Development of a research instrument for evaluating the visitor outcomes of face-to-face interpretation

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Publication details

Weiler, B & Ham, SH 2010, 'Development of a research instrument for evaluating the visitor outcomes of face-to-face interpretation', Visitor Studies, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 187-205.

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This article details the development, testing, and refinement of a set of indicators and a data collection instrument designed to be used to evaluate the outcomes of face-to-face interpretation across a range of heritage-based visitor settings and experiences. One of a suite of data collection instruments, the self-completing visitor questionnaire incorporates a set of indicators that (a) reflects the types of visitor outcomes that managers actually want from their interpretive programs; (b) is theoretically valid based on what is known about the potential cognitive, affective, and behavioural outcomes of interpretation, and (c) requires minimal effort, expense, and little or no social research expertise to collect and analyse the data, yet produces results with acceptable validity and reliability. While management and industry-driven, the research is underpinned by some thirty years of evaluation theory and practice, and is thus grounded in theories of psychology and human behaviour and methods from the social sciences and from applied program evaluation. This makes the final set of indicators an important contribution to the literature, and the questionnaire itself a useful and practical tool for those whose expertise and responsibilities lie primarily with managing and delivering rather than researching and evaluating the outcomes of interpretation.

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