8.1 An Introduction to Social Science Research for Weather Professionals: A Pilot Group's Success Story

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 10:30 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Laura Myers, Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL; and V. Brown and D. Arnold

The weather enterprise is faced with many challenges that technology and other meteorological advancements cannot solve alone. One of those challenges is the public’s perception of severe weather. Determining why some people take appropriate actions during severe weather events while others do not - requires a deeper understanding of human behavior that only quality social science research can provide. This presentation is an overview of a social science research in meterology set of courses piloted with the National Weather Service which was intended to introduce weather professionals to the expanding role social sciences have in the weather enterprise. Through lectures, webinars, activities, and online learning content, the information presented in this curriculum provided the pilot class participants with the knowledge necessary to: formulate quality research questions; develop a plan for and conduct social science research; extrapolate key findings from the research data; and present those findings in a manner that benefits the weather enterprise through gaining a better understanding of human behavior.The curriculum is an applied approach to understanding social science applications designed to teach participants by actually working through the development and completion of an applied study of their own interest. The pilot group comprised of National Weather Service personnel possessing extensive knowledge and representing key areas in the weather enterprise from across the country learned about the structure and methodologies of applied social science research. Each pilot group participant was tasked with developing a research problem based on contemporary issues, designing the research using proven social science research methodologies, reviewing existing literature, conceptualizing data collection & analysis, and then developing a report to see their research through to operations. A brief overview of their project proposals will be presented.
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