Using Diaries to Examine Children's Fishing Patterns

Nancy A. Connelly* and Barbara A. Knuth
North American Journal of Fisheries Management Vol 19: 1103-1107

We used fishing diaries to study the fishing patterns of children who participated in the Sportfishing and Aquatic Resources Education Program in central and western New York in 1996 and explored the related costs and benefits. Besides the financial costs, it was difficult and time-consuming to obtain the names of families with children who fish and to obtain parental permission for the children to participate in the diary project, even though we worked through an established youth fishing organization. However, after parental consent was obtained, participation rates by children far exceeded those found for adults in other diary studies. Of the 53 children who were sent diaries in June 1996, all provided some information about their fishing activities during the study period (July 1–October 15, 1996). Compared with data from a mail survey of parents, the children's diaries showed that parents overestimated children's fishing participation by up to two times. Thus, diaries provide a method for obtaining more accurate participation data, free from this type of recall bias. For children, the diary methodology provided valuable detailed information on recreation participation after cooperation in the study was established. However, children's diaries, like adult diaries, require substantial resources (time and money) and concerns regarding the representativeness of the sample will need to be addressed in future studies.


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