Sample 1 Disaster Mitigation

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Research Proposal

Social Integration, Disaster, and Migration: A study of how social integration reduces migration intent following a natural disaster

Socy 5031 Research Design


Table of Contents


Research Problem Purpose Statement Literature Review A. Initial Findings 1. Migration Theory and the experience of natural disaster in relation to migration 2. Community Integration Theory and its relation to migration intentions 3. Community integration related to the experience of natural disasters and migration IV. Hypothesis V. Research Methods A. Quantitative Survey Questionnaires 1. Key Variables a. Migration Intentions b. Social Integration B. Qualitative Interviews C. Sampling Techiniques 1. Survey Sample 2. Interview Sample VI. Analysis of Data VII. Benefits of Proposed Research Project VIII. Project Time Line


Problem Natural disasters impact communities around the world. Whether they are in the form of flooding, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, or other, they will affect community integration and potentially an individual or family’s desire to migrate. While in general migration literature has focused theoretically and empirically on questions related to why individuals move (or the leaving process) (Guest and Stamm 1993), the question of why do some persons stay has had little empirical research. Perhaps this question has not been addressed because it seems quite self-explanatory; people stay because they have chosen to live in a certain community in the first place. However, with the introduction of a disaster into the picture of community living, this question becomes more salient to multiple areas of research.

Purpose Statement The purpose of this research is to study the effects of social integration on migration intentions with the event of a disaster as the intervening variable. This study will look at the ways that social integration assists in creating community cohesion and residential satisfaction, mediating a desire to make a residential move following a disaster event. This research is important because it calls into question the relationship of social integration as a mediating factor in decisions to remain in a disaster-affected community or to choose to leave. This is a question relevant to demographers who look at migration patterns and causes which contribute to residential moves. It will also contribute to the growing theories of social integration and social capital. On a practical note, by


examining their impact on community satisfaction, the study will benefit those community organizations whose key emphases are to provide integrative mechanisms.

Initial findings There are three areas of research which comprise the background for this project: • • • Migration theory and the experience of a natural disaster in relation to migration; Community integration theory and its relation to migration intentions; and Community integration related to the experience of natural disasters and migration. This project will incorporate these three areas of research to show the relationship between natural disaster and community integration as related to migration intentions.

1) Migration theory and the experience of a natural disaster in relation to migration Migration theories in general have focused on cost-benefit analysis (Sjaastad 1962 as presented in Speare 1974),the mover-stayer model (Goldstein 1958 as presented in Speare 1974), and migration as response to stress (Speare 1974). Human-capital theory (Kontuly, Smith and Heaton 1995) also looks at migration as a balance of costs and benefits, but includes psychic costs and non-economic amenity measures that produce quality of life. Speare introduced residential satisfaction as an intervening variable in one’s decision to migrate (Speare 1974) and looked at the strength of bonds and attachments as they are related to one’s general level of satisfaction versus their dissatisfaction. He found that


residential satisfaction is indeed a key determinant of whether a person moves or stays at the current location. DeJong, Warland, and Root (1998) echoed Spears finding that social bonds create a significant mobility-inhibiting factor. Much of the research related to natural disasters and migration has been done in developing countries. These studies have focused on the socio-economic factors which influence the decision to migrate following a disaster. The research done by Belcher and Bates (1982) discusses the impact of a disaster as a “push” to leave the area and to see the event as an opportunity creating a reason to move. Disaster impacts in developing nations are potentially severe as they affect agriculture, sanitation, and lack of water/food supplies (Swain 1996, Findley) creating a semi-voluntary move to areas that are more sustainable for human life. Relocation studies in the United States and other developed nations have focused on the effects of disaster in relation to the relocation of an entire community. Relocation appears to have different significance in the lives of community members compared with migration because an entire population is being moved to a safer area. Resistance to moves made by an entire community may be based most heavily in culture, and the attachments one has to the community and financial constraints (Mileti and Passerini 1996). The risks of remaining in an impacted area and the extent of damage to one’s assets also have an impact on the decision to relocate (Kirschenbaum 1996). In one case of an involuntary relocation due to disaster, Miller, Turner, and Kimball (1981) found that the possibility of a family’s return to their community became a critical factor in recovery.


2) Community integration and it’s relation to migration intentions Dense networks and strong ties among community members can best describe community integration. Putnam (1995) describes integration in terms of social capital and the reciprocal benefits that one receives. Haines, Hurlbert, and Beggs (1996) found that those individuals who are embedded in dense, homogenous networks receive more social support in routine and emergency situations than do individuals in wide-ranging networks and that strong ties connect individuals who have detailed knowledge of each other’s needs and multiple claims on each other’s attention (Haines, Hurlbert, and Beggs 1996). Hendrix (1976) has found that highly connected networks tend to produce stability in relation to migration. Research on relocation following a natural disaster alludes to the importance of community integration in making decisions to move. Those who are most likely to resist relocation tend to be those who have the strongest attachments to the community’s cultural roots (Mileti and Passerini 1996). In the study done by Kirshenbaum (1996), respondent’s evaluations of relations with neighbors had significant impact on their decision to relocate following the disaster event.

3) Community integration related to the experience of natural disasters Community integration will provide networks and social support for those who experience disasters. Those without strong bonds may experience greater amounts of distress in the event of a disaster as compared to those who are well plugged in to community organizations.


Haines, Hurlbert, and Beggs (1996) found “whether strong local bonds are measured by membership in fraternal organizations, service organizations, or other organizations, they significantly and positively affect the number of individuals helped.” Hapke, Mitchelson, and Dixon (2000) found that the character and strength of local social networks becomes primarily important in coping with events such as a natural disaster.

Hypothesis: social integration within a community will decrease the likelihood of disaster-event induced desire to migrate following a natural disaster.

Research methods This proposal is written partially in response to a request for proposals through the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado. Every year, The Hazard’s Center provides “quick response grants” to send research teams into the field within two weeks following a natural disaster. The proposals are to identify the kind of disaster that the team will study and a research question that is relevant to the context or to the wideranging field of the social sciences. The submitted proposal identified the Western United States as the region of study, but did not identify any particular type of disaster for study. Thus the research team will enter the field with little advance knowledge regarding the community to be studied. Regardless of the type of disaster or the regional location, the question posed remains salient. The impact of a natural disaster upon a community will create personal reactions and affect the strength of community integration. In fact, entering the field within the first two weeks of recovery from a natural disaster will directly benefit the research.


Early entry will allow participants to give responses that may be heightened by the effects of the disaster and intensify their feelings regarding community integration and migration intentions. The brevity of time for field work will also improve the content that is reported in interviews. The lack of time will improve validity of results (Bernard 1988). A natural disaster which affects multiple or single communities, provides a context in which a single case study can be explored, or multiple cases can be contrasted. A researcher might choose to use quantitative surveys to gain data or to engage in an ethnographic study of the community. However a researcher decides to approach the problem, the problem at hand will determine the method (Bryman 1984). Due to the disaster context and immediacy of going into the field, this research proposal invites a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative research in the form of a single case study. Social scientist Robert Yin describes case studies as, “the preferred method when how or why questions are being posed, when the investigator has little control over events, or when the focus is on a contemporary phenomenon within a reallife context” (Yin, 1994 as presented in Rozdilsky 1999.While field research typically yields qualitative data that is based in observation and interviews (Babbie 1989:261) this study will employ both qualitative and quantitative methods to give both breadth and depth to the research at hand. Due to a lack of preparation time immediately following the disaster, surveys will be prepared prior to case specific qualitative data is gathered. It will be designed to provide information determining community integration and residential satisfaction in relation to migration intentions following the disaster. Theoretically, this survey will be applicable to multiple disaster events and community contexts.


Qualitative field methods will be used to gather information that will fill in the gaps related to the community context and disaster event. Observation and interviews will be performed providing depth to the information gleaned from a larger sample of survey respondents.

Quantitative Survey Questionnaires Key variables and proposed measurements: Migration intentions Migration intentions serves as the dependent variable for this study. Because this is a case study with no follow up to determine the actual carrying out of migration, intentions must be understood separately from actually carrying through a residential move. This case study will be measuring one’s intentions or desires to move immediately following a natural disaster. Research on relocation following a disaster event has operationalized the dependent variable “relocation intent” in the following way: • if given the opportunity, to what degree would you be willing to leave your home and move to a safer place? (Kirshenbaum 1996) Framing intention in this manner eliminated economic and other constraints on a decision to relocate. While relocation is distinctly different from migration or residential moves in that it generally entails the move of an entire community away from the hazardous area, ‘intent to move’ and ‘related degree of desire’ are questions that are certainly applicable to migration.


Social integration Social integration serves as the independent variable made up of multiple identifiers. Social integration can be defined as the existence of strong social ties (Guest and Stamm 1993) that produce stability (Hendrix 1976). These ties may be informal through friendship and kin networks, or more formal through participation in associations or member-based activities. Social integration is measured in a variety of ways, the most obvious being the amount of time a person spends engaged in activities with the networks in which he or she is a member. A feeling of satisfaction with one’s community becomes important in measuring the extent to which integration is producing and filling its stabilizing role. The following variables are examples of ways to measure social integration: • Involvement in neighborhood groups, involvement in religious groups or churches, involvement in local school, involvement in civic organizations. Involvement will include amount of time dedicated as well as the importance of involvement to the respondent’s quality of life and the returns he or she gets from it. • Neighborly measures – familiarity with neighbors and the extent to which respondent has a trusting relationship with them. • Community satisfaction – the level of satisfaction respondent has of community overall. Because religious affiliation is the most common associational membership among Americans and is directly correlated with volunteerism and civic activity (Putnam 1995), specific measures of social integration in relation to church-related groups (or faith based


organizations) will be asked of respondents as well. These will include measures of importance of faith in respondent’s life, involvement in church activities (amount of time spent and role played), and the subjective benefits of church participation (especially in relation to the disaster event). Guest and Stamm (1993) examined pathways of community integration following a residential move. In this study, participants estimated the amount of effort expended in nine specific integration activities after a move. These activities formed three specific paths of integration. They are social and community integration, formal residential integration, and personal integration. Using these paths as models from which to evaluate integration, this survey will ask respondents to rate the importance of these activities in relation to their personal integration into the community. In order to determine the effects of the disaster on the respondent’s housing as well as their sense of safety, the survey will include a section requesting information about the respondent’s interpretation of the disaster event and its effects on him or her. Background information will be requested from respondents as well. Some of these measures are: age, gender, race, income, marital status, occupation, home ownership, and length of residency.

Qualitative interviews Upon entry into the disaster community, key informants will be identified for interviews. A structured survey guide (see Weiss 1994) will be prepared prior to entry into the field and will include the following areas for question and discussion:


1) Population and migration – racial/ethnic mix? Has there been recent migration into or out of community? Is there any community growth? 2) Economic transitions - Major employers? Unemployment? New technology entering community? Lack of opportunity in community? 3) Community member involvement – in civic affairs, at town meetings, in local faith organizations. What are the community indicators that the respondent can identify? 4) Safety in community – in relation to everyday feeling of safety and also in response to disaster. High/low crime rates? Neighborhoods working together to promote safety? Community plans for crime prevention? 5) Past hazards experience – any previous experience of disaster in community? How are they rebuilding? What groups are most actively involved? 6) Present hazards experience – effect of disaster on community now. Community aid and volunteerism that is being offered?

Sampling techniques Survey sample: The research team will be focusing on one geographic area that is greatly impacted by the natural disaster. In doing so, the sample area will be small and the respondents will be identified due to their residency in the impacted location. Therefore, the sample frame will be the impacted area. A random sample will be drawn from households within that area and will be limited to non-institutionalized literate adults over the age 18. This will provide the truest representation of the impacted population.


Within this impact area, the research team plans to sample a proportion of the community population that gives the best representation of the community. Using a drop-off, pick-up technique surveys will be individually left at a chosen residence, with the purpose of the survey being explained, face-to-face, to an adult in the household by a member of the research team. At this time, the researcher will provide an explanation of the study being done, and the usefulness it will provide to the community in which they live. Previous records of research methods used at disaster sites have shown that qualitative methods have been employed to increase the amount of data collected. Previous surveys were distributed through the mail and many were not responded to due to change of address (Paul 1999). Because these surveys are being left with residents who have been directly impacted by the disaster, it is the hope of the researcher that a face-to-face conversation will give impetus to the respondent to participate in the study. A time will be designated for the researcher to return to pick up the completed survey the following day. A plastic bag will be provided for the respondent to leave the survey on the doorknob for easy pick up. Qualitative interview sample: Qualitative interviews will be performed through non-probability sampling. Initial informants will be identified through faith organizations located within the impacted area. At least five faith organizations will be initially chosen, based on differing faith representations and proximity to the impacted area. Following this initial outreach, researchers will request leads through a snowball sampling technique (Biernacki and Waldorf 1981) in order to determine other key community informants with whom to talk.


Community informants may include civic leaders, non-governmental organization leaders within the community, and organizers who have a history in the community. In addition to these informants, interviews may be conducted with persons directly impacted by the disaster who are being sheltered in temporary housing. These interviews will be open ended and subjective, offering the respondent an opportunity to tell their story and to add greater depth to the researcher’s understanding of the pre and post disaster event. Interviews with key informants will provide the needed depth for this study on community integration measures. Because faith leaders tend to have their ‘finger on the pulse’ of what is going on in their communities, or at least among their congregants, they will be able to provide inside information about community issues that may have been affecting respondents prior to the disaster and are inflamed by the event.

Analysis of data Data analysis will be tackled upon return from the disaster site. While preliminary thematic notes will be compiled in the field at daily debriefings among team members, official data analysis will not be accomplished until returning to the University setting. Informal analysis of relevant documents gathered from the World Wide Web and news releases will assist in providing background materials in which to frame the disaster event. The approach taken will be informal content analysis (Babbie 1989:292) to gain themes about the disaster site the team will be entering. Taped recordings and notes from qualitative interviews will be transcribed as quickly as possible upon return from the field (Bernard 1988, Huberman and Miles 1994).


Inductive and deductive analysis will be mixed (Huberman and Miles 1994) as themes, and patterns are gleaned then compared with the initial hypotheses posed. This part of the research is key to provide depth to the quantitative surveys administered and to fill in the gaps about the disaster and community as related to the disaster. Quantitative surveys will be analyzed using statistical techniques to determine the correlations between variables. Researchers will use bivariate and multivariate techniques to measure the effects of independent variables on the dependent variable (McClave and Sincich 2000:578). Tables will be compiled to demonstrate the relationships between the variables.

Benefits of the proposed research project Population and migration theorists, disaster theorists, and social integration theorists have made valuable contributions to the field of social research. Often, their areas of expertise overlap to produce important findings that are beneficial to the social sciences and other areas of study. With the multiple theories available about migration in relation to disasters and the social capital that is challenged with moves, there is little work done on why people choose to stay following a disaster. This research project will provide key connections between migration and population, disasters, and social integrations and will produce new findings about the interrelations between each. The outcomes of this research will provide useful information to demographers charting migration patterns, disaster researchers who are looking at community integration in relation to recovery efforts and relocation responses, and to


social integration theorists who measure the effects of social capital in the lives of community members. In addition to academic importance, this research will provide findings for community leaders interested in understanding the influence that community ties have upon residents. There are many other possible outcomes that can be deduced from this research, one of which is the specific measure of one’s involvement in faith-based organizations as a key social integrator. Thus, this research may provide impetus for faith based, community based, and civic organizational leaders to create programs that will foster deeper ties and greater social networks among community members.

Project Time Line Due to the nature of a quick response grant, a research plan that can be implemented quickly and succinctly will enable researchers to enter the field and accomplish their tasks within the time alloted. The following time line is representative of this fact.


Submit initial Quick Response Research Proposal to the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. (October 12, 2000) A. The proposal that was submitted presented a basic overview of the association between social integration, residential satisfaction, and migration intentions within a post-disaster context. This proposal that you are currently reading is much more in depth and focuses on the aspect of social integration.


Receive approval for project funding from Natural Hazards Center at the


University of Colorado. (November 10, 2000) B. Project is approved for possible funding should an event occur that meets the criteria outlined in the submitted proposal. III. Submit any surveys to institution’s IRB for approval before entering field. (currently in process.) A. Attempt any pre-testing that might be applicable IV. V. Wait for and identify disaster site and type Review literature on type of disaster research team will be encountering A. Review any news releases about disaster VI. Use World Wide Web and census information to locate information about the community and to determine preliminary understanding of community demographics. VII. Identify and contact local authorities to receive any necessary clearances to enter disaster site/community VIII. Identify and contact key informants in community A. Church leaders B. Civic leaders C. Community leaders IX. Enter field work site, divide research team to accomplish tasks A. Team I – qualitative interview team 1. Begin interviews with informants 2. Use snowball sampling to identify other key contacts 3. Collect any other demographic information available


B. Team II – quantitative survey team 1. Identify geographic boundaries of survey area 2. Begin door to door drop off and instructions 3. Pick up completed questionnaires 4. View disaster site as non-participant observer 5. Assist in interviews with informants (especially those directly affected by disaster) C. Daily fieldwork will include debriefings of the research efforts, to compare field and interview notes, and to process any difficulties that may be encountered in the field. X. Analysis of data A. Return home and begin data analysis B. Begin write up of report with outcomes


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Kontuly, Thomas, Ken R. Smith, and Tim B. Heaton. 1995. “Culture as a Determinant of Reasons for Migration.” The Social Science Journal. 32:179-193. McClave, James T. and Terry Sincich. 2000. Statistics; eighth edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Mileti, Dennis S. and Eve Passerini. 1996. “A Social Explanation of Urban Relocation after Earthquakes.” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. 14:97110. Miller, Judith A., Joseph G. Turner, and Edith Kimball. 1981. “Big Thompson Flood Victims: One Year Later.” Family Relations. 30:111-116. Paul, Bimal Kanti. 1999. “Flash Flooding in Kansas: A Study of Emergency Response Victims Perceptions.” Quick Response Report #118. Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder Putnam, Robert D. 1995. “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” Journal of Democracy. 6:65-78. Rosdilsky, Jack L. 1999. “Disaster Recovery in an On-Going Hazard Situation on Montserrat: The July 20 1999 Volcanic Dome Collapse.” Quick Response Report #121. Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, Boulder. Speare, Alden Jr. 1974. “Residential Satisfaction as an Intervening Variable in Residential Mobility.” Demography. 11: 173-188. Swain, Ashok. 1996. “Environmental migration and conflict dynamics: focus on developing regions.” Third World Quarterly. 17:959-973.. Weiss, Robert S. 1994. Learning From Strangers. New York: The Free Press.


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