Social Science Research Plan: Alaska Region
The Alaska Region of the National Park Service has entered into an agreement with the NPS Social Science Program and Texas A&M University to develop a social science needs assessment and research plan. This will be the first plan of its type for an entire region. Previous plans have focused on a single park or program, a group of parks, or the National Park Service as a whole. This plan will identify and prioritize needed social science studies in the Alaska Region and its individual parks.
Using input from workshops involving Alaska Region NPS staffs, partners, and other stakeholders, a social science research plan will be drafted for the region that includes 2 key components:
1) A Needs Assessment identifying important social science issues at the regional and park levels;
2) An Action Plan prioritizing research needs and describing steps to address the issues identified in the needs assessment.
The needs assessment identifies continuing and new social science research important to park management and planning. The assessment will be conducted using a series of facilitated workshops attended by NPS managers and selected partners and stakeholders.
Once research needs are identified, an Action Plan is outlined that is designed to address these needs. The Action Plan includes: 1) recommendations for high-priority research, and 2) organizational and knowledge-management steps needed to carry out this research. Examples of the first include regional household surveys, field experiments evaluating communication strategies, and studies of international visitors. Examples of the latter include the identification and organization of existing databases, staffing recommendations, and information-exchange strategies. Estimated costs for each of these components are often included in social science research plans.
Dr. Jim Gramann
Telephone: (979) 845-4920
Fax: (979) 845-0871