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Interpretive Researchers Guide for Visitor Studies

An Interpretive Researchers Guide for Developing
Visitor Surveys and Questionnaire/Interview Designs
For Natural & Cultural Heritage Sites and Attractions.

Ten Units - 2.5 CEU Credits.
Tuition - $250.00

This is our newest advanced interpretation course - designed as an entry level training course in developing visitor surveys and questionnaires.  While most agencies do or want to do visitor studies, many don't have advanced training in interpretive research to develop, conduct and create scientifically valid studies and survey instruments.  This course will provide you with survey research techniques, strategies, survey instrument samples, and e-LIVE coaching to help you develop your visitor survey instruments and strategies as a course product.

Course Instructor:
Prof. John Veverka

- B.S and M.S in Heritage Interpretation - The Ohio State University
- Ph.D. program in Interpretation at Michigan State University.
- Research emphasis - Visitor Motivations for Selecting and Attending Interpretive Programs.
- Adjunct Professor Heritage Interpretation (summer heritage tourism institutes) North
 Carolina State University, New York State University.
- NAI Certified Interpretive Planner and Trainer
- NAI Fellow
- Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter (Canada).
- Author of several interpretive planning/training college text books.
- Publisher of InterpNEWS - the International Heritage Interpretation e-Magazine.
- 40 years of interpretive planning, training and visitor studies experience.

The Course Units

Unit One - Planning your evaluation project.  What do you want to (need to) know, why do
                  you need to know it, and how do you intend to use the information from the
                  research?  Do you have a hypothesis you are testing?

Unit Two - Collecting demographic data.

- Geographic data: zip codes, counties, cities, states, other geographical data
- Genders
- Age groups
- How you can use this information for program/services and marketing.
- How to present this survey block on a survey instrument.
- What demographic data can tell you.

Unit Three -  Developing an Observational Survey program and recording instrument.

- Visitor flows.
- Viewing times
- Parking lot surveys (who is getting out of the cars - age groups, family units, etc.)
- License plate survey (Counties).
- Behavior sampling methods.
- Validity and observational bias.

Unit Four - Conducting Interviews.

- Interview questions and design.
- Random sampling techniques (random numbers table).
- Random sampling biases.
- Interview locations.
- Engaging the potential interviewee
- Interview length
- Pre and post visit interviews.
- Interview recording instruments.

Unit Five - Developing your survey instruments/questionnaires.

- What do you want to know and how will you use the information collected?
- Developing survey questions.
- Writing open-ended questions.
- Analysis of responses from open-ended survey questions.
- Using Likert Scales (rate on a scale of 1 to 10...) on questionnaires.
- Using rating or preference check (pick your top three program topic preferences from this list    
 of 10).
- Placement of demographic data collection.

Unit Six - Survey strategy - when, where and to who will you ask to compete your

- Determining the number of questionnaires needed for drawing valid conclusions.
- Developing your sampling strategy.
  * Where will you ask visitors to complete your questionnaire?
  * What tools will you need (clipboard, pens, seating, etc.)?
  * How long should it take to complete your questionnaire?
  * What times/days will you do the sampling?
  * Using a Random Numbers table to help eliminate survey strategy biases.
  * Understanding the problems of "bias" in survey research.

Unit Seven - Pretesting your interview, questionnaire sampling strategy and instruments.
Pre-testing your visitor survey sampling process, locations and instruments will help point out any problems in doing the interviews or asking people to complete your questionnaire.  It will also point out any "bad" or confusing questions where you think a question means one thing and the visitors think it refers to something else.

Unit Eight - Let's look at the results and develop our Dichotomies.  This means that we want to see how our survey results may differ between different age groups, or between men and women, or between people for different regions or urban vs. rural visitors, etc.  The validity of this is part of the sample size of our survey which is why we think about this early on when planning the studies.

Unit Nine - Presenting your data - graphs, charts and tables, and presenting your results.  

Unit Ten - You have your visitor survey results - now what?

For our e-LIVE courses, all assignments from each unit will be sent to Prof. Veverka for reveiw and comments or coaching.  You can talk with John whenever you need to by phone, SKYPE, or e-mail.  John will be YOUR personal coach for this course and will be happy to help with your visitor studies research projects.

When will the course start?  You can start this course at any time and work at your own pace.  It is estimated that it will take about 25 hours to complete this course.  The cost of the 25 hours of training is $250.00 USD, which can be paid for by credit card or PayPal via the Pay Now button below.

If you're interested in this course and would like to enroll in it -  send an e-mail to John at: for a registration form.  If you have any questions at all feel free to ask.  Then return to this page to pay for the course tuition.

Prof. John Veverka
JVA Heritage Interpretation International Training Center
Interpretive Training Division
SKYPE: jvainterp

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