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CE #7
Safety Perceptions, Park Renovations and Park Use:
The Case of Spring Creek Park, Sunnyville, USA
Background: You are a director of the nonprofit organization “Better Communities through Parks and Recreation” whose mission is to contribute to the quality of life of residents in your community (Sunnyville, population 60,000) through providing community recreation opportunities. Recently, you, your staff, and about 50 volunteers completed an extensive project to clean up and renovate a treasured 20-acre local park named Spring Creek Park.
This renovation project was important to improve the half-mile multi-purpose recreational trail that surrounds the park perimeter, update the playground equipment, bathrooms, install lighting, and resurface the basketball and tennis courts, which were all outdated, worn and needed maintenance. You and your staff presume these improvements will bring residents back to Spring Creek Park for physical activity, recreation and play. However, after all this effort, you and your staff realize improvements don’t seem to have increased use by local residents. You are all disappointed and concerned your efforts haven’t yielded better outcomes. Thus, you decide to casually ask local residents for an explanation about why more people don’t seem to be using the newly improved Spring Creek Park. After asking about 10 people, you learn that these folks believe the park is perceived as unsafe, even after needed maintenance and improvements were completed.
The Task at Hand: You are not convinced this is the only reason why people are not using the park more now that it is renovated, and you want to better understand all of the potential reasons why more people are not using the new and improved Spring Creek Park. You decide to construct a brief survey to address this issue. First, you plan to ask them some descriptive questions to know some basic demographic information (i.e., age, gender, race, child/no child(ren) in the household, number of people in the household). Next, you plan to ask them about the safety perceptions with respect to the park.
Constructing your Survey Instrument:
1. You would like to gather some basic demographic information of your participants. That demographic information includes age, gender, race, child(ren)/no child in the household and number of people who live in the household.
a. Generate a survey question for each descriptive/demographic item listed above in #1.
b. What level of measurement is each question (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio)?
c. Provide a rationale for why your choice (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio).
2. You believe that perceptions of safety is a complex and multi-faceted concept and cannot be understood and measured by one survey question. You decide to construct a scale with at least 6 items to measure safety perceptions with respect to the park. You suggest the following scale
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements when you think of the park “Spring Creek”:
Neither disagree nor agree

Strongly Disagree



Strongly Agree







Please answer the following questions:
a. Generate 6 questions (a-f) for the scale that you are going to use above to measure safety perceptions with respect to the park.
b. What level of measurement is the scale (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio)?
c. Provide a rationale for why your choice (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio).
3. Reliability and Validity of Your Instrument
It is a high priority to have residents fill out this “park perceptions and interests) survey so you can better understand the issues and solve the problem of low park use at Spring Creek Park. In your planning, the consultants from the UIUC RST Department warn you that you need to first consider issues related to the reliability and validity of your survey questions and how the scale is constructed.
a. In terms of validity, please choose which approach (i.e., face validity, content validity, and criterion validity) you would choose and provide an explanation for your choice.
b. In terms of reliability, please choose which technique (i.e., test-retest, multiple forms, interrater) you would choose and provide an explanation for your choice.


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