Contacts

Robin Grantham
Senior Communications Coordinator
1-800-423-1476 (FL only) or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4779

or

Water Education
1-800-423-1476 (FL only) or (352) 796-7211, ext. 4757

Social Research at the District

As part of its mission, the District seeks to maintain a balance between the water needs of current and future users while protecting and maintaining water and related natural resources that provide the District with its existing and future water supply.

To help achieve this mission, the District promotes behaviors that conserve and protect water resources. Behavior change isn’t easy, but knowing what motivates people to change and what keeps them from changing can help. Social research—white papers, focus groups and surveys—can provide information that helps staff design programs that more effectively lead to these sustainable behaviors.

Not only can social research be used for designing more effective programs, but it can also be used for evaluating those programs. A survey conducted before an educational campaign, for instance, can set a benchmark for what people know, believe and do. By conducting a follow-up survey after the campaign, we can determine what people have learned and what behaviors have been changed as a result of the campaign.

The information that can be found on the tabs below is a centralized resource of the District’s research involved in learning about the opinions and attitudes of west-central Florida’s residents. For questions regarding these materials, please feel free to contact us (see right sidebar).
 



Focus Groups

Focus groups are interviews, conducted by a trained moderator, among a small group of respondents. The interview is conducted in an unstructured and natural way where respondents are free to give views from any aspect. The District uses focus groups to acquire feedback regarding attitudes, behaviors and knowledge about water conservation and water quality. Focus groups have also provided valuable feedback for educational and campaign messages.


Title Description Year of study Respondents Download
Northern Counties Water Quality Focus Group Focus Group Report The purpose of this study to was to learn more about the best ways to engage discussion between residents and landscape professionals regarding proper fertilizer use and to find out whether resident and landscape professionals thought this might improve water quality in the springs. Green Industries-Best Management Practices (GI-BMPs) were also discussed with landscape professionals. 2012 10 Focus Groups Northern Counties Water Quality Focus Group Focus Group Report
Northern Counties Water Conservation Focus Group Focus Group Report The purpose of this focus group study was to determine the best way to reduce potable water use in the Sugarmill Woods community. This community is located in the coastal and recharge area of Central Florida in Citrus County, approximately seventy to eighty miles north of the city of Tampa, Florida. 2011 12 Focus Groups Northern Counties Water Conservation Focus Group Focus Group Report
Florida Friendly Fertilizing Campaign Advertising Testing The purpose of this focus group study was to test several elements of an advertising campaign to educate residents about proper fertilizing techniques. Eight focus groups were held from June 28 to July 1, 2010. Participants all had lawns for which they made watering and fertilizing decisions. Participants were exposed to six different taglines, six graphics with taglines on them, six video draft advertisements that had been produced by District staff, and two previous television advertisements that had been produced to affect watering frequency during winter months. 2010 8 Focus Groups Florida Friendly Fertilizing Campaign Advertising Focus Group Testing
Peace River Watershed Education Project Final Report Research for this project was used to (1) define a knowledge level concerning watershed-related topics in the Peace River watershed, (2) establish target audiences for educational outreach through focus groups, stakeholder surveys and literature reviews, and (3) determine past and current outreach programs and the outcome of each program. The findings assisted in developing an inclusive educational plan for this watershed community. This report details how the research was carried out and provides results from the survey and focus groups. 2005 68 Participants Download Focus Group Report
Watershed Education Program-Crystal River/Kings Bay Report details a focus group/town hall study with the goal of gaining a deeper quantitative and qualitative understanding about four major sets of issues involving residents in the Kings Bay/Crystal River watershed area. The four areas of interest were the public’s (1) knowledge base regarding groundwater systems, (2) exhibited behaviors within the boundaries of the watershed area and community sensitivities toward their watershed, (3) preferred messaging, and (4) preferred methods of communication regarding water conservation and water quality information. 2005 45 Participants Download Focus Group Report Download Focus Group Questions
“Skip a Week” Water Conservation Pre-Campaign Focus Group Testing Qualitative data were collected to examine citizens’ attitudes and current use of water and to determine the effectiveness of the District’s water conservation media campaign during a historic three-year drought. This report contains the results of four focus groups testing the "Skip a Week" campaign concepts. 2009 28 Participants “Skip a Week” Water Conservation Pre-Campaign Focus Group Report
Septic Systems, Fertilizers and Pesticide Use Watershed Education Program Report outlines results of conversations with residents of Marion and Citrus Counties about the relationship between fertilizer use, septic tank maintenance and pollution of water bodies. White papers on the various topics were also used in the design of the focus group discussion topics. 2007 57 Participants Download Focus Group Report Associated Research: Reducing Residential Pesticide Use White Paper Associated Research: Reducing Fertilizer Use White Paper Associated Research: Maintaining Septic Systems White Paper
Outdoor Water Use Report looks at attitudes and behaviors regarding residential outdoor water use and provides recommendations for future studies and strategies that may reduce outdoor water use. 2007 38 Participants Download Focus Group Report

Project Summaries

Project summaries provide insight into project details as well as final results of campaigns, studies, pilots and programs that the District funds.


Title Description Year of study Download
Fertilizer Campaign The 2010-2011 Fertilizer Campaign's goal was to increase District residents’ knowledge about proper fertilizing procedures and the negative aspects of over-fertilizing or failing to follow package directions. A resulting goal will be to positively impact residents’ self-reported proper fertilizing behaviors. This campaign ran from mid-February to mid-May 2011. 2011 Fertilizer Campaign

“Get Outside!” Land Resources Campaign The District purchases and manages land to protect the water resources in a 16-county region of west-central Florida. More than 343,000 acres of those lands are available to the public for recreation. However, many residents are unaware that these conservation lands exist and are available for public use. The District recognized a need to develop an outreach campaign targeted to residents and visitors in the District to promote the recreational opportunities available on District lands. In September 2009 the "Get Outside!" campaign was launched; phase one of this campaign ran through October 2010. This summary details background, purpose, objectives, methods and results for this campaign. 2010 Download Summary

“Skip a Week” Water Conservation Campaign In December 2009 the District launched its integrated “Skip a Week” water conservation campaign. This campaign was based on the lessons learned from a prior irrigation pilot as well as additional research conducted to gather information around attitudes and behaviors regarding water conservation and irrigation practices. The “Skip a Week” campaign ran through February 2010. This summary details background, purpose, methods, strategies, results and social marketing practices used in this campaign. 2010 Download Summary


Surveys

Surveys are the method for collecting quantitative information on a specific or general area of interest. The District uses surveys to acquire information from residents about attitudes, behaviors and knowledge regarding water conservation and water quality.


Title Description Year of study Respondents Download
Springs Social Research – Northern Counties Report details residents’ perceptions and attitudes about the District, springs and other water-related issues in the northern portion of the District as well as the effectiveness of the District’s “Restoring Our Springs” campaign. The research was used to: (1) determine how widespread negative reactions are to various water-related issues, (2) determine misconceptions or areas where education is needed and (3) analyze the effectiveness of the “Restoring Our Springs” campaign. The reports include combined results of a pre- and post-campaign survey. 2014 1,152 Telephone Post-Campaign Survey Results

Pre-Campaign Survey

2013 Districtwide Perception Survey This report details District residents’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding water conservation, water quality protection and District perception. Surveys were conducted from April 2 through April 24, 2013. Results assist the District with designing messages and educational programs, evaluating program successes and tracking the public’s perception of the District overtime. 2013 1,536 Districtwide Perception Survey 2013 Crosstab Report

Districtwide Perception Survey 2013 Final Report

2012 Recharge Survey Final Report Report details residents’ perceptions, attitudes and knowledge of reused water. The results of this survey also will assist in guiding the development of educational materials for the general public on this topic area. 2012 1,536 2012 Recharge Survey Final Report

Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report Report compiles the results from three Barrier and Benefit Surveys conducted between July 2008 and February 2009. Randomly selected members of an online panel provided opinions and current behaviors in regard to fertilizer, pesticides, pet waste, rain sensors, lawn mowing, downspouts, low-flow showerheads, septic system maintenance and motor oil disposal. Respondents had lawns that were cared for by someone in the home or by someone hired to provide that service. 2009 2,667 Download Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Fertilizer Campaign Final Survey Report Report details opinions and attitudes of residents' regarding fertilizer behaviors, attitudes and knowledge. The results of the Districtwide survey also assisted in guiding the development of a campaign to promote proper fertilizing techniques and the adverse effects associated with excess fertilizing and improper fertilizing techniques. Several other reports are also attached that were formative in designing this campaign. 2011 1,152 Telephone Download Fertilizer Campaign Pre and Posttest Final Survey Report

Download Fertilizer Campaign Summary

Download Focus Groups for Florida Friendly Fertilizing Campaign Advertising

Associated Research: Lawn Care Behaviors Survey Report

Associated Research: Fertilizer Focus Group Report

Associated Research: Fertilizer White Paper

Associated Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

“Skip a Week” Media Campaign Posttest and Evaluation Report details residents’ behaviors and perceptions of water resources and the effectiveness of the District’s "Skip a Week" media campaign. The report combines the results of a pre- and posttest survey. Several other reports are also attached that were formative in designing this campaign. 2010 1,152 Telephone Download Campaign Survey Report

Download Campaign Ad Pretesting Focus Group Report

Download Campaign Pretest Public Service Advertising Report

Download “Skip a WeeK” Campaign Summary

Associated Research: Outdoor Water Use Focus Group Report

Associated Research: Rain Sensor Installation White Paper

Associated Research: Lawn Mower Height White Paper

Water-Wise Irrigation Practices and Perceptions/Irrigation Literacy Evaluation These phase one and phase two reports detail outdoor water use practices and level of community knowledge of water conservation technologies and policy. 2008 Mail Survey Questionnaires Download Phase Two Fact Sheet

Download Phase Two Final Report

Download Phase One Survey and Program Report

Download Phase One Fact Sheet

Watershed Pledge Evaluation Survey The District conducted a "Watershed Pledge" to promote watershed friendly behaviors. People who took the pledge were also asked to take a survey. The survey results show if and why pledgers followed through with the behaviors they pledged to do. 2006 116 Online Survey Download Summary of Survey Results

Download Survey Results

Download Pledge

Lawn Care Behavior-Crystal River, Kings Bay and Rainbow River Report details evaluation results from a social marketing campaign and insight into the public's opinions and attitudes regarding fertilizer use and lawn care behaviors. Several white paper reports are also attached that were formative in the design of this project. 2008 607 Online Panel Download Survey Report

Associated Research: Lawn Mower Height White Paper

Associated Research: Fertilizer Use White Paper

Drought Public Awareness Campaign Media Qualitative and quantitative data were collected to examine citizens’ attitudes and current use of water and to determine the effectiveness of the District’s water conservation media campaign during a historic three-year drought. This report combines the results of a pre- and posttest drought survey, four focus groups and testing of the water conservation "Skip a Week" campaign concepts. 2009 803 Online Panel Download Drought Campaign Survey Final Report

Showerhead Replacement, Used Motor Oil Disposal and Septic Tank Maintenance Public opinion and attitudes survey based on 2009 white paper research that was collected on these topic areas. Several other white papers from 2007 were formative in designing this survey tool. 2009 839 Online Panel Download Survey Report

Associated Research: Septic System Maintenance White Paper

Associated Research: Used Motor Oil Disposal White Paper

Associated Research: Showerhead Replacement White Paper

Associated Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Lawn Mower Blade Height, Downspout Reroute and Rain Sensors This public opinion and attitudes survey is based on 2008 white paper research that was collected on these topic areas. Several other white papers from 2007 were formative in designing this survey tool. 2008 914 Online Panel Download Survey Report

Associated Research: Rain Sensor Installation White Paper

Associated Research: Downspout Reroute White Paper

Associated Research: Lawn Mower Height White Paper

Associated Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Water Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices-2003 Report details residents' knowledge and attitudes about water conservation, watershed protection and water management issues. 2003 601 Telephone Download Survey Report

Water Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices-2004 Report details residents' knowledge and attitudes about water conservation, watershed protection and water management issues. 2004 608 Telephone Download Survey Report

Factors Associated with Residential Irrigation Water Use Report looks at a year-round watering use study regarding behaviors and attitudes of residents who had a lawn or landscape they watered and had an automatic irrigation system. Also included is the social marketing plan used for this program. 2008 802 Telephone Download Survey Report

Download Social Marketing Plan

Fertilizer, Pet Waste and Pesticides Survey Public opinion and attitudes survey based on the 2008 white paper research that was collected on these topic areas. Several other white papers from 2007 were formative in designing this survey tool. 2008 914 Online Panel Download Survey Report

Associated Research: Pesticides White Paper

Associated Research: Pet Waste White Paper

Associated Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

“Get Outside!” Campaign-Land Resources Public Opinion Report details opinions and attitudes of residents regarding outdoor recreational opportunities. Survey results in this report were also used to guide the development of a campaign to promote stewardship and sustainability through recreation on conservation lands. 2007 600 Telephone, 111 Online, Total 711 Download Survey Report

Associated Research: “Get Outside!” Campaign Project Summary

Peace River Watershed Public Opinion Report summarizes opinions gathered about natural resources and watersheds, landscaping opinions and practices, watershed protection attitudes and practices, and sources of information for current events and water resources. 2006 603 Telephone, 142 Mail, Total 745 Download Survey Report

Water Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices-2006 Report summarizes residents' knowledge and attitudes about water management and watershed issues and compares data with the 2003 and 2004 studies. 2006 637 Telephone, 289 Mail, Total 926 Download Survey Report


White Papers

White papers are authoritative reports or guides that help identify or solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. The District uses white paper research to synthesize relevant research regarding barriers and benefits associated with target behaviors that influence water conservation and water quality. These white papers include programs that have been implemented promoting these behaviors along with strategy suggestions.


Title Description Year of study Download
Outdoor Recreation Hispanic Outreach There are different ways in which the District can reach out to the Hispanic population within its 16 counties. This white paper explores barriers and ways to have successful outreach to this sector of the population. 2011 Outdoor Recreation Hispanic Outreach

Barriers and Benefits of Rain Downspout Disconnection or Redirection White paper outlines barriers associated with disconnecting or redirecting rain gutter downspouts. It also summarizes downspout programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage downspout reroute. 2007 Download Downspout White Paper

Associated Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Reducing Fertilizer Use & Increasing the Use of Slow-Release Fertilizer White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with using slow-release fertilizer and/or reducing fertilizer use. The paper summarizes fertilizer-use programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage proper fertilizer use. 2007 Download Fertilizer White Paper

Associated Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Raising Lawn Mower Height White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with setting lawn mower blade height to cut the grass at the highest possible setting. The paper summarizes lawn mower blade height programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage raising the lawn mower blade. 2007 Download Lawn Mower Height White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Reducing Residential Pesticide Use White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with residents reducing their use of pesticides. The paper summarizes pesticide reduction programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage the reduced use of pesticides on residential landscapes. 2007 Download Reducing Residential Pesticide Use White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Reducing Pet Waste White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with proper disposal of pet waste. The paper summarizes pet waste programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage proper pet waste management. 2007 Download Reducing Pet Waste White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Rain Sensor Installation White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with installing a rain sensor to regulate residential irrigation systems. The paper summarizes rain sensor installation programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage rain sensor use. 2007 Download Rain Sensor White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Maintaining Septic Systems White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with proper septic tank maintenance. The paper summarizes septic tank education programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage timely inspection and maintenance of septic tanks. 2007 Download Septic System Maintenance White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Installing Low-Flow Showerheads White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with installing a low-flow showerhead. The paper summarizes showerhead replacement programs and finally proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage the use of low-volume fixtures. 2007 Download Low-Flow Showerhead White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

Barriers and Benefits of Used Motor Oil Disposal White paper outlines barriers and benefits associated with the proper disposal of used motor oil. The paper summarizes motor oil disposal programs and proposes a community-based social marketing strategy to encourage this behavior. 2007 Download Used Motor Oil Disposal White Paper

Research: Barriers and Benefits Surveys Final Report

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