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Time for change? Applying an inductive timeline tool for a retrospective study of disaster recovery in Montserrat, West Indies

Sword-Daniels, V.L.; Twigg, J.; Loughlin, S.C.. 2015 Time for change? Applying an inductive timeline tool for a retrospective study of disaster recovery in Montserrat, West Indies. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 12. 125-133. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.12.006

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Abstract/Summary

The recovery process unfolds over a long time and can last for decades, yet most studies of recovery are over short timeframes or represent points in time across the process. Long-term disaster recovery studies are necessary in order to understand the process and the changes that are promoted by disasters over many years. Retrospective methods offer opportunities to gather a dataset of changes over long periods of time, yet concerns with the reliability of participant recall create challenges for research. Retrospective studies need improved data gathering techniques to facilitate reliable recall. This paper documents the use of an inductive timeline in a retrospective study of disaster recovery for the healthcare system in Montserrat, West Indies. Drawing on creative approaches in the literature we developed a timeline tool for use within focus group settings. We conducted four focus groups with healthcare staff in 2011 (n=7, n=8, n=6 and n=7) to gather retrospective data over the extended period of the eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano (episodic since 1995). The approach yielded rich empirical data of changes to the healthcare system observed by the participants over time. Triangulating the results with secondary data (where available) and interviews demonstrated excellent participant recall using this technique. This approach potentially opens-up a field of study in long-term disaster recovery for historical events or cases where poor records have limited their study to date. Further applications could include study of long-term change processes in different social and environmental contexts.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2014.12.006
ISSN: 22124209
Date made live: 10 Dec 2015 09:36 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/512398

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