SOPARC Online App: System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities

kids playing softball in a park

SOPARC is a validated direct observation tool for assessing physical activity and associated people and environmental characteristics in park and recreation settings.

RAND researchers and colleagues have developed an online application that will simplify SOPARC participants' ability to measure park use. If you use the SOPARC Online App, you can easily download the data you enter, as well as easy-to-read bar graphs that summarize your results. Use of the tool is free.

User Guide to the SOPARC Online App

The full-text User Guide is available online; you can also click on the links below to go to specific parts of the guide.

  1. Purpose, Rationale, and Procedures
  2. Validity and Reliability
  3. Park Mapping Guide
  4. Observation Preparation
  5. SOPARC Online App (A step-by-step guide)
  6. Recording Procedures for Walking Paths
  7. Timing of Observations
  8. Keywords and Coding Conventions
  9. Data Graphing and Exporting
  10. Bibliography and References
  11. Appendix

How to Obtain a Training DVD

The website activelivingresearch.org provides information about how to order a training DVD to practice direct, systematic observation of parks.

Contact Us

If you find this tool useful, or if you have questions, email either Deborah Cohen or Terry Marsh.