CHIME Research: Focus Groups with More Vulnerable Populations

To complement and contextualize the analysis of data from social media streams on Twitter, project researchers conducted focus groups with community members in several New York City neighborhoods that were drastically affected when Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012. Over three days in mid-October 2015, focus groups were conducted in Red Hook and Coney Island, Brooklyn; Midland Beach and Port Richmond, Staten Island; and in Far Rockaway, Queens. Participants included those from Spanish-speaking communities, Russian immigrants, residents of senior housing, people with fewer economic resources, and groups that are potentially vulnerable because they are disconnected digitally from hazard information available online.

Focus group participants shared valuable insights and information about their experiences with Sandy, their concerns, and suggestions for the forecasting and emergency management community. Recordings of the focus groups have been translated, when necessary, and transcribed, and a two-page overview of initial insights has been delivered to representatives of the communities who participated in focus groups. During the first half of 2016, the team will develop a coding scheme and analyze the focus group transcripts. The analysis will 1) yield insights about how people who are more vulnerable to hurricane impacts interact with hurricane information, 2) offer ways to contextualize how the digital divide affects people who are vulnerable to an approaching hurricane, and 3) help the weather community understand the role of communication of hurricane information as a form of adaptive capacity.

Focus group participants