Exploring empirical support for interpretation’s best practices

TitleExploring empirical support for interpretation’s best practices
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSkibins, JC, Powell, RBaxter, Stern, MJ
JournalJournal of Interpretation Research
Pagination25 - 44
Date Published2012///
AbstractSince Freeman Tilden defined interpretation, numerous authors have proposed methodological best practices. The purposes of this meta-analysis were to identify best practices and examine the empirical evidence linking them to visitor outcomes. We identified 17 best practices from key texts used for interpretive training. Our investigation examined the relationships between hypothesized best practices and outcomes in 70 peer-reviewed articles. The most commonly reported of these best practices used in the programs evaluated in these articles were: resource/place-based messaging (53%), actively engaging the audience (51%), and thematic development and cognitive/affective messaging(both 49%). Knowledge was the most commonly evaluated outcome (33% of studies), and awareness the least (9%). Positive results were most commonly reported for satisfaction, 91%, while 32% of studies evaluating the influence of interpretation on attitudes showed no impact. Results provide general support for each of the 17 hypothesized best practices and their linkages to desired outcomes. However, the evidence remains circumstantial because the practices were rarely isolated or explicitly tested.