Approved by Faculty Senate.



Rationale for PER 393

(Evaluation in Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation)

University Studies Statistics Flag.

In the early days of its delivery, recreation services were offered on a prescriptive basis and recreation professionals decided what was best for participants. Recreation services were viewed as a way of keeping children out of trouble, quelling the discontent of the poor, and "Americanizing" new immigrants. With increasing acceptance of recreation as a public good, the service delivery changed to a smorgasbord of choices but they were still determined by the providers. Today, recreation, tourism and therapeutic recreation professionals provide leisure-related opportunities by responding to the articulated needs of the populations they serve. Professionals evaluate their constituencies to maintain public support and satisfaction (public recreation), make profits (tourism and commercial recreation), and assess pathways to appropriate leisure lifestyles (therapeutic recreation).

To determine the needs of each population, evaluative processes must be conducted on a regular basis and responded to when the results are found. In order to find these results, data must be gathered and analyzed. Therefore, statistical techniques must be applied to provide "snapshots" of a population’s needs and later compared to see how these needs have changed.

Evaluation in recreation, tourism and therapeutic recreation service can involve the tasks of demographic and psychographic profiling, and recreation needs assessment and satisfaction of clients. It may also include the determination of distribution channels for information and services, and address issues such as willingness-to-pay.

Given these requirements, PER 393 is designed, in part, for the understanding and use of statistics. This course will (Math 100 as a prerequisite) provide students with the understanding and application necessary to answer the questions that confront them.

The Mathematics/Statistical Flag criteria as met as follows:

  1. Practice the correct application of mathematical or statistical models that are appropriate to their prerequisite knowledge of these areas.
  2. PER 393 combines the learning and use of data gathering techniques with their subsequent analysis. Student will understand and apply statistical concepts that include univariate descriptive statistics, bivariate descriptive statistics and lower level inferential statistics.

  3. Make proper use of modern mathematical or statistical methods appropriate to their level of prerequisite knowledge, to include, if statistics are used in a substantive way, the use of a statistical package with graphics capability when appropriate.

Each student will be required to hand in biweekly homework assignments that use the statistical applications and models they learned. By loading a common data set and JMP onto each student’s laptop, they will be able to manipulate, analyze and present the data required. In addition, a major project will be undertaken with a cooperating agency. It will require that various groups take different research questions and find the answers sought by the agency. At the end of the semester they will present a written research report and oral presentation to the agency’s liaison using the data they have gathered. Previous projects have included the consumer profiling of various university sports, the recreation needs of campus students before a recreation center was designed, and the assessment of community segments for a public park and recreation organization.





Course Number: PER 393

Course Title: Evaluation in Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation

Credit Hours: 3

Grade: Grade Only

Prerequisite: Math 100


  1. Catalog Description


The procedures and applications of social science research and evaluation methods are applied to recreation settings. Course content includes evaluation designs, methods of data collection, statistical manipulation, interpretation and the presentation of the data. Emphasis is given to evaluation techniques used by recreation professionals.



2. Course Objectives (numbers after objectives refer to NRPA/AALR accreditation standards)


This course meets the USS mathematical/statistics flag course requirements for:

Flag directive 1: Essential use throughout semester of statistical models appropriate to their prerequisite knowledge

Flag directive 2: Use of statistical models will comprise a significant portion of a students’ final grade

Flag directive 3: That use of statistical models and their use will incorporate inferential content


Flag objective 1: Practice correct application of statistical methods appropriate to level of prerequisite knowledge

Flag objective 2: When statistics are used in a substantive way, the use of a statistical package with graphics capability


1. To learn an analytic and unbiased approach to the investigation of certain types of evaluation issues in recreation. (8.22, 8.27)

2. To explain the characteristics of recreation evaluation and research so that student can critically read and analyze previously published work in this area. (8.25, 8.27, 8.28)

3. To become knowledgeable about basic evaluation and research designs, especially those of survey research designs in recreation (8.22, 8.25, 8.27)

4. To understand the use of various data collection techniques, their applicability, merits and limitations. (8.22, 8.25, 8.27) Meets flag objective "a"

  1. Learn the skills of data presentation, statistical analysis, and interpretation. The student will analyze, present, and discuss data gathered from their research and homework assignments. (8.26) Meets flag objective "b"
  2. To become familiar with the use of a computer software package for the purposes of data
  3. analysis and presentation (8.26) Meets flag objective "b"

  4. To develop the ability to take a holistic view of an evaluation/research project and its relationship to existing research and knowledge. The student will read and critique completed research studies. (8.25, 8.27, 8.28, 8.35)




  1. Course Outline




a. Purposes of Evaluation

  1. Terminology, Definitions, and Concepts

c. Variables and their Measurement

d. Traversing SPSS – operation and data entry



a. Basic Program Planning and Design Model

b. Basic Evaluation Model

c. Frequencies, Class Intervals




a. Conducting Needs Assessments

b. Developing Goals and Objectives

c. Measures of Central Tendency




a. Design or Selection of Instrument Type

b. Sampling Techniques

c. Staffing and Directing Data Collection

d. Analysis and Reporting

e. Measures of Dispersion




a. Validity

b. Reliability

c. Usability

d. Graphical Description of Data



a. Basic Types of Data Collection Techniques

b. Criteria for Selection of Instrument Types

c. Triangulation Considerations

d. Pilot Tests and Expert Panel Reviews

e. The Normal Curve




  1. Purpose
  2. Types of Descriptive Research
  3. Pitfalls in Descriptive Methods

d. Relationships between Two Variables: Nominal and Ordinal Data




a. Mail Surveys and Cover Letters

b. On-site Surveys

c. Telephone Interviews

d. Description of Nominal Data: Association




a. Review of Poor Surveys and Poor Items

b. Description of Ordinal Data




a. Interview Procedures

b. Observations

c. Unobtrusive Measures

d. Description of Interval/Ratio Data: Scatter Plots and Linear Regression





a. Random samples and beyond

b. Sampling distributions





a. Bar Graphs

b. Pie Charts

c. Histograms

d. Frequency Polygons

  1. Scattergrams
  2. Estimation and Confidence Intervals








a. Front Pages

b. Introduction

c. Design

d. Findings and Conclusions

e. Recommendations

f. Appendices

g. Estimation and Confidence Intervals




a. Verbal Presentations of Reports

b. "z" & "t" Tests, Chi Square




a. "z" & "t" Tests, Chi Square


4. Basic Instruction Plan and Methods Used


The general format of the class will include lectures, presentations, in-class assignments, homework assignments, discussion, exams, weekly homework and an evaluation project conducted for an external client.


5. Course Requirements


  1. Students are responsible for their own notes and attendance is the only way to acquire this information. Supplemental and reading material distributed in class will not be distributed at any other time. Students should make their own arrangements to secure notes and information they miss.
  2. Students should notify the instructor when personal situations occur. The end of the semester is too late! The instructor will attempt to alleviate academic problems caused by these situations.
  3. Students are permitted three unexcused absences. These absences are intended for special situations such as minor illnesses, interviews, necessary trips, religious holidays, etc. Officially sanctioned college activities (athletics and competing academic duties), court dates, family situations, major illnesses are all permissible abscences.

Examination/Assignment Policy

1. Makeup tests are given under extraordinary circumstances based documentation provided.

  1. Copying examinations and papers, or from books or articles not placed in quotation marks and attributed to their author, are considered unethical practices. If such practice occurs, the instructor will assign a grade of zero.

3. Reward will be given to initiative & creativity over pedantic thinking. It is expected that all work will be representative of the highest standard of which the student is capable.

4. Written communication skills are critically important. It is essential that students' proofread their work. For this reason, assignments will be graded for content before one percentage point is subtracted for each written inaccuracy.

5. Late assignments are not accepted without bona fide documentation. All assignments are due

before class starts on the due date. Late assignments will be reduced one letter grade for every

24-hour period beyond the due time and date.

6. Three tests will be conducted in class with the third and final test being comprehensive.

  1. Extra credit and resubmission of graded assignments is not permitted. Students may submit

assignments for suggestions before the due date – as often as they want.


Group Research Project

Groups of four students will be responsible for completing an entire research project that is defined by an outside client. On previous occasions the client has been an athletic director, a campus recreation supervisor, or a community recreation specialist. Each group will be responsible for following the Evaluation Model outlined in class. These steps include:

a) determining goals for the evaluation project;

b) designing an instrument with which to collect data;

c) collecting data from a sample of program participants;

d) entering and analyzing data using SPSS and content analysis;

e) interpreting the data output; and

f) completing a written and verbal report of the results.

Each group member is responsible for cooperating with and contributing to the GROUP project. The scoring for the project is divided into three parts: Group project, peer evaluation, group presentation

Meets directive #1

Meets directive #2

Meets directive #3

Meets objective a:

Meets objective b:

Individual Presentation

Each student will make an individual presentation. The presentation will be no more than seven (7) minutes in duration. This presentation will be based on a research article that relates to the leisure field in some way. Your article will need prior approval of the course instructor. The article must be more recent than December of 1999, and can be from any of these sources: Therapeutic Recreation Journal, Journal of Leisure Research, Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Travel Research

Presentation Outline

    1. A explanation of the topic or issue in question
    2. The subjects or objects being researched (sample, if any)
    3. The statistical manipulations, findings and conclusions
    4. Implications of the research

Presentation Requirements

    1. A one page handout for each student that outlines the four points above
    2. At least one graphic display used during the presentation
    3. Professional dress required
    4. The date of your presentation will be determined by lottery


Statistics Homework

Every second week, students will analyze their data using JMP and then answer the questions posed. The analysis will relate to the statistical topic area recently covered, and the homework questions will ask for conclusions and implications based on the findings they produce.

Meets directive 1:

Meets directive 2:

Meets directive 3:

Meets objective a:

Meets objective b:

6. Means of Evaluation

Grading Scale

A = 90 - 100%

B = 80 - 89.9%

C = 70 - 79.9%

D = 60 - 69.9%

F = 0 - 59.9%

Points Accumulation

Your Possible

Assignment Points Points _________

Test One _____ 100

Test Two _____ 100

Final _____ 150

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Group Project _____ 150

Group Presentation _____ 30

Group Participation _____ 30

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Article Presentation _____ 30

bullet- - - - - - - - - - -

Statistics Homework _____ 200

Total Points ____ 590




7. Course Texts

Required Textbooks/Materials:

Mitra, A. & Lankford, S. (1999). Research Methods in Park, Recreation, and Leisure Services. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing.



Supplemental Texts:

Henderson, K (1991). Dimensions of Choice: A Qualitative Approach to Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Research. State College, PA: Venture Publishing.

Jackson, E. & Burton, T. (1999). Leisure Studies. State College, PA: Venture Publishing.

Riddick, C. & Russell, R. (1999). Evaluative Research in Recreation, Park and Sports Settings. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing.