DOING HAZARDS AND DISASTER RESEARCH

In examining hazards and disasters through disciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary lenses and perspectives (see Chapters 3 to 6), social science researchers have used a variety of technologies and methods. They have employed both quantitative and qualitative data collection and data analyses strategies. They have conducted pre-, trans-, and post-disaster field studies of individuals, groups, and organizations that have relied on open-ended to more highly structured questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. They have used public access data such as census materials and other historical records from public and private sources to document both the vulnerabilities of social systems to hazards of various types and the range of adaptations of social systems to specific events. They have employed state-of-the-art spatial-temporal, statistical, and modeling techniques. They have engaged in secondary analyses of data collected during previous hazards and disaster studies when such data have been archived for this purpose or otherwise made accessible. They have run disaster simulations and gaming experiments in laboratory and field settings and assessed them as more or less realistic. As research specialists, hazards and disaster researchers have creatively applied mainstream theoretical and methodological tools, thereby contributing to their continuing development and use.

The Commonality of Hazards and Disaster Research

The technologies and methods of hazards and disaster research are indistinguishable from those used by social scientists studying a host of other phenomena (Mileti, 1987; Stallings, 2002). That is as it should be. However, the simultaneity of hazards and disasters core topics within chronological and social time is a source of theoretical complexity, the consideration of which calls for creative applications of the most robust technologies and methods that are available. As noted in Chapter 1 (see Figure 1.2 and its related discussion), chronological time allows partitioning of collective actions by time phases of disaster events (pre-, trans-, and post-impact). The primary explanatory demands of hazards research in chronological time are to document interactions among conditions of vulnerability, disaster event characteristics, and pre-impact interventions in the determination of disaster impacts (see Chapter 3). The primary explanatory demands of disaster research in chronological time are to document interactions among disaster event characteristics, post-impact responses, and pre-impact interventions in the determination of disaster impacts (see Chapter 4). However, such straightforward partitioning in chronological time is not feasible with social time because, as discussed in Chapter 1, pre-, trans-, and post-disaster time phases become interchangeable analytical features of hazards



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