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Survey Execution: Guidelines for Survey Personnel

    Materials and Supplies You Will Need in the Field
  • Comment cards- enough to obtain eight completed comment cards each survey period.
  • Pencils - so visitors can complete the comment card.
  • Envelopes- one for each comment card (you can recycle these each sample day).
  • Copy of survey calendar- to verify when / where to survey and to tally the number of refusals and completed surveys.
  • Copy of "Guidelines for Survey Personnel"- instructions on field procedures.

    When and Where to Sample
    The sampling calendar you generated in the Survey Planning step identifies the places (recreation areas) and times (days) where comment card data will be collected in this survey. These places and times were selected proportional to expected visitation, based on the prior-year visitation amounts and distributions you reported in the Survey Planning step. As a result, places and times with heavier recreation use are more likely to appear in the sample. You can minimize the impact of the survey on project personnel by scheduling routine patrols to coincide with the sampling schedule.

    How Many Samples
    For the FY 2004 -2005 visitor satisfaction survey of a project, a total of 20 sampling periods (place x day designations) will be generated over a survey time frame of two months. You should obtain eight completed comment cards during each sampling period, a total of 160 completed comment cards for the survey.

    Recreation areas on your project that have high visitation relative to other recreation areas may be selected for sampling more than once on the same day. Where this occurs, the calendar will list that recreation area two or more times for the same date. You should plan to administer a full complement of eight comment cards in connection with each sample selection. If, for example, a particular recreation area comes up for sampling twice on the same day, you should administer a total of 16 comment cards (8 x 2) at that location on the designated sample day.

    How to Select Visitors for Sampling
    Recreation areas can usually be classified into one of four types. The method of administering surveys to visitors will differ for each type of recreation area, as follows:

    • Campgrounds: On the designated sampling day, check with the gate attendant to identify campers that are scheduled to leave the following day. Select and visit eight such campsites during the evening and obtain one completed survey from one individual present at each of the selected campsites.

    • Day-Use Areas: Obtain eight completed surveys distributed over as much of the day as is practical. The survey should be administered to parties who show signs of leaving the recreation area. Approach visitors in the parking lot or at their recreation site as they are preparing to end their visit.

    • Recreation Areas that have Separate Camping and Day-Use Sections: The eight surveys should be allocated proportional to anticipated camping and day-use departures. If the expected ratio of camping to day-use visitors on the designated sampling day is either unknown or known to be approximately 50:50, administer four surveys in the camping section as described above for "Campgrounds" and four surveys in the day-use section as described above for "Day-Use Areas." If the expected ratio of camping to day-use departures is known to be different from 50:50, administer the surveys in proportion to expected departures.

    • Campgrounds That Allow Day-Use: On the designated sampling day, administer surveys as described above for recreation areas that have separate camping and day-use sections. You will need to determine the status of potential survey recipients as day-users prior to administering the quota of day-use surveys.

    Visitors are generally organized into parties that recreate as a group. In selecting visitors to survey, you usually select parties from which one member age 16 or older is surveyed. The selection of a member of the party to interview will often be determined by which member of the party steps forward in response to your request for assistance. Responses to satisfaction surveys are known to vary by visitor age, gender, ethnicity, and activity. Consequently, you should attempt to achieve a sample that is representative of visitors with respect to these characteristics.

    Adjustments for Unforeseen Circumstances:

    • Short-term closure of recreation areas: If the recreation area is closed on the scheduled sampling date because of high water or other short-term events, reschedule the survey for the same day of the week as soon as the area re-opens.

    • Rain days: The need to reschedule a survey due to adverse weather conditions would typically apply only to day-use visitors. If adverse weather conditions keep all or nearly all visitors from using the recreation area on the designated sampling day, then reschedule the survey for that recreation area as follows:
      • If the survey was originally scheduled for a weekday, then reschedule it for the next available weekday.
      • If the survey was originally scheduled for a weekend day, then reschedule to the next available weekend day.

    • Inability to fill daily quota: If there are too few visitors available on the scheduled sampling day to obtain eight completed surveys, then fill out the remainder of the quota on the next available day as described above under "Rain Days."

    • Other unforeseen circumstances: Contact ERDC for help. See the section "Have Questions or Need Help" for contact information.

    Interacting with Visitors

    • Do this. Hand the visitor a comment card, pencil and envelope. Ask the visitor to complete the card, insert it into the envelope, and then hand it back you. In the process of administering the survey, you may encounter visitors who are reluctant to mark satisfaction items they would rate unfavorably. You should encourage candid responses to all questionnaire items.

    • Not this. Please do not leave the comment card with the visitor with instructions to drop it off later at a designated location. The response rate for this method of administering the comment card can be very low.

    Data You Need to Record
    The printed copy of the survey schedule has columns labeled "Actual Survey Date" "Completes" and "Refusals". In these columns you should record the date the survey actually took place, the number of surveys completed (usually eight) and the number of refusals encountered during the sampling period. The survey clerk should record appropriate values at the end of each survey period. This is the only data that the survey clerk must record. It will be requested during data entry. All other data will be recorded by the visitor on the customer comment card.


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Updated: June 21, 2004