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Ariane L. Bedimo-Rung, Jeanette Gustat, Bradley J. Tompkins, Janet Rice, and Jessica Thomson


The study’s purpose is to describe the development and evaluate the reliability (inter-observer agreement) and validity (rater agreement with a gold standard) of a direct observation instrument to assess park characteristics that may be related to physical activity.


A direct observation instrument of 181 items was developed based on a conceptual model consisting of the following domains: features, condition, access, esthetics, and safety. Fifteen pairs of observers were trained and sent to two parks simultaneously to assess two Target Areas each.


Overall domain reliability was 86.9%, and overall geographic area reliability was 87.5%. Overall domain validity was 78.7% and overall geographic area validity was 81.5%.


Inter-rater reliability and validity were generally good, although validity was slightly lower than reliability. Objective items showed the highest reliability and validity. Items that are time-sensitive may need to be measured on multiple occasions, while items asking for subjective responses may require more supervised practice.

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Carrie M. Geremia, Kelli L. Cain, Terry L. Conway, James F. Sallis, and Brian E. Saelens

such as the Bedimo-Rung Assessment Tool, Quality of Public Open Space Tool, Environmental Assessment of Public Recreation Spaces (EAPRS), PA Resources Assessment, and Community Park Audit Tool. 15 – 19 However, these measures have not been widely used in research or practice, likely because most of

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Jeanette Gustat, Christopher E. Anderson, and Sandy J. Slater

PSAT with the aim of enabling the assessment of the “playability” of designated play spaces. The Bedimo-Rung Assessment Tool—Direct Observation, a whole-park assessment tool, was a starting point, but the developed tool focuses exclusively on play spaces. 25 We visited several parks in the New Orleans

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Andrea Richardson, Bing Han, Stephanie Williamson, and Deborah Cohen

amenities using a tool adapted from previously validated park assessment tools (ie, Bedimo-Rung Assessment Tool-Direct Observation, Environmental Assessment of Public Recreational Spaces, and Community Park Audit Tool instruments). 31 – 33 Marketing materials included the presence of banners, posters, and