Photograph presentation order and range effects in visual based outdoor recreation research
Visual based research methods, referring to the use of visual images to represent recreation resource conditions, are commonly used in outdoor recreation research to investigate appropriate levels of visitor use. Visual methods were developed to allow for the simulation of recreation resource conditions that would be difficult to describe using narrative methods. The research contained in this dissertation builds on previous research related to visual based methods of outdoor recreation. While data from visual based research methods can provide a strong empirical basis to support outdoor recreation management decision-making, visual research methods applied in this context are subject to several potential sources of measurement bias. These potential sources of bias include effects associated with photograph presentation order, and effects associated with the range of resource conditions depicted. These two biases are respectively referred to as order effect and range effect.
This dissertation examines the issues of order and range effect biases in visual based outdoor recreation research. In a lab setting, respondents were asked to rate a series of photographs of a recreation site in Rocky Mountain National Park in terms if the acceptability of the number of people at one time (PAOT) as depicted in the photographs.
In order to test for order effects, respondents were separated into six groups where photograph presentation order differed for each group. Results from qualitative and quantitative analyses indicate photograph presentation order significantly affected photograph acceptability ratings. In order to test for range effects, respondents were divided into seven groups where PAOT range differed for each group. Results from qualitative and quantitative analyses indicate range significantly affected photograph acceptability ratings.
Results from the investigations of order and range effects suggest a number of different principles that could be applied to future studies employing visual based methods. These principles are discussed along with future avenues of research that were uncovered through the course of the investigations of order and range effect biases.
Natural Resource Management;
0528: Natural Resource Management