Data Collection for Chicago Plays! Evaluation Nearly Complete

Illinois PRC Parks Study researchers employ several data collection tools to assess factors regarding the use, condition, and environment of parks in Chicago.

Data Collection for Chicago Park Use Evaluation Nearly Complete

Each summer since 2013, the Illinois PRC Parks Study has gathered observational data from a sample of Chicago Park District parks. Some of these parks were renovated through the Chicago Plays! Initiative.

This summer, returning and new data collectors began their park observations in mid-June, visiting their parks weekly on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Data collection is scheduled to run until the last week of August. These trained observers are using The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), Environmental Assessment of Park and Recreation Spaces (EAPRS) and The Bridging the Gap Park Observation Form (BTG-POF) data collection tools to collect the 24 month follow-up data at 60 parks.

    • SOPARC: Captures park use and individual activities through periodic scans to observe park users at various parts of the park (e.g. playgrounds, courts, etc.). Trained observers code an individual’s level of physical activity based on the intensity of the activity, along with their gender and perceived ages and racial/ ethnic background. Observations occur four times a day over three days: two times in the morning, half an hour apart, and two times in the afternoon, also half an hour apart.
Chicago Plays! data collector documenting park condition with EAPRS form. Photo by Illinois PRC Parks Study.

Chicago Plays! data collector documenting park condition with EAPRS form. Photo by Illinois PRC Parks Study.

  • EAPRS: Allows data collectors to capture aspects of the park environment (e.g. conditions and presence of trails, pools, slides, fountains, etc. and their maintenance) in a 60 page guide.
  • BTG-POF: Captures information on the presence and condition of park utilities and physical disorder (e.g. garbage, broken glass, evidence of substance use).

Over the course of the project, more than 25 data collectors have been trained to use SOPARC, EAPRS, and BTG-POF.


About the Banner Image. Playground renovated through Chicago Plays! Program. Photo by Illinois PRC Parks Study.

Although Yadira is the newest addition to the Parks Project, she is quite familiar with Chicago Parks and has participated in various park programs such as dance, swimming, and volleyball for nearly 20 years.