System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC)

Reliability and Feasibility Measures

Published in: Journal of Physical Activity and Health, v. 3, suppl. 1, Feb. 2006, p. S208-S222

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Thomas L. McKenzie, Deborah A. Cohen, Amber Sehgal, Stephanie Williamson, Daniela Golinelli

Read More

Access further information on this document at www.humankinetics.com

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

BACKGROUND: New tools are needed to examine physical activity and the contexts in which it occurs. Community parks contribute to physical activity, but measuring activity and associated variables in them is challenging because area contexts change and the numbers and characteristics of users are highly variable. METHODS: The authors developed SOPARC (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) and tested its use by observing 16,244 individuals in 165 park areas. Reliabilities included 472 simultaneous measures by independent observers. RESULTS: Correlations between observers on number of area participants was 0.99 for female and male park users. Reliabilities (i.e., percent agreement) for age (89%, females; 85%, males), race/ethnic (80%, females; 82%, males), and activity level (80%, females; 88%, males) groupings met acceptable criteria. Reliabilities for area contexts (i.e., usable, accessible, supervised, organized, equipped) exceeded 94%. CONCLUSIONS: SOPARC is a reliable and feasible instrument for assessing physical activity and associated contextual data in community settings.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.