Recreation Conflict - Norm Measurement
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Manning, R., S. Lawson, P. Newman, D. Laven and W. Valliere. 2002. "Methodological issues in measuring crowding-related norms in outdoor recreation." Leisure Sciences 24(3-4): 339-348.

This study explores some of the theoretical and methodological issues with measuring visitor norms in recreations. Because there are theoretical and methodological similarities between research on recreation-related norms and contingent valuation, three methodological issues are identified for study from the contingent valuation literature: question format, starting point bias, and information bias. Using data from a study of crowding norms at Arches National Park in 1998 and the Grand Canyon National Park in 1997, the relationship between these methodological issues and crowding-related norms is studied. Few statistically or substantively significant differences in crowding-related norms were found to be associated with these methodological issues. Study findings suggest that measures of crowding-related norms may be relatively "robust," and this may add weight to the "validity" of the theory and methods associated with crowding-related norms in outdoor recreation.

Manning, R., P. Newman, W. Valliere, B. Wang and S. Lawson. 2001. "Respondent self-assessment of research on crowding norms in outdoor recreation." Journal of Leisure Research 33(3): 251-271.

As norms are used are increasingly used to set recreation management standards, it is important to ensure the validity of norms research. Borrowing techniques developed in contingent valuation, a battery of of questions was used to measure respondent self-assessment of studies conducted in three U.S. National Parks. The results indicated that most respondents: 1) understood the questions being asked, 2) felt the photographs used in the studies realistically represented a range of use densities at the study sites, 3) were confident in their ability to report crowding norms, and 4) felt the National Park Service should use such data in formulating park management policy. Few differences in crowding norms were found between respondents who were confident in their answers and those who were less confident. These findings offer some support for the validity of measures of crowding norms in outdoor recreation. However, the issues of validity is complex and needs to be researched further in relation to recreation norms.

Manning, R., W. Valliere and B. Wang. 1999. "Crowding norms: Alternative measurement approaches." Leisure Sciences 21(2): 97-115.

This article compares three different issues related to norm-measurement in recreation research: numerical versus visual approach, long versus short question format, and evaluation dimension. Norms are increasingly being used to set management standards in recreation in attempts to meet recreation management objectives, ensure visitor satisfaction and minimize conflict. This study uses data drawn from a multi-phase program of research on crowding on the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, Maine. The different norm-measurement techniques can yield significant differences in visitor norms use of multiple measures and multiple evaluation dimensions, such as preference, acceptability and management action, may be warranted. The study findings also suggest that commonly used norm-measurement approaches may lead to crowing-related standards of quality that are overly conservative.

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