Risk Analysis: An International Journal

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Table of Contents for Risk Analysis. List of articles from both the latest and EarlyView issues.
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The Frontiers of Uncertainty Estimation in Interdisciplinary Disaster Research and Practice

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Conceptualizing, assessing, and managing disaster risks involve collecting and synthesizing pluralistic information—from natural, built, and human systems—to characterize disaster impacts and guide policy on effective resilience investments. Disaster research and practice, therefore, are highly complex and inherently interdisciplinary endeavors. Characterizing the uncertainties involved in interdisciplinary disaster research is imperative, since misrepresenting uncertainty can lead to myopic decisions and suboptimal societal outcomes. Efficacious disaster mitigation should, therefore, explicitly address the uncertainties associated with all stages of hazard modeling, preparation, and response. However, uncertainty assessment and communication in the context of interdisciplinary disaster research remain understudied. In this “Perspective” article, we argue that in harnessing interdisciplinary methods and diverse data types in disaster research, careful deliberations on assessing Type III and Type IV errors are imperative. Additionally, we discuss the pathologies in frequentist approaches, calling for an increasing role for Bayesian methods in uncertainty estimations. Moreover, we discuss the potential tradeoffs associated with information and uncertainty, calling for deliberate consideration of the role of diversity of information prior to setting the scope in interdisciplinary modeling. Future research guided by further reflections on the ideas raised in this article could help push the frontiers of uncertainty estimation in interdisciplinary hazard research and practice.

Trust and Risk Perception: A Critical Review of the Literature

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Many studies in the field of risk perception and acceptance of hazards include trust as an explanatory variable. Despite this, the importance of trust has often been questioned. The relevant issue is not only whether trust is crucial but also the form of trust that people rely on in a given situation. In this review, I discuss various trust models and the relationship between trust and affect heuristics. I conclude that the importance of trust varies by hazard and respondent group. Most of the studies use surveys that provide limited information about causality. Future research should focus more on experiments that test whether trust is a consequence of people's attitudes or influences their attitudes toward a technology. Furthermore, there is a need for a better understanding about the factors that determine which heuristics people rely on when evaluating hazards.

Cultural Theory's Contributions to Risk Analysis: A Thematic Review with Directions and Resources for Further Research

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Cultural theory (CT) developed from grid/group analysis, which posits that different patterns of social relations—hierarchist, individualist, egalitarian, and fatalist—produce compatible cultural biases influencing assessment of which hazards pose high or low risk and how to manage them. Introduced to risk analysis (RA) in 1982 by Douglas and Wildavsky's Risk and Culture, this institutional approach to social construction of risk surprised a field hitherto focused on psychological influences on risk perceptions and behavior. We explain what CT is and how it developed; describe and evaluate its contributions to the study of risk perception and management, and its prescriptions for risk assessment and management; and identify opportunities and resources to develop its contributions to RA. We suggest how the diverse, fruitful, but scattered efforts to develop CT both inside and outside the formal discipline of RA (as exemplified by the Society for Risk Analysis) might be leveraged for greater theoretical, methodological, and applied progress in the field.

Trends in Multidisciplinary Hazard and Disaster Research: A 1982–2017 Case Study

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

From 1982 to 2017, 539 unique awards studying extreme events and natural disasters have been funded by the Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events (IMEE), Decision, Risk and Management Science (DRMS), Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (HDBE), and Hazard Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (Hazard SEES) programs under the National Science Foundation, totaling approximately $450 million. The relationships between discipline, topic, and funding are explored through review of the data on each award's active dates, amount of funding received, specific hazards and disasters studied, and principal investigator (PI) and co‐PI affiliations. A positive correlation between award funding and increasingly larger multidisciplinary teams of PIs on projects is observed. However, these teams of four or more PIs only account for about 18% of the total number of awards. In terms of topic, projects applicable to general hazard/disaster research encompass the largest portion of awards, but not the greatest funding per award on average. Additionally, both the number of awards per year and the total funds allotted per year show an increasing trend. Finally, some of the trends in project team discipline with relation to hazards show a shift to equal numbers of engineers and social scientists on multidisciplinary teams while others remain fairly homogeneous in their team dynamics. This article provides unique perspectives on how to better allocate funds through extensive topic and funding analysis. This work is a brief analysis of trends in the hazard and disaster research community, focusing on multidisciplinary project teams and their correlation to funding amounts and research areas.

Toward Convergence Disaster Research: Building Integrative Theories Using Simulation

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Scholars across disciplines use simulation methods as tools to build theories; however, the full potential of simulation methods has not been fully used for building theories in convergence disaster research. Simulation methods could provide four unique opportunities for building theories for convergence disaster research. First, simulation methods could help researchers model the underlying mechanisms of disaster phenomena by enabling integration of qualitative and quantitative data. Second, they could help researchers specify and characterize the mechanisms affecting specific disaster phenomena by facilitating integration of empirical information with existing theoretical elements from different disciplines. Third, simulation methods could enable multilevel understanding of relationships between factors influencing disaster phenomena and emergent behaviors across different levels of analysis (e.g., individual, household, neighborhood, and community levels). Fourth, simulation methods could help researchers integrate theoretical elements on disasters across different disciplines (e.g., engineering, social science, sociology, and epidemiology) for a more convergent understanding of complex relationships affecting resilience at different levels.

Building an Interdisciplinary Team for Disaster Response Research: A Data‐Driven Approach

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Building an interdisciplinary team is critical to disaster response research as it often deals with acute onset events, short decision horizons, constrained resources, and uncertainties related to rapidly unfolding response environments.  This article examines three teaming mechanisms for interdisciplinary disaster response research, including ad hoc and/or grant proposal driven teams, research center or institute based teams, and teams oriented by matching expertise toward long‐term collaborations. Using hurricanes as the response context, it further examines several types of critical data that require interdisciplinary collaboration on collection, integration, and analysis. Last, suggesting a data‐driven approach to engaging multiple disciplines, the article advocates building interdisciplinary teams for disaster response research with a long‐term goal and an integrated research protocol.

A Decision‐Centered Method to Evaluate Natural Hazards Decision Aids by Interdisciplinary Research Teams

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

There is a growing number of decision aids made available to the general public by those working on hazard and disaster management. When based on high‐quality scientific studies across disciplines and designed to provide a high level of usability and trust, decision aids become more likely to improve the quality of hazard risk management and response decisions. Interdisciplinary teams have a vital role to play in this process, ensuring the scientific validity and effectiveness of a decision aid across the physical science, social science, and engineering dimensions of hazard awareness, option identification, and the decisions made by individuals and communities. Often, these aids are not evaluated before being widely distributed, which could improve their impact, due to a lack of dedicated resources and guidance on how to systematically do so. In this Perspective, we present a decision‐centered method for evaluating the impact of hazard decision aids on decisionmaker preferences and choice during the design and development phase, drawing from the social and behavioral sciences and a value of information framework to inform the content, complexity, format, and overall evaluation of the decision aid. The first step involves quantifying the added value of the information contained in the decision aid. The second involves identifying the extent to which the decision aid is usable. Our method can be applied to a variety of hazards and disasters, and will allow interdisciplinary teams to more effectively evaluate the extent to which an aid can inform and improve decision making.

Integrated Risk Assessment and Management Methods Are Necessary for Effective Implementation of Natural Hazards Policy

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

A transdisciplinary, integrated risk assessment and risk management process is particularly beneficial to the development of policies addressing risk from natural hazards. Strategies based on isolated risk assessment and management processes, guided by traditional “predict, then act” methods for decision making, may induce major regret if future conditions diverge from predictions. Analytic methods designed to identify robust solutions—those that perform satisfactorily over a broader range of future conditions—are more suitable for management of natural hazards risks, for at least three major reasons discussed within. Such approaches benefit from co‐production of knowledge to collaboratively produce adaptive, robust policies through an iterative process of dialogue between analysts, decisionmakers, and other stakeholders: exploring tradeoffs, searching for futures in which current plans are likely to fail, and developing adaptive management strategies responsive to evolving future conditions. The process leads to more effective adoption of risk management policies by ensuring greater feasibility of solutions, exploring a wide range of plausible future conditions, generating buy‐in, and giving a voice to actors with a diversity of perspectives. The second half of the article presents Louisiana's coastal master planning process as an exemplary model of participatory planning and integrated risk assessment and management. Louisiana planners have adopted a decision framework that incorporates insights from modern methods for decision making under deep uncertainty to effectively address the deep uncertainties and complexities characteristic of a variety of natural hazards and long‐range planning problems.

Potential of Citizen Science for Enhancing Infrastructure Monitoring Data and Decision‐Support Models for Local Communities

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Citizen science is a process by which volunteer members of the public, who commonly lack advanced training in science, engage in scientific activities (e.g., data collection) that might otherwise be beyond the reach of professional researchers or practitioners. The purpose of this article is to discuss how citizen‐science projects coordinated by interdisciplinary teams of engineers and social scientists can potentially enhance infrastructure monitoring data and decision‐support models for local communities. The article provides an interdisciplinary definition of infrastructure data quality that extends beyond accuracy to include currency, timeliness, completeness, and equitability. We argue that with this expanded definition of data quality, citizen science can be a viable method for enhancing the quality of infrastructure monitoring data, and ultimately the credibility of risk analysis and decision‐support models that use these data. The article concludes with a set of questions to aid in producing high‐quality infrastructure monitoring data by volunteer citizen scientists.

An Approach for Guiding the Development and Assessing the Interdisciplinarity of New Methodologies for Community Disaster Resilience

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

There are critical and preventable inequalities in disaster impacts and postdisaster recovery. To formulate solutions for minimizing or preventing these unequal impacts, there is a great need for interdisciplinary methodologies that use social factors to set project scopes and drive engineering analyses and designs. At present time, however, limited guidance exists on how to develop and execute interdisciplinary methodologies, especially related to the study of community disaster resilience. This article offers an approach for developing and assessing interdisciplinary research methodologies. The framework incorporates insights from social science into structural engineering for integrated research focused on community disaster resilience. The two examples offered in the article assess the interdisciplinarity of two loss estimation methodologies. The goal of this perspectives article is to facilitate future interdisciplinary community disaster resilience research given its potential for transformative outcomes in terms of encouraging decision making that is driven by the needs of those who are often overlooked in disaster mitigation and recovery policies.

Four Decades of Public Participation in Risk Decision Making

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Over the past four decades, the promise of public participation to improve decisions, obtain legitimacy, and build capacity for risk decision making and management has had a mixed record. In this article, we offer a narrative of how public participation has evolved in the United States and we examine prospects for its future. We trace three forces that have had significant impact on practice: an emergent emphasis on democratic deliberation, a transition from dichotomous thinking about science versus politics to an integrated perspective, and the recognition that different parties to the decision‐making process bring valid epistemological contributions. The promise of public participation in risk decision making is challenged by loss of trust in institutions and individuals and by broad socio‐political dynamics that are weakening democratic values and processes. These include the scarcity of attitudes and aptitudes supportive of public participation among both individuals and institutions; an anti‐democratic political atmosphere that promotes disrespect; pursuit of private interests over the common good; failure to appreciate the limitations of dialogue and learning; underutilization of existing knowledge; and insufficient knowledge of how context matters. We end by offering several suggestions for focusing further research and improving practice.

The “Inter” Within Interdisciplinary Research: Strategies for Building Integration Across Fields

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

As emphasis on interdisciplinary and convergent research grows, researchers and institutions can benefit from additional insights into how to build interdisciplinary integration within the research process. This article presents signs of successful interdisciplinary research and proposes strategies that researchers can implement to help create and sustain integration across fields. Drawing on the authors’ experiences, other examples from hazards research, and the literature on interdisciplinarity, the article asserts that successful interdisciplinary research incorporates full intellectual participation by each contributing field, forming a multiway partnership. Such work can frame new research questions, develop novel approaches, and generate innovative insights across and within disciplines. It can also address complex questions at the intersections of established fields, beyond what the collection of contributing fields can produce on their own. To build integration across fields, researchers can use strategies such as interweaving perspectives in the research foci, interacting regularly at the working level, and interconnecting knowledge and ideas throughout the research process. Another strategy is leadership that enables contributions from multiple fields and empowers interdisciplinary synthesis. During the research process, researcher commitment, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and flexibility are also important, along with patience and persistence as challenges arise.

Evaluating Collaborative Readiness for Interdisciplinary Flood Research

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Increasing trends in global flood risk are driven by a complex web of interactions among natural, built environment, and social systems. As a result, flood resilience research is an ideal topic for an interdisciplinary approach. Core characteristics of interdisciplinary research are team collaboration and the systematic integration of disciplinary knowledge, in both problem formulation and analytical methods. Indicators of interdisciplinarity tend to focus on scholarly outcomes, but collaborative processes may be even more important for knowledge integration. In this Perspective piece, we outline and advocate a two‐pronged approach to enhance potential for integrating knowledge: using collaborative proximity to assess team readiness to conduct interdisciplinary research and employing program evaluation to assess change in proximity components over time. To do so, we draw on scholarship in economic geography, team science, and program evaluation. We then connect the findings to a case study of collaboration within our interdisciplinary team of flood researchers, program evaluators, and local stakeholders, as we navigate a multi‐institutional project on flood resilience.

Interdisciplinary Research as an Iterative Process to Build Disaster Systems Knowledge

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Disasters occur at the intersections of social, natural, and built environments, and robust understanding of these interactions can only occur through insight generated from different disciplines. Yet, there are cultural, epistemological, and methodological differences across the many disciplines concerned with hazards and disasters that can make conducting interdisciplinary research difficult. Approaches are needed to overcome these challenges. This article argues that interdisciplinary disaster research can be successful when it entails an iterative process in which researchers from different disciplines work collaboratively and exert reciprocal influence to generate disaster systems knowledge. Disaster systems knowledge is interdisciplinary and is defined as a comprehensive understanding of the intersections of built, natural, and human environmental factors and their interplay in hazards and disasters. The iterative process can reduce disciplinary biases and privileges by encouraging collaboration among researchers to help ensure disciplinary knowledge complements other disciplinary knowledge, to ultimately generate interdisciplinary disaster systems knowledge. The article concludes by illustrating the process by analyzing a research case study of an interdisciplinary approach to volcanic risk reduction.

Cultivating Metacognition in Each of Us: Thinking About “Thinking” in Interdisciplinary Disaster Research

14 February 2020 - 5:52am
Abstract

Although there is an emerging literature on interdisciplinary disaster research (IDR), one of the overlooked aspects relates to our thinking itself: how to actively think about our thinking—metacognition—while embarking on our interdisciplinary journeys. This article argues that metacognition has an instrumental value both for IDR projects and for individual researchers involved in IDR. For IDR projects, metacognition can help: (1)overcome disciplinary barriers in IDR by revealing cognitive abilities and inabilities for each team member through identifying what is hindering or enabling individuals and the group to transcend disciplinary boundaries toward true integration across the disciplines; (2)deal with “wicked” problems that characterize disaster contexts in a more effective and creative manner; (3)oversee team functioning; and (4)monitor and evaluate progress toward meeting project goals and objectives. For individual researchers, metacognition can help them grow intellectually, and understand the fallacies and limitations in their thinking. It can also encourage them to live an authentic and unified life as an individual. The article concludes with guidance on how individual researchers, principal investigators of IDR projects, and institutions such as universities and funding agencies can cultivate metacognition. To our knowledge, this is the first article that introduces metacognition as a tool for enhancing our thinking on IDR.

Issue Information ‐ TOC

7 February 2020 - 2:38am
Risk Analysis, Volume 40, Issue 2, February 2020.

From the Editors

7 February 2020 - 2:38am
Risk Analysis, Volume 40, Issue 2, Page 215-217, February 2020.

Cultural Theory's Contributions to Risk Analysis: A Thematic Review with Directions and Resources for Further Research

6 February 2020 - 2:35pm
Abstract

Cultural theory (CT) developed from grid/group analysis, which posits that different patterns of social relations—hierarchist, individualist, egalitarian, and fatalist—produce compatible cultural biases influencing assessment of which hazards pose high or low risk and how to manage them. Introduced to risk analysis (RA) in 1982 by Douglas and Wildavsky's Risk and Culture, this institutional approach to social construction of risk surprised a field hitherto focused on psychological influences on risk perceptions and behavior. We explain what CT is and how it developed; describe and evaluate its contributions to the study of risk perception and management, and its prescriptions for risk assessment and management; and identify opportunities and resources to develop its contributions to RA. We suggest how the diverse, fruitful, but scattered efforts to develop CT both inside and outside the formal discipline of RA (as exemplified by the Society for Risk Analysis) might be leveraged for greater theoretical, methodological, and applied progress in the field.

Trends in Multidisciplinary Hazard and Disaster Research: A 1982–2017 Case Study

6 February 2020 - 2:35pm
Abstract

From 1982 to 2017, 539 unique awards studying extreme events and natural disasters have been funded by the Infrastructure Management and Extreme Events (IMEE), Decision, Risk and Management Science (DRMS), Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (HDBE), and Hazard Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (Hazard SEES) programs under the National Science Foundation, totaling approximately $450 million. The relationships between discipline, topic, and funding are explored through review of the data on each award's active dates, amount of funding received, specific hazards and disasters studied, and principal investigator (PI) and co‐PI affiliations. A positive correlation between award funding and increasingly larger multidisciplinary teams of PIs on projects is observed. However, these teams of four or more PIs only account for about 18% of the total number of awards. In terms of topic, projects applicable to general hazard/disaster research encompass the largest portion of awards, but not the greatest funding per award on average. Additionally, both the number of awards per year and the total funds allotted per year show an increasing trend. Finally, some of the trends in project team discipline with relation to hazards show a shift to equal numbers of engineers and social scientists on multidisciplinary teams while others remain fairly homogeneous in their team dynamics. This article provides unique perspectives on how to better allocate funds through extensive topic and funding analysis. This work is a brief analysis of trends in the hazard and disaster research community, focusing on multidisciplinary project teams and their correlation to funding amounts and research areas.

Toward Convergence Disaster Research: Building Integrative Theories Using Simulation

6 February 2020 - 2:35pm
Abstract

Scholars across disciplines use simulation methods as tools to build theories; however, the full potential of simulation methods has not been fully used for building theories in convergence disaster research. Simulation methods could provide four unique opportunities for building theories for convergence disaster research. First, simulation methods could help researchers model the underlying mechanisms of disaster phenomena by enabling integration of qualitative and quantitative data. Second, they could help researchers specify and characterize the mechanisms affecting specific disaster phenomena by facilitating integration of empirical information with existing theoretical elements from different disciplines. Third, simulation methods could enable multilevel understanding of relationships between factors influencing disaster phenomena and emergent behaviors across different levels of analysis (e.g., individual, household, neighborhood, and community levels). Fourth, simulation methods could help researchers integrate theoretical elements on disasters across different disciplines (e.g., engineering, social science, sociology, and epidemiology) for a more convergent understanding of complex relationships affecting resilience at different levels.

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