Last year, the Eppley Institute began work with the National Park Service (NPS) office of Partnerships and Civic Engagement. The purpose of this project is to research NPS partnership practices and identify topics that will improve future partnerships.
The project began with a literature review of NPS documents and other relevant articles and documents that pertained to partnership practices in general. Based in part on the findings from the literature review, Eppley and the NPS developed a quantitative survey about current NPS partnership practices that would be sent to all current NPS employees.
A total of 3,993 employees responded to the survey. The Eppley Institute broke down survey results based on each employee’s position, division, and region. By analyzing the survey’s results by these three categories, Eppley could determine how uniform or dissimilar partnership practices and attitudes were across these three categories.
On October 16, I presented Eppley’s major survey findings to the NPS Partnership Council. In addition to this presentation, I gathered feedback that will be used to give the survey’s findings greater context. Further qualitative data will be gathered when Eppley engages in stakeholder interviews with people who work for the NPS, NPS partners, and other federal agencies. The responses from these interviews will be combined with the literature review and survey findings to present the NPS with a comprehensive report on its current partnership practices and provide suggestions for future actions that would address areas that need improvement.
This sort of project can be particularly fulfilling. Since the scope encompasses the entirety of NPS partnerships, the research conducted by Eppley could have a lasting, positive impact on the NPS.