Assessment of selected social data collection techniques for use in urban public recreation planning

Eunice Hoi-Cheung Mak
Recreation planners serving local .governments are faced with difficult problems in selecting data collection techniques, and can find little useful guidance in the literature. A range of techniques have been assessed using the social science literature, field investigations and informants. The conclusion is that, for' most urban community planning purposes it appears appropriate to use several techniques in stages, because each technique has significant shortcomings. Assessment of the
more » ... ent of the techniques investigated is based on technical and conceptual criteria. The technical considerations include cost, accuracy and reliability, flexibility of use, ethical and political issues, and data validity—matters which receive at least passing attention in the literature. Conceptual considerations that are specifically related to public recreation include identifying individual's and community's needs, ascertaining the extent to which existing and potential users are being served, attempting to predict changes in leisure behaviour, and analysis of preferences for different types of recreation. The results indicate that for most purposes it will be necessary to use a combination of techniques in order to balance the weaknesses of one against the strengths of another. The relative importance of each criterion depends on the purposes and context of the study. It is suggested that in general the best strategy will be to choose techniques sequentially, starting with those that are most flexible and inexpensive. In this strategy the results of each stage should be used to investigate the options for the next stage, by defining the questions that need to be answered and the probable value of the results obtained by alternative techniques. The first stage should be use of secondary sources, documented data and informants, because of the low cost and flexibility of these techniques. Casual observation and dialectical scanning should be used next, because they are relatively inexpensive and flexible and have the capability of round [...]
doi:10.14288/1.0094409 fatcat:f5ehyam2hnhhlaygxw7na4zbce