Denis F. Zaun

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This study was designed to determine public attitude toward and knowledge about the State of North Dakota, and to gather data concerning vacation activities of respondents located throughout the United States. The findings of this survey were also compared to the findings of a similar survey conducted in 1960, in order to identify changes in awareness concerning the state or trends in the vacation activities of the public.

Primary data was gathered by mail survey packets sent to 500 alumni of North Dakota State University which contained questionnaires that were to be completed by their friends. Each packet contained five questionnaires, instructions, a letter from the governor, and a return envelope. The packets were sent to alumni living in every state in proportion to each state's population. Of the 2,500 questionnaires mailed, 923 were returned, for a 36.9 per cent return rate.

The findings of the two studies indicated that the 1972 vacationer was more likely to travel, and more likely to venture out-of- state than was his 1960 counterpart. Families on vacation in 1972 were also more likely to participate in outdoor sports and visit points of historic interest while traveling than were the 1960 vacationers. Respondents of both surveys found it difficult to distinguish between North and South Dakota. Those respondents who were able to distinguish between the two states usually cited South Dakota's Black Hills and Mount Rushmore as the distinguishing characteristic. Over one-third of the respondents answered either "cold" or "snow" when asked to record a one-word impression of North Dakota. Finally, the percentage of respondents of the 1960 survey indicating they had seen or heard travel literature or advertising referring to North Dakota exceeded the percentage of 1972 respondents who could recall being exposed to such promotion.