Publication - Research and analysis

Value of bathing waters and influence of bathing water quality: technical annex

Published: 9 Aug 2018
Directorate:
Environment and Forestry Directorate
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
9781787811317

Research aimed to provide socio-economic understanding of the value of Scottish bathing waters and the influence of bathing water quality (BWQ) to bathers, beach users and to the national and local economies.

Value of bathing waters and influence of bathing water quality: technical annex
Annex 7: Focus group schedules

Annex 7: Focus group schedules

A-7.1 Community focus group schedule

Scottish Government – The Value of Bathing Waters and the Influence of Bathing Water Quality

Gullane, 17 October 2017

8 – 10 participants

Length of focus group: 2 hours

Recording: audio recorder and manual notes.

The interview schedule goes through a sequence of questions. Where we are seeking to get specific information from participants, we have added prompts that can be used if the topic does not emerge spontaneously from the questions.

All materials needed for the session are marked * and listed at the end of the schedule.

Set Up

Put Participants List, name badges, sets of 1 Registration Form + 1 Consent Form and at least 3 pens at entrance. One person to be at entrance to greet arrivals, get them to sign in and give out badges, forms for completion and sweets for ice-breaker.

Put audio recorder in a central place where it can be checked/turned on and off by the Recorder. The Recorder will also keep materials for use during the session in order of use.

Registration*

On arrival, participants sign the Participants List* and are given a name badge* to write their first names (so that everyone’s names are visible to all).

All participants are given a Registration Form* and a Consent Form* to complete before the start of the session.

Ask each participant to take two sweets from the bowl* – and not to eat them for the moment.

I. Introduction (10-15 mins)

Hello, my name is Paula Orr and this is my colleague Isabel Cotton. We both work for Collingwood Environmental Planning.

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in this focus group discussion. We are carrying out research on behalf of the Scottish Government about what is important to people about beaches in Scotland. We are interested in the benefits that beaches provide, both to the visitors and to the local communities around the beaches. We are also interested in where people get information about the beach.

The purpose of today’s session is to get your views. There are no right answers and no-one’s views are more important so please do say what you think about the topics. We have organised the conversation to make sure that everyone gets plenty of chances to speak.

We will be recording the conversation and will transcribe it after this session so that we have written notes. Both Isabel and I will also take some notes. Our written notes and the audio record will be held at CEP’s head office in London and will not be shared with any outside person. Any answer you give will be treated in confidence in accordance with the Code of Conduct of the Market Research Society. This means that anything you say is used for research purposes only and will not be attributed to you personally.

Let’s start by getting to know who is in the group. I’d like you to introduce yourselves, using a game called Sweet Confessions. [Show the Icebreaker Key* to what each colour means: Red = Favourite hobby; Green = Favourite place on earth; Yellow = Weirdest food you have eaten; Blue = Wildcard (tell us anything about yourself. Start the game]

Thank you very much. So now that we know some new information about each other, we are going to start the conversation about beaches and bathing water. We are going to have some wider discussions about beaches in general, but we will mainly focus on Gullane.

II. General Impressions Of Beaches (30 mins)

1) What are the main ways that beaches are part of your life?

Prompts:

  • Physical activities: walking/dog walking, water-based activities (swimming, surfing);
  • Social relations: being with family, friends, other people;
  • Feelings of attachment; and
  • Sense of place, spirituality, inspiration.

2) How regularly do you visit Gullane beach in the bathing season, that is, between June and September 15th?

Prompt:

  • Daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, less (how regularly?), not at all
  • Why? / Why not?

3) In general, how regularly do you visit other beaches in Scotland during the bathing season?

Prompt:

  • Daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, less (how regularly?), not at all
  • Why? / Why not?

4) What are the things you consider when choosing a beach to visit during the bathing season?

[Wait for participants to bring up topics and probe for each: why is this important? Check if the following topics have come up and if not, prompt].

  • Distance you have to travel to the beach from your home/where you are staying;
  • Presence of a lifeguard;
  • Other activities near the beach, such as shops and amusements;
  • Visiting a beach which is not crowded;
  • Enjoying the natural environment;
  • Water quality;
  • Cleanliness of the beach;
  • Being able to see wildlife on the beach;
  • Walking opportunities;
  • Relaxation;
  • Sports you can participate in on the beach;
  • Availability of cafes and restaurants;
  • Car parking;
  • Safe for swimming; and
  • Surf conditions.

[If the participants are struggling to think of factors or are very focused on their own beach, pass round the Beach Photos* to encourage them to think of other topics: Here are some photos of beaches which may help you think of the kinds of things you consider when choosing a beach to visit.]

5) Which are the top 3 factors you consider? [Note: here we are not trying to replicate the online survey. The emphasis will be on understanding why people are prioritising the factors.]

  • Why those factors?
  • Does water quality or beach cleanliness matter to you? Why/why not?
  • Do the factors change if you are thinking about visiting the beach outside the bathing season?

6) Are these also the factors that influence you when deciding to come to Gullane beach during the swimming season? If not, which factors influence your decision to come to Gullane beach?

[If participants don’t spontaneously mention WQ and beach cleanliness, ask]:

  • How important is Water Quality as a factor in deciding to come to Gullane Beach?
  • How important is the cleanliness of the beach?]

7) Can we just see which of you go right into the water when you are at the beach during the bathing season (i.e. get your head wet) – can we have a show of hands? [Recorder notes names of people who go into the water]

III. Uses / Benefits Of The Beach (20 mins)

8) What does Gullane beach mean to you?

Prompts:

  • To what extent do you feel attached to this place?
  • To what extent do you feel it is “your” beach?
  • To what extent do you feel proud / lucky to be living near Gullane beach?

9) For those of you who visit Gullane beach, how does visiting the beach make you feel?

Prompts:

  • Is this an environment where you can rest and recover your strength and focus?
  • Is it a place where you can relax and think about what interests you without everyday demands?
  • Is it somewhere you find things to discover and be curious about?
  • Is it somewhere you feel free to move around and do what you like?

10) What does the local community get from the beach? [Ask participants to explain / give examples of what the things they mention.)

Prompts:

  • Health?
  • Identity / culture?
  • Economic benefits?

11) To what extent would you say these benefits are affected by the quality of the water?

IV. Water Quality (10 mins)

12) How good would you rate the water quality at Gullane beach?

13) What characteristics of the beach and the sea are important to you when judging water quality? Why?

14) What did you take into account when making your judgement about the water quality at the beach?

Prompts:

  • How many people are using the beach? Why?
  • Signs / information? Why?
  • Presence of litter? Why?
  • Water colour? Why?

15) How far does the water quality at Gullane beach matter to you?

Why / why not?

16) Have you, a family member or a friend experienced an upset stomach or ear ache in the past that you think was caused by going in the water at Gullane beach?

V. Information (15 mins)

17) If you are going to visit a different beach, what information do you look for when deciding when to go to the beach and which beach to go to? Why - what is it important for you to know?

Prompts:

  • Safety;
  • Water quality; and / or
  • Rules (e.g. no dogs).

18) What information have you seen about the water quality at Gullane beach?

19) What do you most remember about that information?

I am going to show you some signs about water quality. [Project or pass round *signs with BW status from “advice against bathing” through to “excellent”]

20) Have you seen signs like this at Gullane beach? If so, how did they make you feel?

21) If you haven’t seen signs like these, would you know where to look for information about water quality at Gullane beach?

22) Who do you trust to give you information about water quality and why?

At this point – if it has not come up earlier we will tell the participants what the water quality is at their local beach and how bathing water quality is assessed. You may be interested to know that the bathing water at Gullane beach was rated ‘Excellent’ for the 2016/17 bathing season and the 2015/16 bathing season. Here is some information about water quality and its assessment at Gullane beach*.

VI. Scenarios Of Change (30 mins)

Now we are going to look at some imaginary future situations in order to explore changes that might influence your use and experience of the beach. Classifications of water quality do change, for example at Troon on the west coast, water quality was rated ‘Good’ in 2015/16 and ‘Sufficient’ in 2016/17; Southerness in Dumfries was rated ‘Good’ in 2015/16 and ‘Excellent’ in 2016/17.

First let’s imagine it is 20 years in the future and there is real-time information about water quality here and at four other beaches in Scotland (Nairn, Troon, Portobello and Ayr) [Project or pass round *set of photos of the other beaches in this study and a map of locations.] At this time in the future, the WQ at Gullane beach is “excellent” and this information is shown on a board at the beach. This compares well with the other beaches [Pass round *Alternative 1 table with WQ symbols for the 5 beaches].

23) In what ways, if at all, does this situation change what you do: does it open up new possibilities? Does it create risks or problems?

Prompt:

  • Do you come to the beach more or less often?
  • Come the same amount but enjoy it less or more?
  • Do different activities? Take up swimming or a more water-based activity?

24) How does this scenario make you feel about the beach? In what ways, if at all, does it change how you feel about the beach?

Prompt:

  • Does it make you more or less relaxed/happy when you think about or are at the beach?
  • Does it make you more or less likely to suggest that others come to the beach?
  • Does it change any pride you feel in your local area?

25) In what ways does this situation change your community? Does it open up new possibilities? Does it create risks or problems?

Prompt: What about economic opportunities and risks?

Now we will imagine that we are at the same time in the future and have access to real-time information about water quality here and at the other four beaches. Water quality at Gullane beach is poor. It compares badly with the other beaches. [Pass round *Alternative 2 table with WQ symbols for each of the 5 beaches].

26) How does this scenario make you feel about Gullane beach? In what ways, if at all, does it change how you feel about the beach?

Prompt:

  • Does it make you more or less sad/relaxed when visiting or thinking about the beach?
  • Does it make you more or less likely to recommend the beach to a friend?
  • Does it change any sense of pride in the local area?

27) In what ways, if at all, does this situation change what you do?

Do you:

  • Still come and enjoy the beach just as much?
  • Come but enjoy less?
  • Go somewhere else?
  • Do something else altogether, stay at home?
  • Get involved in campaigning to clean up the water?

28) In what ways, if at all, is your life negatively affected? Can you see the change having any positive effects?

29) In what ways does this situation change your community? What aspects or activities are most affected? How does it make you feel about your local community?

Prompt: What about economic impacts?

VII. Finish And Close (5 mins)

We’ve reached the end of the session.

Before we end, are there any important topics that you feel we haven’t talked about? Anything that you want to add on topics that we did discuss?

We have had a really interesting conversation about beaches, and bathing water and the extent and ways in which they are important to you. If you would like to find out more about bathing water quality and beach classification in Scotland, we recommend you look at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency website: http://apps.sepa.org.uk/bathingwaters/

We will now get the audio recording of the conversation transcribed. We will be reporting to the Scottish Government on this research before the end of the year and we are very glad to have had your contributions. Thank you very much for making time to join this discussion.

Please complete this Feedback Form to help us improve the way the session works and collect your ‘thank you’ payments on your way out.

[Hand out Feedback Forms. Ask participants to hand in Feedback Forms and sign Receipt Form* for payments]

*List Of Materials

  • Participants List;
  • Stick-on name badges;
  • Registration Form (x 10);
  • Consent Form (x 10);
  • Bowl with wrapped sweets (4 different colours);
  • Icebreaker Key;
  • Set of photos of Scottish beaches with different features;
  • Card with 4 BWQ signs + card with ‘Advice against bathing’ sign;
  • Beach profile (x 10);
  • Set of photos of beaches in study;
  • Cards with 2 different Alternative Scenarios;
  • Feedback Form (x 10); and
  • Payment Receipt Form.

A-7.2 Business focus group schedule

Scottish Government – The Value of Bathing Waters and the Influence of Bathing Water Quality

Nairn, 16 October 2017

8 – 10 participants

Length of focus group: 2 hours

Recording: audio recorder and manual notes.

The interview schedule goes through a sequence of questions. Where we are seeking to get particular feedback from participants, we have added prompts that can be used if the topic does not emerge spontaneously from the questions.

All materials needed for the session are marked * and listed at the end of the schedule.

Set Up

Put Participants List, name badges, sets of 1 Registration Form + 1 Consent Form and at least 3 pens at entrance. One person to be at entrance to greet arrivals, get them to sign in and give out badges, forms for completion and sweets for ice-breaker.

Put audio recorder in a central place where it can be checked/turned on and off by the Recorder. The Recorder will also keep materials for use during the session in order of use.

Registration

On arrival, participants sign the Participants List* and are given a name badge* to write their first names (so that everyone’s names are visible to all).

All participants are given a Registration Form* and a Consent Form* to complete before the start of the session.

The Recorder will note names and genders.

Ask each participant to take two sweets from the bowl* – and not to eat them for the moment.

I. Introduction (10 mins)

Hello, my name is Paula Orr and this is my colleague Isabel Cotton. We both work for Collingwood Environmental Planning.

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in this focus group discussion. We are carrying out research on behalf of the Scottish Government about what is important to people about beaches in Scotland. We are interested in the benefits that beaches provide, both to the visitors and to the local communities around the beaches. We are also interested in where people get information about the beach.

The purpose of today’s session is to get the views of a range of local businesses on these topics. There are no right answers and no views are more important than others so please do say what you think. We have organised the conversation to make sure that everyone gets plenty of chance to speak. We will be recording the conversation and will transcribe it after this session so that we have written notes. Both Isabel and I will also take some notes. Our written notes and the audio record will be held at CEP’s head office in London and will not be shared with any outside person. Any answer you give will be treated in confidence in accordance with the Code of Conduct of the Market Research Society. This means that anything you say is used for research purposes only and will not be attributed to you personally.

Let’s start by getting to know who is in the group. I’d like you to introduce yourselves, using a game called Sweet Confessions. [Show the Icebreaker Key* to what each colour means: Red = Favourite hobby; Green = Favourite place on earth; Yellow = Weirdest food you have eaten; Blue = Wildcard (tell us anything about yourself. Start the game]

Thank you very much. So now that we know some new information about each other, we are going to start the conversation about beaches and bathing water. We will start with your own use of and relationship with beaches and bathing water quality and then move on to the relationship between bathing water quality in Nairn, your own businesses and the local economy.

II. General Impressions Of Beaches (20 mins)

1) What are the main ways that beaches are part of your life?

Prompts:

  • Physical activities: walking/dog walking, water-based activities (swimming, surfing);
  • Social relations: being with family, friends, other people;
  • Feelings of attachment; and / or

Sense of place, spirituality, inspiration .

2) How regularly do you visit Nairn beach in the bathing season, that is, between June and September 15th?

Prompt:

  • Daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, less (how regularly?), not at all
  • Why? / Why not?

3) In general, how regularly do you visit other beaches in Scotland during the bathing season?

Prompt:

  • Daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, less (how regularly?), not at all
  • Why? / Why not?

III. Uses / Benefits Of The Beach (30 mins)

4) What does the beach and sea at Nairn beach mean to you personally?

Prompts:

  • To what extent do you feel attached to this place?
  • To what extent do you feel it is “your” beach?
  • To what extent do you feel proud / lucky to be living near Nairn beach?

5) What does the sea and beach at Nairn mean for your business? How, if at all, does being near to Nairn beach and the sea affect the activities, character and ways of working of your business?

Prompts:

  • Business focus / activities – what are the characteristics of the beach and sea at Nairn that are required for these business activities (e.g. tourism, leisure, sports);
  • Products – using resources from the sea; and / or
  • Image.

6) To what extent do the beach and sea attract visitors to Nairn?

Prompts:

  • Beauty [ask people to say what makes the beach and sea beautiful];
  • Opportunities for recreation [ask people say what kinds of recreational activities are most valued by visitors and make a distinction between water based activities and others]; and / or
  • Facilities [ask which facilities are most important to visitors].

7) I’d like to explore a little more any benefits that your companies get from people visiting the beach and going into the sea:

Prompts:

  • What would you say were the benefits to your company of people from outside the area visiting the beach?
  • Are there any negative impacts on your business of people visiting the beach?
  • How does water quality contribute to these positive and negative impacts of visits to the beach?

8) What does the local community get from the beach? [Ask participants to explain / give examples of what the things they mention]

Prompts:

  • Health?
  • Identity / culture?
  • Economic benefits?

9) To what extent would you say these benefits are affected by the quality of the water?

IV. Bathing Water Quality (10 - 15 mins)

10) How would you rate the bathing water quality at Nairn beach?

11) What characteristics of the beach and the sea are important to you when judging water quality? Why?

12) Thinking about your judgement of the bathing water quality at Nairn, what did you take into account in this case?

Prompts:

  • How many people use the beach? Why?
  • Signs / information? Why?
  • Presence of litter? Why?
  • Water colour? Why?

13) To what extent does the bathing water quality at Nairn beach matter to you personally?

Why / why not?

14) To what extent does the bathing water quality at Nairn matter to your business?

15) Have you, a family member or a friend experienced an upset stomach or ear ache in the past that you think was caused by going in the water at Nairn beach?

V. Information (15 mins)

16) If you are going to visit a different beach, what information do you look for when deciding when to go to the beach and which beach to go to? Why - what is it important for you to know?

Prompts:

  • Safety;
  • Water quality; and / or
  • Rules (e.g. no dogs).

17) What information have you seen about the water quality at Nairn beach?

18) What do you most remember about that information?

I am going to show you some signs about water quality. [Project or pass round *signs with BW status from “advice against bathing” through to “excellent”]

19) Have you seen signs like this at Nairn beach? How, if at all, do you think these signs at Nairn beach would (or do) impact on your business?

20) If you haven’t seen signs like these, would you know where to look for information about bathing water quality at Nairn beach?

21) Who do you trust to give you information about water quality and why?

At this point – if it has not come up earlier we will tell the participants what the water quality is at their local beach and how bathing water quality is assessed. You may be interested to know that the bathing water at Nairn beach was rated ‘Poor’ for the 2016/17 bathing season and the 2015/16 bathing season. Here is some information about water quality and its assessment at Nairn beach*.

VI. Scenarios Of Change (30 mins)

Now we are going to look at some imaginary future situations in order to explore changes that might influence the use and benefits of Nairn beach. Classifications of water quality do change, for example at Troon on the west coast, water quality was rated ‘Good’ in 2015/16 and ‘Sufficient’ in 2016/17; Southerness in Dumfries was rated ‘Good’ in 2015/16 and ‘Excellent’ in 2016/17.

First let’s imagine it is 20 years in the future and there is real-time information about water quality here and at four other beaches in Scotland (Gullane, Troon, Portobello and Ayr) [Project or pass round *set of photos of the other beaches in this study and a map of locations]. At this time in the future, the WQ at Nairn beach is rated “excellent” and this information is shown on a board at the beach. This compares well with the other beaches [Pass round *Alternative 1 table with WQ symbols for the 5 beaches].

22) In what ways, if at all, does this situation change conditions for your business: does it open up new possibilities? Does it create risks or problems?

Prompts:

  • How does it affect your business activities?
  • How does it affect how customers or others see your business?
  • How does it affect your own or your staff’s wellbeing?

23) In what ways does this situation change your community and the local economy? Does it open up new possibilities? Does it create risks or problems?

Prompt: What about other features of the local community, such as culture, heritage, community relations? Are they affected?

Now we will imagine that we are at the same time 20 years in the future and have access to real-time information about water quality here and at the other four beaches. Bathing water quality at Nairn beach is has been poor for five years and there is advice against bathing. Nairn compares badly with other beaches. [Pass round *Alternative 2 table with WQ symbols for each of the 5 beaches].

24) In what ways, if at all, does this situation change conditions for your business: does it open up new possibilities? Does it create risks or problems?

Prompts:

  • How does it affect your business activities?
  • How does it affect how customers or others see your business?
  • How does it affect your own or your staff’s wellbeing?

25) In what ways does this situation change your community and the local economy? Does it open up new possibilities? Does it create risks or problems?

Prompts:

  • What about other features of the local community, such as culture, heritage, community relations? Are they affected?
  • What might the community do? Stay at home more? Get involved in campaigning to clean up the water?

VII. Finish And Close (5 mins)

We’ve reached the end of the session.

Before we end, are there any important topics that you feel we haven’t talked about? Anything that you want to add on topics that we did discuss?

We have had a really interesting conversation about beaches, and bathing water and the extent and ways in which they are important to you. If you would like to find out more about bathing water quality and beach classification in Scotland, we recommend you look at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency website: http://sepa.org.uk/bathingwaters/ The link is in the Beach profile for Nairn.

We will now get the audio recording of the conversation transcribed. We will be reporting to the Scottish Government on this research before the end of the year and we are very glad to have had your contributions. Thank you very much for making time to join this discussion.

Please complete this Feedback Form to help us improve the way the session works and collect your ‘thank you’ payments on your way out.

[Hand out Feedback Forms. Ask participants to hand in Feedback Forms and sign Receipt Form* for payments]

*List Of Materials

  • Participants List;
  • Stick-on name badges;
  • Registration Form (x 10);
  • Consent Form (x 10);
  • Bowl with wrapped sweets (4 different colours);
  • Icebreaker Key;
  • Set of photos of Scottish beaches with different features;
  • Card with 4 BWQ signs + card with ‘Advice against bathing’ sign;
  • Beach profile (x 10);
  • Set of photos of beaches in study;
  • Cards with 2 different Alternative Scenarios;
  • Feedback Form (x 10); and
  • Payment Receipt Form.

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