Participation: Advanced Measures

What are the Advanced Measures?

A more thorough measurement of the participatory impact of events is by assessing the change in people's behaviour as a direct result of an event, e.g. the increase in their actual physical/cultural activity levels.

The likelihood of increasing participation can be measured during and/or following an event.  Measuring behaviour change requires post-event longitudinal research where behaviour is monitored over a period of time.

In order to examine subsequent changes in behaviour following events, the research commissioned by UK Sport since 2010 also included follow up research using an online survey of a sub-sample of spectators who had provided a valid email address at the time of the events.  Respondents were asked: (a) whether they were doing more, less or the same amount of sport that they were doing before they attended a particular event; (b) how influential (if at all) attending that event had been in leading them to undertake more sport.  This exercise revealed that around 35% of individuals had increased their sport participation levels in the three months following their attendance at one of the events and 24% said that this increase was to some extent influenced by the event.

Where the focus of event evaluation is on measuring changes at community/national level, annual surveys such as Sport England's Active People Survey, the Scottish Household Survey and the DCMS Taking Part survey can be used.  For example, Sport England's Active People Survey indicates that the percentage of adults in London taking part in sport increased marginally in the year following London 2012.

Simply hosting an event is unlikely to deliver meaningful increases in participation among attendees or the host community.  In order for events to drive the maximum possible participation legacy benefits certain mechanisms need to be in place.  For example, watching a sports event might inspire someone to take up sport or increase their frequency of participation at a given point in time.  However, how that feeling of inspiration (attitudinal change) is subsequently harnessed (e.g. through signposting and the provision of appropriate exit routes) will determine whether or not it eventually converts into sustainable behaviour change.