The National Park Service Training Needs Assessment methodology utilized a five-stage approach. The five stages included determination of the research methodology; development of survey instrument; collection of data; analysis of data; and reporting of findings.
The research methodology used in this study was based on modified Importance-Performance analysis (IP). The IP methodology measured and compared the importance of specific job competencies to degree of preparedness of NPS employees. Importance-Performance Analysis is a well-documented, business marketing research technique developed by Martilla and James (1977) that involves the analysis of consumer expectations (importance) and consumer satisfaction (performance). The Importance-Performance analysis approach was chosen as it provides a simple and convenient form of measurement where data collection is quick and inexpensive, data is presented in an easily interpreted, two dimensional grid that suggests possible courses of action, data analysis is extremely practical, and data can be acted upon quickly.
The training leaders who developed the survey items spent a considerable amount of time debating the appropriateness of asking employees and supervisors to rate the importance of the Universal Competencies. It was argued that since all of these items are by definition, important to job performance in the NPS, requesting employees and supervisors to rate their importance would be unnecessary. After significant time discussing the benefits of a two-dimensional analysis of the Universal Competencies, it was decided to proceed with the importance/preparation analysis as described above.
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