Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-365
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-365
 
02 Feb 2022
02 Feb 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Surveying the Surveyors to Address Risk Perception and Adaptive Behaviour Cross-study Comparability

Samuel Rufat1,2, Mariana Madruga de Brito3, Alexander Fekete4, Emeline Comby5, Peter J. Robinson6, Iuliana Armaș7, Wouter J. W. Botzen8, and Christian Kuhlicke3,9 Samuel Rufat et al.
  • 1CY Cergy Paris University, 95011, Cergy-Pontoise, France
  • 2Institut Universitaire de France, 75005, Paris, France
  • 3Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, 04318, Germany
  • 4Institute of Rescue Engineering and Civil Protection, TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences, Betzdorferstr. 2, 50679 Cologne, Germany
  • 5University Lumière Lyon 2, UMR 5600 EVS CNRS, Lyon, 69007, France
  • 6Department of Environmental Economics, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1111, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 7University of Bucharest, 010041, Bucharest, Romania
  • 8Department of Environmental Economics, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1111, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 9Institute for Environmental Sciences and Geography, University of Potsdam, 14468 Potsdam-Golm, Germany

Abstract. One of the key challenges for risk, vulnerability, and resilience research is how to address the role of risk perceptions and how perceptions influence behaviour. It remains unclear why people fail to act adaptively to reduce future losses, even when there is ever richer information available on natural and human-made hazards (flood, drought, etc.). The current fragmentation of the field makes it an uphill battle to cross-validate the results of existing independent case studies. This, in turn, hinders comparability and transferability across scales and contexts and hampers recommendations for policy and risk management. To improve the ability of researchers in the field to work together and build cumulative knowledge, we question whether we could agree on (1) a common list of minimal requirements to compare studies, (2) shared criteria to address context-specific aspects of countries and regions, and (3) a selection of questions allowing for comparability and long-term monitoring. To map current research practices and move in this direction, we conducted an international survey – the Risk Perception and Behaviour Survey of Surveyors (Risk-SoS). We find that most studies are exploratory in nature and often overlook theoretical efforts that would enable the comparison of results and an accumulation of evidence. While the diversity of approaches is an asset, the robustness of methods is an investment. Surveyors report a tendency to reproduce past research design choices but express frustration with this trend, hinting at a turning point. To bridge the persisting gaps, we offer several recommendations for future studies, particularly grounding research design in theory, improving the formalisation of methods, and formally comparing theories and constructs, methods and explanations while collecting the most-in-use themes and variables and controlling for the most-in-use explanations.

Samuel Rufat et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-365', Michael Lindell, 20 Feb 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Samuel Rufat, 02 May 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-365', Lara Mani, 24 Mar 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Samuel Rufat, 02 May 2022

Samuel Rufat et al.

Samuel Rufat et al.

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Short summary
It remains unclear why people fail to act adaptively to reduce future losses, even when there is ever richer information available. To improve the ability of researchers to build cumulative knowledge, we conducted an international survey – the Risk Perception and Behaviour Survey of Surveyors (Risk-SoS). We find that most studies are exploratory and often overlook theoretical efforts that would enable the accumulation of evidence. We offer several recommendations for future studies.
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