing on these organisations worldwide.

WOSM Publications and Library

The World Organization of the Scout Movement has a wealth of reports, newsletters and other policy documents on their website. Visit the library here.  WOSM also has a YouTube channel with the latest news and updates. Find out more about the Messengers of Peace programme here.

WAGGS Publications and Research

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has a range of publications and resources, as well as some research reports on volunteering from 2007 and 2008. The Girl Scouts of America have their own research institute with a range of studies on the impact of the girl scout programme. Mary Cobbett based at the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway is currently completing a PhD (funded by an ESRC CASE award with WAGGGS) on non-formal education and the ‘Stop the Violence’ campaign in Kenya.

DEMOS (2015) ‘Learning by Doing’

Commissioned by The Scout Association, this report by DEMOS (June 2015) presents research into whether non-formal learning is sufficiently embedded into the British education system.

World Scout Bureau (2014) Global Youth Trends Report

This report comes as a response to a request from the World Scout Conference for a thorough evaluation of the strategy for Scouting. The report provides an overview of global and macro trends which are relevant for Scouting on a world level.

Huskins, J. (2012) Delivering the Scout Method through Peer Education – adolescent personal and leadership development

This paper suggests how young people can through Scouting, be empowered to progressively take increasing responsibility for their activities, their learning, themselves and each other, and develop personal social and leadership skills. It explores the delivery of Baden-Powell’s scout method through peer education (which all NSOs sign up to in the Constitution, but how many deliver?)  For further information, contact John at

Mills, S. (2013) ‘”An Instruction in Good Citizenship”: Scouting and the Historical Geographies of Citizenship Education’ in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38 (1): 120-134.

This article explores informal citizenship training for youth embodied in the Scout Movement’s philosophies and activities.  It’s available for free via the Loughborough University Institutional Repository here.

Mills, S (2011) Scouting for girls? Gender and the Scout Movement in Britain, Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography 18 (4): 537-556.

This article brings a feminist-geopolitics to bear upon an analysis of the Boy Scout movement in Britain. It’s available for free via the Loughborough University institutional Repository here.

Vallory, E. (2012) World Scouting: Educating for Global Citizenship Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

This academic monograph explains the origins, values and practices of world scouting.  In doing so, it contributes to debates on informal citizenship education and the worldwide scope of the Scout Movement. The book has a dedicated site with more information, available here.

Proctor, T. M. (2009) Scouting for girls: a century of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing Group

Examines girl scouting in the first century of it’s existence, seeking to understand how the movement has lasted and how it as changed. A preview is available on Google books.

Paxtu: History of Guiding and Scouting

For a comprehensive listing of research and publications on the history of Scouting and Guiding, visit Paxtu and their webpages on ‘research’.

Said, S. (2015) ‘Refocusing Boy Scouts Post-SCOTUS: Making Global Citizens’, Huffington Post

Activist, Musician and Eagle Scout Stephen Said writes for the Huffington Post, giving his opinion on the future of the Scouts.

A Million Hands: UK Scout Association

A project devised by the UK Scout Association to encourage scouts to support four social issues; dementia, mental wellbeing, disability and sanitation/amenities access. The resource section provides a video to help understand the project and resource packs to enable people to get involved.

Piha, O. (2012) ‘Friend to Nature’: Environmental Attitudes within the Scout Movement Undergraduate Dissertation, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

In her dissertation research conducted at the 22nd World Scout Jamboree in Sweden, Otava explores environmental attitudes of Scouts from different countries and whether there is a common environmentalist view within the Scout Movement. Download her dissertation here.

Author Disclaimer: This study was done as coursework for an undergraduate degree. It has not been peer-reviewed or verified by those mentioned in the acknowledgements or any other persons.