Qualitative Methods and Disaster Research

March 1997 (VOL. 15, NO. 1)

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This paper discusses the existing and potential linkages between qualitative research and disaster research. It begins by considering recent trends in qualitative research relevant to disaster studies and lists misconceptions which readers should peruse before passing judgment on qualitative research. The recent trends will likely influence qualitative disaster research, especially in the areas of data analysis and writing. The paper also identifies strong linkages between qualitative and disaster research, and the unusual opportunities qualitative researchers have enjoyed within disaster research. Beyond these linkages, this essay also identifies both problems and the potential of qualitative disaster research, including expanding data collection methods, nurturing the next generation of qualitative disaster researchers, and latching onto rapidly developing computing technologies for qualitative research. The author concluded with a “wish list” for future qualitative disaster research.