School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Studies in Human Society| Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Dr Danielle Every, Professor Jim McLennan (La Trobe University), Associate Professor Tania Signal
Doctor of Philosophy
Lyndsey Wright

Research Details

Thesis Name

Developing efficacious social research projects following natural disasters in Australia: a review of the history, current practice and the development of guidelines for researchers.

Thesis Abstract

This research looks at the history and contemporary practice of post disaster social research (PDSR) to develop better practice guidelines to assist researchers in navigating the complex political and ethical environment in which such research is conducted. First, it looks at the emergence of social research in the broader context of post disaster studies in Australia. Then, through a series of interviews and online surveys, the factors influencing the design and conduct of PDSR are considered from the perspective of three key stakeholder groups: researchers, the commissioning organisations and the members of relevant ethics committees. Finally, their collected wisdom is combined with insights from the literature to provide guidelines to assist the further enhancement of this important work.

Why my research is important/Impacts

It is widely accepted the outcome of climate change will be an increase in the frequency and extent of natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes, bushfires and floods. In the wake of such disasters, emergency service organisations are often called upon to explain 'what went wrong'. To support their answers, these organisations may initiate an 'independent research response'. The conduct of such studies inevitably draws upon both the professional expertise and past practice of PDSR. This research will make an important contribution in documenting the evolution of Australian PDSR. By exploring the ethical considerations, study design and sampling in PDSR will fill a gap in the existing literature facilitating the conduct of future studies.