Evaluating Recreation Services, 4th Ed.

Making Enlightened Decisions
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Dimensions:6 x 9
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Author(s): Karla Henderson
M. Deborah Bialeschki
Laurie P. Browne

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Evaluation is a process that each of us uses every day.

Professionals in any field of human services must have the means to access and assess information.

Having information is not enough, however, unless that information can be applied and used.

To organize and manage recreation services (i.e., all elements related to the various specialties in the field such as parks, tourism, sports, arts, therapeutic recreation, camping, event management), information is needed about people's preferences, needs, and behaviors and the programs, administrative structures, and resources that comprise the organizations.

To build a body of knowledge and to document the value of recreation, systematic processes are necessary. Evaluation and research can provide information that will enable "enlightened decisions."

Evaluating Recreation Services: Making Enlightened Decisions, Fourth Edition, is about systematic evaluation and research that focuses specifically on identifying explicit evaluation criteria or research questions, collecting evidence or data, and making judgments about the value or the worth of something applied to service improvement or knowledge development.

This book aims to provide a basic overview and working knowledge of procedures.

Knowing basic steps in evaluation research and having some familiarity with evaluation and research tools can help you to begin a process of lifelong learning about systematic inquiry.

Table of Contents: 

List of Tables and Figures  xiii
About the Authors xvii
Preface xix

UNIT ONE—CRITERIA: Foundations for Evaluation and Research

1.0 Introduction to Criteria

1.1 The Basic Question: What is Systematic Inquiry?
Systematic (Formal) Evaluations
Evaluation Today
From Ideas to Reality

1.2 Evaluation and Research: Viva la Difference

Differences in Objectives or Purposes
Sharing of Common Methods
A Comparison of Evaluation and Research
A Word About Theory
Using Literature Reviews
From Ideas to Reality

1.3 The Trilogy of Evaluation and Research: Criteria, Evidence, and Judgment
Putting It All Together
From Ideas to Reality

1.4 Why Evaluate: You Don’t Count if You Don’t Count
New Concepts in the 21st Century
Major Reasons for Evaluation
Other Reasons to Evaluate
Fear of Evaluation
When NOT to Evaluate
Knowing How to Evaluate
From Ideas to Reality

1.5 Approaches to Evaluation: Models and More
A Pseudo-Model: Intuitive Judgment
Professional Expert Judgment
Goal-Attainment Model
Logic Model
Goal-Free (Black Box) Model
Process or Systems Approach
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Models
From Ideas to Reality

1.6 Those Who Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail: The Five Ps of Evaluation
Evaluation Systems
Places (Areas and Facilities)
From Ideas to Reality

1.7 From Good to Great: Evaluating Program Quality and Participants
A Primer on Benefits and Outcomes
Overview of Program Quality Evaluation
An Example of Program Quality
Participant Outcomes
Five Ps Summary
From Ideas to Reality

1.8 A Time for Evaluation
Assessments and Planning
Formative and Process Evaluation
Summative and Product Evaluation
From Ideas to Reality
1.9 Designing Evaluation and Research Projects: Doing What You Gotta Do
Developing Plans for a Specific Evaluation Project
From Ideas to Reality 94

1.10 To Be or Not to Be: Competencies and the Art of Systematic Inquiry
Internal Versus External Evaluations
Developing Competencies
From Ideas to Reality

1.11 Doing the Right Thing: Political, Legal, Ethical, and Moral Issues
Political Issues
Legal Issues
Ethical Issues 
Moral Issues
A Word about Institutional Review Boards (IRB)
Avoiding Problems in Evaluation and Research
From Ideas to Reality

UNIT TWO—EVIDENCE: Data Collection

2.0 Introduction to Evidence

2.1 Qualitative and Quantitative Data: Choices to Make
Worldviews and Data
Data Types
Describing Differences in Data
Choosing Qualitative and/or Quantitative Data
Using Qualitative and Quantitative Data Together
From Ideas to Reality

2.2 Choosing Designs and Methods: The Big Picture
From Ideas to Reality
2.3 Trustworthiness: The Sine Qua Non of Data Collection
From Ideas to Reality

2.4 What Are the Chances? Choosing a Sample
Keys to Appropriate Sampling
Sampling Errors
Sampling Theory 
From Ideas to Reality

2.5 Choosing the Right Stuff: Measurement Instruments
Locating Existing Instruments
Standardized Measurements
Making Instrument Choices
From Ideas to Reality

2.6 On Your Own Again: Developing Measurement Instruments
The Process of Instrument Development
Contents of Questionnaires
Question Structures
Close-Ended Questions With Ordered (Forced) Choices and Unordered Response Choices
Wording Issues
Formats and Instrument Design
From Ideas to Reality

2.7 Surveys: The Winner of the Popularity Contest
Response Rate
Self-Administered Questionnaires
From Ideas to Reality

2.8 Surveys: Administering Questionnaires and Conducting Telephone Interviews
Pilot-Testing and Field Testing 
Implementing Questionnaires
Telephone Interviews
From Ideas to Reality

2.9 Surveys: Talking About Personal and Group Interviewing
Approaches to Interviewing
Content of Interviews
Conducting Interviews
Training and Supervising Interviewers
Problems Associated With Interviewing
Focus Interview Groups
From Ideas to Reality

2.10 Electronic Surveys and Mobile Devices: The Wave of the Present and the Future
Electronic Data Options
Design Issues for Electronic Data Collection
From Ideas to Reality

2.11 Observations: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever
Roles of Observers
Quantitative Observations
Professional Expert Judgments 
Qualitative Observations
From Ideas to Reality

2.12 Unobtrusive Methods: Oddball Approaches
Physical Evidence
Unobtrusive and Covert Observations
From Ideas to Reality

2.13 Experimental Designs: Focusing on Control and Interventions
Characteristics of Experimental Designs
Using True Experimental Designs
Other True Experiments
Quasi-Experimental Designs
Pre-Experimental Designs
Making Experimental Design Decisions
From Ideas to Reality

2.14 Specific Applications to Recreation: The More the Merrier
Case Studies
Devices to Measure Physical Activity
Economic Analysis Techniques
Consensus Techniques  
Miscellaneous Techniques
From Ideas to Reality

2.15 Triangulation or Mixed Modes: Drawing on all the Tools
Triangulated or Mixed-Mode Methods  
Triangulated Sources of Data  
Triangulation Using Multiple Data Collectors
Cautions in Using Triangulation 
From Ideas to Reality

2.16 People Aren’t All the Same: Considerations for Data Collection
People with Disabilities
Children and Youth
Older Adults
Cultural Groups
People With Low Socioeconomic Status
Participatory Inquiry
From Ideas to Reality


3.0 Introduction to Data Analysis

3.1 Data According to Measurement
Levels of Data
Describing Variables
Types of Analyses
From Ideas to Reality

3.2 Getting Your Data Together: Organizing and Coding  Quantitative Data
Using Codebooks
Other Coding Issues
From Ideas to Reality

3.3 Univariate Statistical Analyses: Describing What Is
Frequency Counts and Percentages
Central Tendency
Variations in Data Characteristics
From Ideas to Reality

3.4 The Word on Statistical Significance and Its Meanings
From Ideas to Reality

3.5 Inferential Statistics: The Plot Thickens
Parametric and Nonparametric Statistics
Association Among Variables
Tests of Differences between and among Groups
Making Decisions about Statistics
From Ideas to Reality

3.6 Hurray for Computers and Data Analyses
Examples of SPSS and Excel as Statistical Programs
Interpreting Statistics
Computer Use With Qualitative Data
Other Uses for the Computer in Data Collection and Analysis
From Ideas to Reality

3.7 Qualitative Data Analysis and Interpretation: Exploring the What, How, and Why
Organizing Qualitative Analysis
Techniques for Data Analysis
Making Interpretations
From Ideas to Reality

UNIT FOUR—JUDGMENT: Data Reporting 4.0 Introduction to Judgment

4.1 Using Visuals: A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words
From Ideas to Reality

4.2 Developing Conclusions and Recommendations: The Grand Finale
Writing Conclusions
Making Recommendations
From Ideas to Reality

4.3 Report Writing: Saving a Paper Trail
Executive Summary (Abstract)
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Project
Methods Section
Conclusions and Recommendations
General Observations About Evaluation Report Writing
From Ideas to Reality

4.4 Oral Presentations:  Telling the Tale
Planning the Oral Presentation
Using Visual Aids
Other Notes on Giving the Presentation
From Ideas to Reality

4.5 Evaluating Projects and Studies: Pitfalls and Problems
The Process of Evaluation and Research
Gremlins to Avoid
Thoughts About Research Projects
From Ideas to Reality

4.6 Using Evaluations and Research for Decision Making: Back to the Beginning
Conducting Projects to Influence Their Use
Encouraging Evaluation Use
From Ideas to Reality

Appendix A: Table of Random Numbers
Glossary of Terms

About the Author(s)

Karla Henderson

Dr. Karla A. Henderson is currently a professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University.

She teaches primarily graduate courses in the area of recreation and leisure theory and qualitative research methods. She has been on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Texas Woman's University.

Her Ph.D. was completed at the University of Minnesota. Karla has given numerous presentations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

She publishes regularly in a variety of journals such Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences, Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Women and Health, American Journal of Public Health, and Journal of Physical Activity and Aging and has written over 150 juried articles and 200 other scholarly pieces.

She has authored or co-authored several books including Both Gains and Gaps (with Bialeschki, Shaw, and Freysinger), Dimensions of Choice, Volunteers in Leisure (with Tedrick), Introduction to Leisure Services (with Sessoms), and Evaluation of Leisure Services (with Bialeschki). She was co-editor of Leisure Sciences from 2003-2009.

Dr. Henderson has contributed to the profession in a number of ways by serving as president of SPRE, president of the AAHPERD Research Consortium, president of the Academy of Leisure Sciences, and on numerous state, national, and international boards and committees.

She has been the recipient of the JB Nash Scholar Award, the Julian Smith Award, the NCRPS Special Citation, the ACA Honor Award, the SPRE Distinguished Colleague Award, the North Carolina Recreation and Park Society Honor Award, the SPRE Excellence in Teaching Award and the NRPA Roosevelt Excellence in Research Award.

When not working, Karla enjoys hiking in the Rocky Mountains, running and playing her trumpet in North Carolina, and reading and writing wherever she goes.

M. Deborah Bialeschki

M. Deborah Bialeschki, PhD, is currently senior researcher with the American Camp Association (ACA), where she is involved in research focused on youth development and the camp experience.

Prior to joining ACA, Deb was on the faculty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for 20 years until she retired in 2005 as professor emerita.

She has authored 12 books, collaborated on 17 book chapters, and contributed over 150 articles and presentations in national and international journals and conferences.

Deb has been editor of major research journals, has chaired national research conferences, and been elected to professional academies.

She received academic awards, including the Tanner Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from UNC-Chapel Hill and the SPRE Distinguished Colleague Award.

Deb’s research has focused on youth development through outdoor/camp experiences, staff training and development, and gender issues in leisure and outdoor recreation.

She contributes to her community through varied volunteer opportunities, plays in the community band, loves the outdoors, values her time with family and friends (including four-legged furry ones), and continues to search for the perfect s’more.

Laurie P. Browne

Laurie P. Browne, PhD, is the Director of Research for the American Camp Association, where she supports camps and other out-of-school time programs to evaluate their programs and communicate findings to their stakeholders.

Prior to joining ACA, Laurie was assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Hospitality, and Parks Management at California State University, Chico.

She taught classes related to recreation program planning, research methods, and business operations, and served as president of the California Park and Recreation Association’s Educators Section.

Laurie earned her PhD at the University of Utah in parks, recreation, and tourism and has published scholarship related to youth development, camp operations, and teaching and learning in higher education.

In her spare time, Laurie enjoys being outdoors with her favorite campers—her three kids, two dogs, and husband—in the fabulous mountains and desert of Utah.