Focal groups: the construction of place meaning among Brazilian wilderness visitors
Serra dos Órgãos National Park offers a unique opportunity in Brazil to study human-place relationship with wilderness areas. In this study, we explore the complexity of the meanings attached to wilderness areas and visitors’ opinions about a change in access regulations. We conducted two focus groups with wilderness visitors and used content analysis and a qualitative data analysis software, IRAMUTEQ, to analyze data. Results indicate that place meanings were created from a combination of social, environmental and experiential aspects. The threats to access and to the wilderness character led to protective attitudes and opinions, forming one of the pillars of place meaning. Concepts related to the participants' identities also shaped meanings, motivations and assessments of quality and satisfaction with the visit. Place meanings promoted a sense of the continuity of the past with the present, besides being relevant for developing and honoring social relationships. This study enables land managers to better understand the interests, needs, values and symbolism related to wilderness recreation, which can contribute to decision making about recreation policies. Data here include raw data (texts, corpus, images), coding process examples and IRAMUTEQ analysis, including statistics, word clouds, and similitude graphs. Data is in Portuguese.