Free Essay: Examples of Data Collection Methods in Emergencies

Published: 2022-09-08
Free Essay: Examples of Data Collection Methods in Emergencies
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Data analysis
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1158 words
10 min read

There exist different methods of data collection in emergency preparedness. The data collection methods range from one-on-one interviews with the victims of the disasters and any other key stakeholders (Kiongo, 2015; National Academy of Sciences, 2015) to satellites of high scientific sophistication and remote sensing systems (Zolala, 2010; Limited, 2015; NZDL, 2018). Data collection methods used in emergencies can be categorized as either quantitative or qualitative. One of the qualitative data collection techniques is referred to as the interviews. Informant interviews can be conducted with public health professionals to determine the level of preparedness and the epidemiology and surveillance response activities following an outbreak of a disaster (NZDL, 2018). Other methods of data collection include aerial photography (National Academy of Sciences, 2018), geospatial means (Hodgson, Battersby, Davis, Liu, & Sulewski, 2014) and remote sensing (Emmanouil & Nikolaos, 2015).

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Case Study 1

Responses employed in the three studies were varied. In the first cases study, the 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami (IOT), diverse set of responses to the tsunami were employed depending on the foreign countries which offered assistance needed to alleviate the suffering that resulted from the IOT (Bird et al., 2011). For instance, the Australian government responded to the disaster by sending AusAID teams of healthcare professionals and by supplying the affected individuals with necessary medical supplies via the AusAID emergency store. Also, assistance and aid provided by the Australian government were estimated to be more than AU$100 million, which was used to rehabilitate and reconstruct the destroyed cities and provide relief. The Australian government also sent aid and assistance to other countries, other than Australia, affected by IOT such as Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and Thailand (Bird et al., 2011).

Case Study 2

In the second case study, Java tsunami that ravaged the south coast of western Java in Indonesia, the Australian government was also at the forefront responding to the victims' plight following the tsunami (Bird et al., 2011). The Australian government sent assistance via AusAID to carry out on-ground assessments. The assessments were conducted qualitatively, through video interviews of the survivors, was meant to collect data related to the experience of the survivors. Interviews were done using the participants' local language when the interviewee was chosen not to have the interview carried out in English. On the other hand, the survivors' socio-demographic data were collected quantitatively. The interviews were carried out to explore ways in which deaths could be avoided or reduced if another disaster of the scale occurs in future. The survivors explained how they were able to escape death (Bird et al., 2011).

Case Study 3

In the last case study, South Pacific tsunami of 29 September 2009, the Australian government was the key country that provided a quick response following the disaster (Bird et al., 2011). More specifically, the Australian government gave AU$2 million worth of support to Samoa, followed by another AU$5 million that was used for the process of reconstructing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure. Additionally, the response provided by the Australian government was in the form of communication assistance, search and rescue, provision of accommodation, and transportation and logistics related to medical equipment. Through NGOs, the Australian government also offered support by providing specialists in critical areas related to the overall health of the survivors such as social work, psychology, and water and sanitation. This was done through Australian Red Cross (Bird et al., 2011).

The social investigation of the South Pacific tsunami was conducted through interviews (Bird et al., 2011). The questionnaire items were both in English and Samoa and were meant to elicit survivors' responses regarding what occurred during the tsunami, how individuals responded to the tsunami, and the needs of the population during this time. The data collected during these interviews enabled the investigators to prioritize the needs of the affected individuals, such as mental and emotional support and basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. Through these interviews, rebuilding efforts were put in place. Also, people's income-generating activities were re-established (Bird et al., 2011).

Similarities and Differences in the Three Approaches

One of the similarities in approaches used in the three types of case studies is that the Australian government was at the forefront in responding to the victims' plight in all the three emergencies. In both case 1 and case 2 studies, Australian government assistance was delivered through AusAID medical teams. However, the difference between case 1 and case 2 studies is that in the third case study, Australian government assistance was delivered through the Australian Red Cross rather than through AusAID. Another difference between the three case studies is that interviews and questionnaires were used for data collection in case study 2 and case study 3, but data collection approach was not specified in case study 1.

Strategy for Improving Data Collection Method

I propose that in addition to interviews and questionnaires, the group collecting data should collaborate and coordinate with other national and international organizations that are involved in the provision of help after such tragedies. Informant interviews should have also been carried out before these disasters to determine the level of preparedness and surveillance response activities following an outbreak of a disaster. Other strategies involve the use of remote sensing and aerial photography (Emmanouil & Nikolaos, 2015).

Justification of Choice the Strategy

Unlike in the case where only one international organization, such as AusAID, is involved in data collection, coordination of more than one organization enhances the reliability and validity of the collected data. Additionally, it is vital to undertake informant interviews before the disaster in order to assess how prepared individuals are to respond to the disaster. Lastly, the use of remote sensing and aerial photography are beneficial because it provides accurate information on the precise location of an emergency (Bala & Tom, 2017).


Bala, P., & Tom, S. (2017). GIS and Remote Sensing In Disaster Management. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, 3(5).

Bird, D. K., Chague-Goff, C., & Gero, A. (2011). Human response to extreme events: A review of three post-tsunami disaster case studies. Australian Geographer, 42(3), 225-239.

Emmanouil, D., & Nikolaos, D. (2015). Big data analytics in prevention, preparedness, response and recovery in crisis and disaster management. In The 18th International Conference on Circuits, Systems, Communications and Computers (CSCC 2015), Recent Advances in Computer Engineering Series (Vol. 32, pp. 476-482).

Hodgson, M. E., Battersby, S. E., Davis, B. A., Liu, S., & Sulewski, L. (2014). Geospatial data collection/use in disaster response: a United States nationwide survey of state agencies. In Cartography from pole to pole (pp. 407-419). Springer.

Kiongo, J. G. (2015). Disaster Preparedness among Members of Staff at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi County, Kenya. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Kenyatta University.

Limited, E. G. P. (2015). New perspectives in global environmental disasters. Emerald Group Publishing.

National Academy of Sciences (2015). Data dissonance in disasters. Retrieved from

National Academy of Sciences (2018). Improving data collection capabilities and information resources. Retrieved from

NZDL (2018). Data gathering and emergency management. Retrieved from

Zolala, F. (2010). Data collection after massive natural disasters (focusing on Bam earthquake, Iran). Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, 19(5), 541-547.

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