Capstone/Dissertation Title

Exhibit evaluation: using Q methodology to gauge visitor interest

Term

2014

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAED: NSEE

Abstract

This capstone imparts the conclusions from a front-end evaluation of a proposed exhibition for the Great Lakes Aquarium (GLA). This evaluation was undertaken in order to help GLA staff find correlations between the proposed content and interpretation of the Shipwrecks Alive! exhibit and visitors' interest level. This capstone investigates the following research question: what aspects of shipwrecks garner the most interest from Great Lakes Aquarium visitors? The topics that were evaluated included: marine and freshwater wildlife, marine and freshwater habitat, boat physics, scuba diving, and marine archeology. The evaluation consisted of twenty-four Q-sort, or card-sort, interviews with adult visitor groups. Data was collected during the months of October and November 2013 using a random sampling method. PQMethod statistical analysis software was used to explore data. Three factors, or social perspectives, were found.

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