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Elizabeth T. Coberly and Susan L. Slocum

‘Serious leisure’ is used to describe freely chosen recreational activities that have similar characteristics to a career. They follow a defined path progressing from introduction to mastery, and through serious leisure, people find social support, a sense of accomplishment, and engagement. Studying serious leisure has proven challenging, but several research methods have emerged. Some are preferred for identifying and measuring serious leisure, and others for understanding the behaviour and motivations of those who practice a serious leisure pursuit. Using Renaissance festivals as a form of serious leisure, this chapter highlights the most frequently chosen research methods: ethnography, experience sampling modelling (ESM), grounded theory, and the Serious Leisure Inventory and Measure (SLIM). Strengths, weaknesses and outcomes are highlighted.