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Toward Convergence Disaster Research: Building Integrative Theories Using Simulation

Ali Mostafavi, N Emel Ganapati
Risk Analysis: An Official Publication of the Society for Risk Analysis 2019 March 18
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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