National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Interpretive Research & Resource Liaison

Benchmark Competency Description

Interpretive Research, as used here, refers to both the process of gathering and evaluating information, as well as the product produced by that effort. Since information is the basis of all interpretation, Interpretive Research—about the audience as well as about the resource—is indispensable to the professional interpreter. The research produced by this effort can be applied to a variety of interpretive products and services: informal visitor contacts, tours, exhibits, planning efforts, etc. Through in-depth knowledge of the resource and the audience, coupled with the application of appropriate techniques, Interpretive Research offers audiences opportunities to form their own intellectual and emotional connections with the meanings and significance of park resources.

This competency provides a framework for the complete realization of full performance interpretive work -- the variety, virtuosity, and depth of programs and products interpreters can craft to address the interests of multiple audiences.

Competency Standard

Full Performance Interpreters:

  • Apply advanced research skills to acquire advanced resource and audience knowledge (KR and KA)
  • Use the philosophies, methodologies, and assumptions of professional disciplines to identify and analyze multiple audience perspectives
  • Access information generated by, and work with, resource managers and other specialists and scholars
  • Use advanced KR and KA to connect multiple resource meanings to multiple audience interests and perspectives
  • Apply knowledge of appropriate interpretive techniques (AT) to provide opportunities for intellectual and emotional connections to multiple researched meanings
  • Prepare a repertory of presentations that can be presented on short notice, and tailored to meet the interests of specific audiences in a variety of situations