A Mixed Methods Evaluation of the Pinery Provincial Park Smartphone Application Pilot Project
MetadataShow full item record
Pinery Provincial Park is the first provincial park in the Ontario Parks system to launch a custom-built smartphone application. This application, titled “Explore Pinery,” was launched in January of 2016 and acts as an information dashboard for Pinery and encourages outreach and participation in citizen science activities. Despite the perceived success of this pilot project, it has not been systematically assessed or evaluated. A review of the literature shows that no comprehensive evaluation approach exists for unique and innovative projects such as this one. As such, a mixed methods evaluation was employed to holistically evaluate the Explore Pinery smartphone application. A qualitative analysis aimed to illuminate how Explore Pinery aids staff in achieving Pinery’s management objectives and a quantitative analysis aimed to understand how Explore Pinery influences visitor experiences. A thematic analysis illuminated a complex relationship between Explore Pinery and Pinery’s management objectives and that Explore Pinery encourages visitors to become environmentally responsible, dedicated park users. Regression analyses discovered that Explore Pinery does not detract from visitors’ nature connectedness, sense of place, and education levels. Attitude towards technology was revealed to be the most significant factor that determined if Explore Pinery positively impacted visitors’ experiences. Overall, Explore Pinery aids park staff in achieving on-going management objectives and best contributes to visitors with positive attitudes towards technology. Ultimately, park-specific smartphone applications are management tools that can be deployed by park managers to engage visitors in a modern world. This methodological approach can be used to evaluate future park-specific smartphone applications.
Cite this version of the work
Andrew MacDonald (2019). A Mixed Methods Evaluation of the Pinery Provincial Park Smartphone Application Pilot Project. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/14522