Understanding and addressing males' boating safety practices in the Northwest Territories

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region

Tags: social sciences, aboriginal community, community engagement, travel safety

Principal Investigator: Giles, Audrey R. (16)
Licence Number: 15591
Organization: University of Ottawa
Licenced Year(s): 2016 2015
Issued: Feb 06, 2015

Objective(s): To understand Northwest Territories resident male boaters’ behaviors and attitudes towards water safety.

Project Description: There are three objectives for this research project:
I) Understand Northwest Territories (NWT) resident male boaters’ behaviors and attitudes towards water safety. Given that rates of drowning are higher in the NWT, it would be dangerous to assume that male NWT residents have the same attitudes and behaviors concerning boat safety as their female and non-NWT resident counterparts. In particular, we are interested in understanding how these behaviors and attitudes differ between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, rural and urban, and low income and medium to high income males. We will also assess if there are differences in knowledge of and access to boating education between these groups.
2) To use a community-based approach that build on the knowledge we gain through objective #1 to create a pilot intervention that can be modified by communities to meet their specific needs.
3) To reduce the loss of life, injuries, and property damage due to boating accidents in the Northwest Territories.

The research team believes that three main research methods will enable the best possible evaluation data to emerge: focus groups, semi-structured interviews, and surveys.

With focus groups, the researcher generally acts as the moderator by directing questions and guiding interactions among the group. The objective of the focus group is to stimulate the participants to talk and respond to each other in order to compare experiences and opinions of the different respondents. Generally, focus groups are relatively informal, where the researcher informs the participants about the topic of the study and then discussions are facilitated around that. Prior to the pilot intervention, the research team will conduct focus groups with approximately 20 adults from each of the three communities, for a total of 3 focus groups and a total of 60 participants.

After the pilot intervention, the research team will conduct focus groups with the pilot participants in each community, for a total of 3 focus groups. These will be conducted at each community’s recreation or community center at a time that is convenient for the majority of participants. The focus group will last 1-2 hours and all of the sessions will be digitally recorded (with permission from the participants).

Semi-structured interviews use an interview guide that can range from being fairly structured with specific questions, to just being a list of topics that the researcher wishes to cover. In a semi-structured interview the researcher typically asks open-ended questions to elicit responses from the participants. The semi structured interviews will be conducted using an interview guide that is created by the PI and the NWT Recreation and Parks Association (RPA). These semi-structured interviews will be conducted over skype or conference call as a cost saving measure at a time that is convenient for both the researcher and the interviewee. Duration of the interviews will be approximately one to two hours and all of the sessions will be digitally recorded (with permission from the participants).

Surveys can be relatively quick ways to gather a large amount of information. They are particularly good to use to gather participants’ demographic information (Aboriginal vs. non-Aboriginal, age, sex, income status, place of residence). The research team will use surveys to gather the aforementioned demographic information, but will also use surveys to evaluate the pilot intervention. The research team will use Likert Scales (Likert, 1932) to evaluate the degree to which participants agree with different statements.

The proposed work will be carried out in five phases:
Phase 1: Lit review (now and fall)
Phase 2: Conduct focus groups in 3 communities; conduct key informant interviews over the phone or Skype (hopefully the fall).
Phase 3: Create advisory committee and develop pilot intervention.
Phase 4: implement the pilot and then immediately conduct a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the pilot in the three communities through focus groups and surveys with pilot participants.
Phase 5: In the final phase, the research team will refine the resource based on community feedback and then roll out the program to other communities through the NWT Aquatics Committee members.

Who will be recruited:
The NWT Recreation and Parks Association will identify three communities that are interested in participating in the proposed research. From these communities, males and female adults (age 18+ years) will be recruited for the focus groups.
Once the principal investigator and research assistant are in each of the communities, initial focus group participants will be recruited through posters placed on the community boards at the community center and/or recreation center.

Additionally, snowball sampling, a form of purposeful sampling, will be used to locate further interview participants in order to attain the proposed sample of twenty adults. Essentially, this process of locating additional focus group participants will occur through word of mouth. Thus, current participants may recommend or invite friends or acquaintances from the community to participate in the focus groups.

Participants for the initial focus groups, interviews, advisory committee, and post-pilot focus groups and surveys will be asked to read and sign the consent form (which will be specific to what they are being recruited for) and freely decide if they would like to take part in the initial focus groups, interview, advisory committee, or pilot intervention/focus group/survey. Consenting individuals will then take part in the initial focus group, semi-structured interview, advisory committee meetings or intervention/focus group/survey. Advisory committee members will be asked to help in the development and implementation of the pilot intervention along with the researcher and co-investigators.

For the interviews and focus groups, once the researcher has reviewed the initial transcript, the participants will be provided with a copy of the transcribed interview (either directly at the NWTRPA office or in a self-addressed stamped envelope), and their feedback on the document will be requested. This provides an opportunity for participants to add or delete statements prior to the analysis of the data. The participant will also have the option of discussing the changes with the researcher over the phone. The review process will take approximately thirty minutes for the focus group data and thirty to sixty minutes for the interview data. If after two weeks we have not heard back from the respondent, we will assume that the person is comfortable with the transcript.

The research team will work with the NWTRPA staff to create interview guides for the semi-structured interviews and focus groups and to identify three communities who may be interested in participating in this project. Community members may have the opportunity to participate in the focus groups, pilot intervention program, or may have the opportunity to be a part of the advisory committee for carrying out the research and developing the pilot program. This project will provide the communities with a potential program to help reduce the risks of injury and drowning associated with boating.

The research findings will be disseminated primarily through the NWTRPA’s webpage, Facebook page, and annual conference, and through academic conferences, and publications. The results will be presented back to each community that participated in the research. Participants in the research project will also receive copies of the final results. The pilot program (based on the results from the first three phases) will be run in each of the communities.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 5, 2015 to December 31, 2015.