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System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC)

Deborah A. Cohen and Thomas L. McKenzie

SOPARC is a direct observation tool for assessing use of parks and play areas. The tool provides protocols for observers to track users’ physical activity levels, activity types, genders, and estimated age and race/ethnicity groupings during a specified time frame using momentary time sampling. It can also be used to evaluate park attributes such as accessibility, usability, supervision, and organization. SOPARC requires direct observation of the area to be evaluated and coding of the results. A full-text user guide, protocols, mapping strategies for the target area, worksheets, training videos, and an app are available.


Recreational & social value, Health & well-being, Play equipment, Active living

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