Evaluating Research Data

The first step in using research information to create a leisure and recreation plan is to go back to the draft goals and objectives developed in the pre-planning phase of a project. These identify the desired outcomes of the planning process, along with political objectives and imperatives and social values and priorities. They may also incorporate elements of pre-existing policies and related policies such as community health and well-being, specific populations, transport, economic and social development and the environment. These policies should have been reviewed and revised in the report review process (refer Chapter 6) and through engagement initiatives during the overall planning process. The analysis of the goals, objectives and applicable policies should be used to evaluate the relative importance of the findings of each research component.

The principles of research triangulation should be applied to determine the research data that is most likely to guide a leisure and recreation plan. Triangulation essentially involves the use of several, usually complementary, research approaches that view the one set of information from different perspectives so as to get a better bearing on the core issues to be resolved (Cresswell & Plano Clark 2011; Riddick & Russell 2015;Veal 201 l).The triangulation approach used extensively by the authors interrogates the findings of each pre-planning and planning research component using sets of specific topic-related questions. The findings are then cross-referenced to identify emerging commonalities and frequently identified responses. Examples of the questions relating to the research planning components are listed below.The questions are not exhaustive, and planners should prepare their own set based on what their plan is trying to achieve.

Demographics

  • • What age groups are (i) growing or (ii) declining and may therefore need different levels of provision or alternate provision?
  • • Are their new or growing cultural groups in the community that will need provision?
  • • Are there substantial numbers of single parents, lone householders, families in rental properties or families with one or no cars and what facilities, programs and services may be needed to ensure equity of opportunity for them?
  • • Are there socio-economic groups who are likely to need special attention or alternately can be left to their own devices and resources?
  • • How does the distribution of the population match the distribution of leisure and recreation programs, facilities and services? Are there geographic areas with no provision or potentially, excessive provision levels?

Existing provision

  • • Does an inventory indicate gaps in the mix of leisure and recreation programs, facilities and services?
  • • Are there gaps in the distribution of leisure and recreation programs, facilities and services?
  • • Does the existing provision reflect modern design principles, can it be upgraded or should new, replacement provision be made?
  • • Is there excessive provision of some opportunities?
  • • Is the quality of the existing provision of an adequate and safe standard?
  • • To what extent does the existing provision match the needs identified through the consultations and where are the biggest gaps or disparities?

Report review

  • • What are the contributions from the review of policies and practices from the planning organisation, the project’s stakeholders and other community organisations?
  • • How do these contributions impact on programs, facilities and services?
  • • Is there scope for collaboration with stakeholders and other community organisations to improve the delivery of programs, facilities and services?
  • • Are there issues from the planning project that contribute to other organisations’ operations?

Leisure and recreation participation

  • • Are there leisure and recreation trends that have not been responded to in the past that are disadvantaging some individuals or groups in the community?
  • • What provision may be needed in order to reflect wider provision trends and standards of provision?
  • • What programs, facilities and services may need upgrading, changing or adding to better reflect trends?
 
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