Unit 2: Perception of hazards, vulnerability and risk
- Students will distribute a web-based natural hazard and risk survey to their social network (e.g., friends and family).
- Students will analyze the resulting data set to determine the level of knowledge, risk perception and preparedness of their community to natural hazards.
Context for Use
It is critical that, prior to starting Unit 2, instructors have created a Google link for the Natural Hazards Survey (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Oct19 14) to give to students to distribute to their social networks and save the data set that will be used for analysis; information can be found in Help for Google Docs for Natural Hazards Survey (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Oct19 14). It is also of utmost importance to create packets of graphs for each group for Part A and B - Excel Template for Research Questions (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 320kB Oct19 14), where instructions can be found under "Teaching Notes and Tips."
Before starting this unit, it is necessary to have a lecture or discussion on factors that shape perception of risk, where you can use either Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Geoscience Courses (PowerPoint 3.8MB Oct28 14) or Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Social Science Courses (PowerPoint 485kB Oct27 14). This will help guide students in how to examine and analyze the data. There are also articles posted in "References and Resources" to assist students in analyzing risk perception for their communities.
Necessary materials for class activities include access to computers with Excel and Word.
- For Part A, plan to set aside at least one class period to go over the materials.
- For Part B, plan to set aside at least one to two class periods to start analyzing research questions. Having access to computers or a computer lab is recommended so that the instructor can interact with groups and help with creating tables and graphs from the data set.
Description and Teaching Materials
Unit 2 Student Instructions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 28kB Oct19 14): This file contains the worksheets for both Part A and Part B.
Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Geoscience Courses (PowerPoint 3.8MB Oct28 14): This lecture introduces and outlines risk and vulnerability for geoscience courses and also includes an optional case study based on Baberi et al. (2008).
Introduction to Risk and Vulnerability for Social Science Courses (PowerPoint 485kB Oct27 14): This lecture introduces and outlines risk and vulnerability for social science and Interdisciplinary courses.Under "Teaching Tips and Tools" there are files designated to help students create graphs and tables in Excel and Google docs.
For this unit, the class will conduct an initial analysis of a subset of the survey data (Part A Worksheet). A class discussion of the data and research questions will be followed by a more in-depth analysis of the entire survey data (Part B Worksheet). Work is to be completed in the same groups created in Unit 1.
The class will analyze the survey data created from the natural hazards survey. The instructor will provide a set of results (Excel plots) to each team. The instructor will instruct students on how to analyze the survey results. Students will assess (1) the state of knowledge, (2) state of risk perception, and (3) level of preparedness by answering the questions below.
Students will first complete the Part A Worksheet (one per group) using the subset of graphs provided by the instructor.
Class Discussion — to be held after answering questions in Part A Worksheet:
- What was the most interesting graph(s) and why?
- What are you curious to learn about this population? What additional factors might influence results of each graph (e.g., age, gender)? Why?
- Come up with several research questions to explore with the data set (as a class, we will refine these research questions).
If class time permits, encourage students to start on Part B.
Part B (start in class and finish in next class and/or as homework)
Have students complete the Part B Worksheet (per group) using the full set of graphs and raw survey data provided by the instructor. The full set of graphs will include an electronic copy of the full, raw data set (Google frequencies, Excel file) and a full set of graphs. The graphs include Google-produced plots and the four research questions graphed by the instructor. The instructor should assist students in developing or refining a research question to test with the data set. Encourage students to share saved copies of the group research questions and graphs so that each person within the group has a copy.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Prior to Unit 2 the instructor will create packets of graphs for each group. For Instructors Only:
Provide time for student groups to complete Part A Worksheet, followed by class discussion.
Provide time or assign as homework Part B Worksheet. For Instructors Only:
Additional information on survey data analysis is provided below:
- Introduction to Social Survey Methodology (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 63kB Oct19 14): An introduction to social survey methodology, particularly useful if you want students to think about creating new questions for the survey.
- Help for Excel (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 926kB Oct19 14): Help file on how to create graphs in Excel.
- Help for Google Docs for Natural Hazards Survey (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Oct19 14): Help file for how to create frequencies graphs and pivot tables in Google docs.
- Coding for Excel (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 69kB Oct19 14): An alternative tool (if time permits) to teach about coding in Excel.
Unit 2 Part A Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 20kB Oct19 14): Rubric for students — Part A
Unit 2 Part B Rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Oct19 14): Rubric for students — Part B
References and Resources
Journal Article: Barberi, F., M. S. Davis, R. Isaia, R. Nave, & T. Ricci. "Volcanic Risk Perception in the Vesuvius Population." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (2008): 172(3), 244-258. (web link provided)
Journal Article: Cutter, S.L., B. J. Boruff and W. L. Shirley. "Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards." Social Science Quarterly (2003): 84(2):242-261.
Journal Article: Lovekamp, William E., and Sara K. McMahon. "I Have a Snickers Bar in the Trunk of My Car: Student Narratives of Disaster Risk, Fear, Preparedness, and Reflections on Union University." International Journal of Mass Emergencies & Disasters (2011): 29(2):132-148.
Journal Article: Siegrist, M., and G. Cvetkovich. "Perception of Hazards: The Role of Social Trust and Knowledge." Risk Analysis (2000): Vol. 20, No 5: pp 713-719.
Journal Article: Wachinger, Gisela, et al. "The Risk Perception Paradox: Implications for Governance and Communication of Natural Hazards." Risk Analysis (2013): 33(6): 1049-1065.
Journal Article: Wood, Nathan. "Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards." U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet (2011): 2011-3008, 2 p.
Article web link: Why residents of disaster-prone areas don't move. Atlantic social science article by Harvey Molotch explains or provides reasons for why people may not leave disaster-prone areas.