Measuring Specialization among Birders: Utility of a Self-Classification Measure
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This article sought to determine the efficacy of a self-classification measure of recreation specialization, relative to two-multi-item approaches, in predicting other aspects of recreation participation (in this case, motivations). The sample was drawn from birders who traveled to the Platte River (Nebraska) to experience the annual crane migration. The self-classification measure had birdwatchers categorize themselves as a committed birder, an active birder, or a casual birder. Factor analysis of six behavior, skill, and commitment items resulted in a single factor solution; thus, an index of recreation specialization was created by summing respondents standardized scores for these items. Respondents were divided into categories of high, medium, and low specialization. Also, cluster analysis was used to create another multi-item indicator of specialization. Each of the three measures was significantly related to motivations. The self-classification measure of specialization was somewhat stronger in predicting activity-specific motivations; there was little difference among measures in predicting more generic birdwatching motives. Taylor & Francis Inc.