The pages in this section provide an overview of my recent thesis, accepted on December 23, 2012. Below is an overview of the purpose and primary significance of the study. Other pages in the section will provide details on specific aspects of the research.
In my thesis, I apply a methodology, that to the best of my knowledge and research, has not been used before in Emergency Management (EM)/Emergency and Disaster Management (EDM): Knowledge Domain Visualization (KDViz) using co-citation analysis.
If I have to summarize my study in a few sentences, it is that the use of KDViz enables visualization of EDM’s body of knowledge, and that the structure of that body is, in fact, the intellectual structure of the field. It allows questions of whether EDM is an academic and/or professional discipline to be answered using empirical-based analysis of the field’s own literature, 1994-2011. I believe that these co-citation network visualizations support a view that there is an academic discipline whose subject matter is study of disasters. However, this discipline is not simply EM, or EDM, but what I call Disaster Studies and Sciences (DSS). Disaster Studies and Sciences involves far more numerous disciplinary inputs than generally appreciated. These inputs are not limited to sociology, geography, human ecology, public administration, and just a few other fields. There are disciplinary inputs from across the earth sciences, social sciences, and health/medical/behavioral sciences, increasingly linked to one another over time.
Although the results appear to support a conclusion that DSS is an academic discipline, and that occupational specialties within DSS, such as Emergency Management, do have the required academic body of knowledge, they lack evidence of a sufficient professional body of knowledge to justify recognition as a profession. It should be recognized as an emerging profession, in need of greater linkage between the academic body of knowledge it is based upon, and a body of knowledge regarding its application necessary for professional practice.
A few or many may not agree with some/most/all of my conclusions, which is okay, as I see my thesis as a first step in what I hope will be a long path into a new avenue of inquiry, discussion, and research, one full of possibilities.