University-Based Tracking Resources:
An Objective Measurement Option
University-based resources, including Extension, offer
byway organizations an option for objectively developing and analyzing
a survey instrument to measure the economic (and other) impacts of
To learn which professor or department might be available
to work with your byway organization on developing a survey, start
by contacting the campus research office or public relations department
of the university or business school. That department can direct you
to the appropriate contact. If you already have an RFP (request for
proposal), your campus contact can direct the RFP to the appropriate
Having some idea of the type of statistics or information
you would like to gather would be helpful
in beginning a discussion with the university representative. You
can then brainstorm the various types of tracking and measurement
instruments that might work best for your needs.
Examples of measurement instruments include, but are
not limited to, a direct income survey of business owners, a conversion
study based on inquiries for promotional materials to learn who actually
visited your byway and how much money they spent in the byway area;
in-person intercept interviews conducted by trained personnel; and
a direct mail survey that might involve four mailings (survey, reminder
postcard, survey again, and final reminder postcard) to reach a critical
mass of responses for statistical accuracy.
If you have funding to pay for development and analysis,
your project is likely to receive a faster track than if you are requesting
volunteer or student-assisted resources. If you will be asking for
a student project, plan to pitch your idea to the university well
ahead of the targeted semester timeline.
Working with a college located near your byway should
allow you to work with personnel who are familiar with your byway,
however, depending upon the type of survey instrument and analysis
needed, you may need to access the expertise of an educational institution
outside your region.
Why University-Based Tracking?
• Provides an objective means of collecting and
analyzing economic impact and other data for the byway
• The statistical accuracy of University-based
analysis of data lends credibility to the data
• Can create an ongoing byway-community (educational
Contact your local university or business school
Diane Kuehn, Assistant Professor and Coastal Tourism
Specialist, State University of New York College of Environmental
Science and Forestry, assisted with the development of this information.