Accuracy of Self-Reported Recreation Participation


  • Stephen C. Anderson
  • Kathryn Smithyman Kanters


Response error, omission error, percent error of estimation, participation rates, respondent recall, and self-reported survey.


Response error is a factor that may affect scores on most selfreported surveys. The purpose of this study was to investigate two different types of recreation agencies, a YMCA and a municipal golf course, and provide information on the pattern of response error. Random selection procedures were used to draw 200 subjects from a YMCA membership and 188 from a golf course membership. One questionnaire was sent to YMCA members, and a second was sent to golfers. Subjects were asked to estimate their frequency of participation, and this was compared to agency figures of actual participation. Computer records of entry were kept at the YMCA, and each entry was counted as an actual participation. At the golf course, participants signed in each time they played. These signatures were tallied, and the total became the actual participation figure for each member. The results showed that the study participants overestimated their frequency of participation by more than 100 percent.





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