Social Science Surveys and Interviews in the National Parks and for the National Park Service

Social science research sponsored by or completed for the National Park Service may be subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance, depending on the scope and topic(s) of research. Researchers should consider the OMB clearance process very early in study design and planning.

Many misconceptions exist regarding the applicability and nature of the clearance process. We strongly urge you to consult with the NPS Social Science program and NPS Information Collection Review Coordinator.

Surveys of the public or any other information collection activity conducted, funded, or sponsored by the NPS must be done in compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The PRA applies to surveys or information collections in which the same questions are ask of ten or more persons.

Information collections include: mail-back questionnaires, on-site questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, telephone surveys, and focus groups.

If NPS conducts, funds, or sponsors a survey or other information collection activity, NPS and OMB approval is required. If NPS provides significant in-kind services to a researcher conducting an independent study, NPS and OMB approval is required. In-kind services include:
  • staff assistance in survey design or administration
  • housing or office space made available for researchers
  • use of NPS equipment or facilities.

For more information, visit the NPS Social Science Information Collection site.

Last updated: December 6, 2018

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