Publication - Research and analysis

Outdoor recreation - understanding the drivers of participation: research

This report presents findings from research into participation in outdoor recreation among adults in Scotland. The research explores drivers behind the observed increases in participation, as well variations across population groups, with a view to widening participation.

Outdoor recreation - understanding the drivers of participation: research
Annex 1: In-depth interview discussion guide

Annex 1: In-depth interview discussion guide

1. Introduction

  • Introduce self and Ipsos MORI
  • Introduce the research: This research has been commissioned by the Scottish Government and also involves input from NatureScot, which was formerly known as Scottish Natural Heritage, and is the public body responsible for protecting and promoting Scotland's natural heritage. The purpose of the research is to find out more about why people in Scotland take part in different types of outdoor leisure and recreation activities.
  • Explain that the interview will last around 45 minutes and we will give the participant £30 as a thank you for taking part (we can do this as a BACS transfer or an Amazon or high street voucher)
  • Provide reassurances of anonymity and confidentiality. Explain that no identifying information about individuals will be used in the reporting of the research.
  • Explain that participation in the research in entirely voluntary and if, at any time during or after the interview, they decide they no longer wish to take part, they can withdraw from the research and have their data deleted.
  • Explain that we hold personal data (like email address and phone number) securely and will not share it with anyone. The data we collect during the research will be securely deleted from our systems 3 months after the report is published
  • Our privacy notice that outlines more about how we use and store people's data, which we can resend if they haven't read it already.
  • No right or wrong answers, just keen to hear their experiences of using the outdoors.
  • Request permission to record interview.

2. Warm-up and lifestyle

To start us off, can you tell me a bit about where you live and who you live with…

  • Where you live, how long you've lived there
  • Who you live with?
    • If have children: How old are they?
    • Any pets?

And are you currently working?

  • If working probe: What kind of work do you do? Full time or part time? And are you currently working from home or traveling to your workplace?

And do you currently have any studying or caring responsibilities?

The topic of our discussion today is outdoor leisure and recreation activities in Scotland. Before we begin, can I just check, do you have a health condition or disability which can limit your ability to participate in outdoor activities?

  • Probe on type of condition (physical/mental) but stress that participant does not have to go into detail if they do not want to

Thanks. So, first of all can I ask, what comes to mind when you think about the outdoors and outdoor activities in Scotland?

  • Probe for positives and negatives

And, we'll talk about these in more detail later on but, would you say there are open or green spaces near to you that you can use for leisure and recreation?

  • How accessible are they?
  • And how would you rate their quality?
  • What makes a good quality open or green space?

3. Participation in outdoor recreation

Before we talk about things in a bit more detail, I just want to clarify a couple of the terms I will be using. When I say 'outdoors' this can mean mountains, moorland, forests, lochs, beaches and the coast, and also open spaces in towns and cities such as parks, woodlands and paths.

And by 'outdoor activities', I mean any non-motorised activity carried out outdoors for leisure purposes. This can include informal everyday activities, such as walking the dog or family outings, as well as a range of other types of activities such as cycling, hill walking and water sports.

To begin, can you tell me, in the last two weeks, how often have you taken visits to the outdoors for leisure and recreation in Scotland? This can include leisure trips taken from home or while away from home on holiday, provided the holiday was in Scotland.

  • What kinds of activities did you take part in? Anything else? Probe for different activities such as: walking (including dog walking), running, cycling/(mountain) biking, family outings, fishing, water sports, hill walking, nature watching, picnics, camping, sightseeing/visiting attractions including (local) parks
  • Is this a typical two weeks or do you normally do more or less?
  • Does it vary by time of year?

If haven't done anything in the last two weeks: How often, on average, would you say you take visits to the outdoors for leisure and recreation in Scotland?

  • Probe: Weekly? Monthly? Less often?
  • What kinds of activities have you taken part in? Anything else? Probe for different activities such as: walking (including dog walking), running, cycling/mountain biking, family outings, fishing, water sports, hill walking, nature watching, picnics, camping, sightseeing/visiting attractions including (local) parks
  • Does it vary by time of year?

All: And thinking back over the last year, are there any other outdoor activities that you've taken part in? This can include trips taken from home or while away from home on holiday, provided the holiday was in Scotland.

  • Probe for different activities such as: walking (including dog walking), running, cycling/mountain biking, family outings, fishing, water sports, hill walking, nature watching, picnics, camping, sightseeing/visiting attractions

4. Types and levels of engagement

I'd now like to ask you a bit more detail about the different types of outdoor activities you told me you take part in.

For each activity mentioned above (starting with the one they do most often) ask the questions below (note: not all questions will be relevant depending on activity type):

You mentioned [activity]. Can you tell me how long you have been doing this for?

  • Why did you start doing it? Or has it always been part of your routine? Probe fully and prompt if necessary: is there anything or anyone in particular that encouraged them to start doing this activity– for example. changes in circumstances/routines (e.g. in relation to children, house moves, job changes etc) changes in financial circumstances, social influences, media/advertising influences, personal/health/wellbeing reasons, increased opportunities to participate in the activity, accessibility/availability of outdoor spaces, concerns about the natural environment (e.g. may have led people to start walking/cycling more rather than using a car, or to undertake environmental volunteering), COVID etc

And, on average, how often do you do it?

Key Question: And has this changed in the: Last 12 months? Last 5 years or so? If changed, probe on main reasons for changes – e.g. Covid-19, changes in circumstances/routines (e.g. in relation to children, house moves, job changes etc), changes in financial circumstances, health/wellbeing reasons/motivations, influence of friends/family, more/fewer opportunities to participate in the activity, accessibility/availability of outdoor spaces, concerns about the natural environment etc

Does how frequently you do this activity change throughout the year at all?

  • If yes, probe on why – e.g.
    • External: weather/seasonal barriers, motivation/availability of other you do the activity with, activity not running all year, cost, time etc
    • Internal: personal motivation, personal/work commitment, physical ability, confidence

And who do you do this activity with - do you do it on your own or with other people? Or both?

  • If necessary: Is it part of an organised group/club or an informal activity?
  • If just do with others: Would you still do this activity without these people? Why/why not?

And where do you do this activity? Anywhere else?

  • How local is that to you? Do you need to travel to it? IF YES: is there anywhere closer to home you could do it?
  • Probe on accessibility and quality of these spaces

So, what would you say are the main reasons you do this activity? What do you hope to gain from doing it?

  • Probe fully on all reasons
  • If not covered: probe on both physical and mental health benefits
  • If relevant: And would you say your reasons for doing it are more for yourself or for the benefits of others you do it with or both?
  • And are you doing this activity primarily to experience benefits of being outdoors, benefits of being close to nature, benefits of being physically active or a combination of these?

And of all the reasons we've discussed for you doing this activity, which would you say is the main one?

  • And which are the two next important ones after that?

How do you feel before, during and after doing this activity?

  • What benefits do you feel you achieve from doing it?
    • Do you feel the benefits come more from being outdoors or doing the activity? Or a combination of both?
  • [if relevant] do others you do this activity with also benefit?

How important is it to you to do this activity (regularly)?

  • How do you feel if you are unable to do this activity or if you are unable to do it as much as you normally would?
  • How important is it to you to identify as a [runner, cyclist etc]

In general, how easy or difficult do you find it to do this activity? And what types of things make it easy/difficult?

  • Probe on any external or internal factors not already mentioned
    • Cover availability/accessibility of places to do it
    • Have you used any fitness apps to encourage you?
  • If not already mentioned: Do you find it easy or difficult to motivate yourself to do this activity?
  • If no: Does anyone/anything else help motivate you to do this activity?
  • You said you find it [easy/difficult]. Has this changed at all recently - has it become any easier/more difficult? If so, why?
  • And what do you think would make it [even] easier for you to do this activity?

And is this activity something that you would currently like to be doing [more of / more regularly]?

  • If yes: And what prevents you from doing so? Probe fully for extenal and internal barriers to increased participation.
    • Cover availability/accessibility of places to do it
  • If no: Why is that? Is there anything that puts you off doing it more often?

Repeat for all activities

Ask if participant does not do outdoor activities as often as weekly:

Would you currently like to be doing outdoor activities more often?

  • If yes: Are there any specific activities you would like to do [more often]?
  • And what prevents you from doing so? Probe fully for extenal and internal barriers to increased participation
    • Cover availability/accessibility of places to do it
  • If no: Why is that? Is there anything that puts you off doing it more often?

5. Future behaviours

Thanks. I'd now like to ask more broadly about how you think your participation in outdoor activities may change in the future.

First of all, when the coronavirus restrictions end and things start to return to normal, do you think it is likely you will take part in outdoor activities more or less often or will things stay the same?

  • What do you think you will do more/less of? Why is that?

And over the next 5 years or so, do you think you are likely to take part in outdoor activity more or less often than you do now or do you think it will stay much the same?

Prompt if necessary: for example. changes in circumstances/routines (e.g. in relation to children, house moves, job changes etc) changes in financial circumstances, social influences, media/advertising influences, personal/health/wellbeing reasons, increased opportunities to participate in the activity, accessibility/availability of outdoor spaces, concerns about the natural environment etc

  • If more: And would this be more of the activity/activities you are currently doing or different ones?
    • If different:
    • Why would you like to start doing that? What would the benefits be for you?
    • How likely do you think it is you'll be able to start doing this? Why/why not?
    • What would make it easier for you to start doing this? Probe on extenal and internal factors
    • And how likely do you think this is to happen? Why might it not happen?
    • If the same/less: And what, if anything, would encourage you to do more? What, if anything, discourages you from doing more? Probe on extenal and internal factors

If the same/less: And are there any outdoor activities that you are not currently doing that you would like to do or try in the future?

  • If no: Why is that?
  • If yes, for each activity they'd like to try:
    • Why would you like to start doing that? What would the benefits be for you?
    • How likely do you think it is you'll be able to start doing this? Why/why not?
    • What would make it easier for you to start doing this? Probe on extenal and internal factors

6. Close

That's all of the questions I wanted to ask you today. Before we finish off, is there anything else you would like to say or ask that we haven't covered?

Thank and close

Turn off recorder and take note of participants bank details for sending the incentives payment.

applife diary stage: For the next stage of the research we will be asking some of the people we've spoken to if they would be willing to use a mobile app, to complete an online diary over the course of two weeks to tell us a bit more about the different outdoor activities they take part in. If you were selected to take part in this stage we'd give you £40 as a thank you for using the app. Is this something you would be interested in?

If yes: That's great, thanks. We would provide more information on that closer to the time but for now can I check, do you have a mobile phone that can download and use apps?


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot