Social research

Our social research explores community attitudes to and engagement with the built and natural environment, recreation and the social impacts of climate change.

Social research undertaken by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment falls into three main areas:

  • literature reviews or program and research reviews
  • primary research
  • guides for using research for program planning and evaluation.

Transformative Travel: Concepts and Market Opportunities for Protected Areas: a systematic quantitative literature review of transformative travel (tourism and recreation) in parks.

The focus was on health and wellness, spiritual, cultural/indigenous and volunteer travel including: markets, motivations, benefits and experiential factors that transform participants. Innovative transformative travel experiences for parks are discussed.

Community Attitudes to Renewable Energy in NSW: a report presenting the results of a survey conducted in 2014 on community awareness, knowledge and attitudes to renewable energy technologies across NSW.

Who Cares About the Environment?: a triennial survey measuring people's environmental attitudes, knowledge, skills and behaviour. The most recent main survey, the eighth in the series, was conducted in 2012.

NSW Community Attitudes to Heritage: As part of its commitment to protect, celebrate and share heritage in NSW, we worked with EY Sweeney to undertake a social research program, developed to enhance understanding of how heritage is perceived and valued by the people of NSW.

Domestic Visitation to NSW national parks in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018: biennial surveys providing an estimate of the number of domestic visits to NSW national parks, visitor profiles, participation in activities on park and satisfaction levels.

Guided tours with long-lasting benefits to parks and people: a survey and interviews to investigate visitor experiences in a special model of thematically connected guided tours in NSW national parks that are highly successful in attracting repeat participants. Who the participants are, how they benefit from participating in these tours over prolonged periods of time, how parks benefit from offering these tours, and what makes these tours successful are some of the areas explored.

Benefits of walking, hiking and running in parks: survey and GPS tracking research to study visitors frequenting national park trails for walking, hiking and running. What are the benefits of walking, hiking and running in parks, how can we measure these benefits (energy expenditure, in particular) using GPS tracking as an innovative approach, and what are the best ways to communicate such benefits to the public are some of the questions posed.

Interpretive media that enhance park visitor experiences: survey and GPS tracking research to compare the performance of modern technical media (multi-media tour, audio tour) with traditional media (signage, pamphlets) for park visitor interpretation.

Satisfying low-impact night-time wildlife tours: survey and experimental wildlife research to determine low-impact night-time viewing of wildlife coupled with high visitor satisfaction.

Guide to Using Research in Sustainability Programs: a guide to help project and program managers integrate research as a key part of best practice program management using an outcomes hierarchy planning approach.

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