Repository logo

Encounters, norms, crowding: an application of the normative theory and methods in Turkey




Bingül, Meryem Bihter, author
Donnelly, Maureen P., advisor
Vaske, Jerry J., advisor
Bright, Alan, committee member
Omur-Ozbek, Pinar, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


National parks attract millions of visitors a year due to their natural and cultural importance (Manning, 2007). The number of visits to national parks has been rapidly increasing around the world (Manning & Krymkowski, 2010). The high level of visitation to these areas has generated concerns about sustaining appropriate levels of social and environmental impacts. Growing demand for access and participation in recreational activities in national parks can damage both the ecological integrity of the environment, as well as reducing the quality of visitor experiences. The quality of visitor experiences must be maintained at a high level for national parks to contribute their full potential to society (Manning, 2002). In the literature, the quality of the visitor experience has been addressed through the concept of carrying capacity (Manning, 2007). In the United States, several planning frameworks have been developed and applied for National Parks relating to carrying capacity such as Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), and Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP). These frameworks share a common idea of identifying and establishing quantitative impact indicators and standards. National Parks in Turkey, however, have no such framework for monitoring the quality of both the natural environment and the visitor experience. Research on these issues is also very limited. The primary purpose of this dissertation is to examine the applicability of normative theory and methods in Turkey by addressing the interrelationships of visitor encounter norms and perceptions of crowding, resulting in the identification of appropriate indicators and standards of quality for management of the country's national parks. This dissertation presents three manuscripts designed to contribute this area of inquiry. The first chapter focuses on one of the structural characteristics of norms (e.g. norm prevalence) and methodological considerations that influence norm prevalence. The following research questions examined in this manuscript: first, what percent of visitors will report a norm in a given setting (Rocky Mountain National Park-ROMO)? Does the survey response format influence norm prevalence? Among those reporting a norm, to what extent do normative evaluations differ between two different response formats (e.g. closed and semi-open format)? Results indicated that norm prevalence is higher when respondents are asked to circle a number from range of values presented on the survey (closed format) as opposed to writing in a number (semi-open format). Among those reporting a norm, the average norm tolerance levels for the closed and semi-open question formats are equivalent across all specific locations. This work demonstrate that survey response format influence norm prevalence (percentage of individuals reporting a norm) and the numerical value of the reported norm. The second chapter examines the generalizability of the research findings from the ROMO study to Dilek Peninsula National Park-DPNP, in Turkey. The same research questions are asked in this second manuscript. First, what percent of visitors will report a norm in DPNP? Second, among those reporting a norm, to what extent do normative evaluations differ between semi-open and closed response formats? Results demonstrated that encounter norm prevalence (i.e., the percent of individuals who could specify a norm) is higher for the closed format of the survey as compared to the semi-open version. In addition, among those reporting a norm, the average tolerance levels were statistically higher in the semi-open format. The third chapter focuses on relationships among encounters, norms, and crowding for both settings ROMO and DPNP examining following research questions; First, what are visitor's norms regarding encounters with others at the site? Second, what proportion of visitors encounter fewer or more than their norm? Third, if they encounter fewer or more visitors than their norm, how does this affect visitors' perception of crowding? Fourth, to what extent does perceived crowding differ between ROMO and DPNP? Lastly, to what extent does the country of origin influence perceived crowding? Findings shows, in both settings, when visitors encountered more people than their norm, perceived crowding was higher compared to when individuals encountered less than their norms. The findings also showed that Turkish respondents felt more crowded than American visitors. In total, this dissertation is intended to provide a deeper look at the applications of normative theory and methods between two countries the United States and Turkey to contribute management of parks and outdoor recreation.


Rights Access



Associated Publications