The Visitor Research Unit within the Parks and Wildlife Serivce of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions undertakes a coordinated and comprehensive approach to conducting social and visitor research within Parks and Wildlife-managed lands and waters. Social science is the study of people (visitors) and communities.

Social research is defined as "research that improves our understanding of how people respond to the environment and protected areas". Social research can help in better understanding issues related to the department’s programs, enhance decision making and improve the effective and timely delivery of services.

Social science contributes to an understanding of people’s attitudes and behaviours towards the environment. It allows us to understand how people respond to the environment, wildlife and protected areas; and to maintain and enhance the values that contribute to people’s appreciation and enjoyment of protected areas.

Social science is multidisciplinary in nature. It does not only incorporate visitor data and use, it also includes understanding the impact visitor activities have on the environment and surrounding communities. Our focus is on visitor research but also includes research into park/communities relations and aspects of indigenous involvement.


What we do

  • Coordinate the Parks and Wildlife Service statewide Visitor Satisfaction (KPI) Monitoring program.
  • Coordinate the Parks and Wildlife Service internal Visitor Survey Program.
  • Coordinate and maintain the Visitor Statistics (VISTAT) monitoring program and application.
  • Measure and monitor public needs, perceptions, expectations, attitudes and behaviour.
  • Collect public feedback regarding the standard of the department's facilities, services and programs.
  • Collect public feedback on the level of satisfaction with services and facilities.
  • Define and report the number of visits to department-managed lands and waters.
  • Train staff to collect, analyse and use social research information.
  • Use research data to help develop policy and plan and design sites.
  • Develop methodology for monitoring environmental impacts from visitation.
  • Develops links and coordinates the department's involvement with other research programs and tertiary institutions relevant to social science and visitor research.
  • Approves social research to be conducted on department-managed land and waters by external research providers and students.
  • Communicate our findings internally, to the public and other interested parties.
  • Coordinate and maintain the department’s RecData - Recreation Infrastructure Asset Register application.

For further information about social research please contact Amanda Smith - Social Science Coordinator.