A mixed methods research design was adopted to tease out different conceptions and perspectives concerning the ‘value’ of bathing waters (see Figure 1). Within this, a fieldwork component was undertaken at five case study bathing water sites selected to capture a range of different rBWD statuses and site types (see Table 1).
Table 1: Details of the five case study bathing water sites
|Site||Local authority||rBWD status ||Site type|
|Nairn (Central)||Highlands||Poor||Coastal town|
|Ayr (South Beach)||South Ayrshire||Poor||Coastal resort|
|Troon (South Beach)||South Ayrshire||Good||Coastal resort|
|Portobello (West)||City of Edinburgh||Poor||Coastal town|
|Gullane||East Lothian||Excellent||Coastal village|
An evidence review was undertaken at the start of the project to understand the current state of knowledge against the research questions being investigated and to inform other aspects of the project. Three key primary data collection methods were used:
1. An ‘onsite’ survey with beach-users at the five case study bathing water sites (n=516) comprising 15 minute interviews with a minimum of 100 participants per site;
2. An ‘online’ (web based) survey with a nationally representative sample (n=1,013); and
3. Focus groups at each of the five case study bathing water sites with both community members and local businesses.