As a long-time researcher and writer in the EM field, the Diva noted with interest and chagrin this presentation titled Utilization of Research Literature. Although this research was done in one university program at one point in time, the results probably are an indicator of major changes and problems in higher education in EM today. And they are quite distressing to me.
The author is Dr. Deborah Persell of Arkansas State University, who presented her study results at the workshop preceding the 2016 Higher Education in Emergency Management Symposium this past week. If you would like to talk to her about this study, her contact info is: email@example.com.
The lack of interest in and utilization of research results in the EM field is not a new one. For example see: Knowing better and losing even more: the use of knowledge in hazards management (2001), written by Gilbert White, Robert Kates, and Ian Burton (all eminent and long-time researchers) in 2001. Given the emergence of the Internet and of online education in the EM field since 2001, major changes are likely to have occurred.
The Diva is very interested in this topic and would like to know if anyone else done a recent study or attempted to measure the utilization of EM literature and research? She would like to hear about some additional studies and experiences.
I have worked both sides now – academia and practical – and the gap truly exists. As a government contractor, contracting allows me to bring practical experience to the table but frequently it is dismissed in the policy arena as not sophisticated enough. Then we watch as programs are dismantled only to be reinvented again in 10 years as a new idea. The ‘ideal’ successful solution is supposed to take 2 to 4 years; no one is looking long range – 20 to 50 years – to understand a problem and develop the necessary incremental solutions. AARs help provide this input but it is also true that so many times, organizations want to check the box that they passed the ‘test’ with an “A.” We seemingly have not moved beyond the insecurities that these exercises are not judging people; they judge a process and things.
Comment from William Waugh via Linked In:
There are also studies showing that policy makers and Practitioners don’t even use the so-called “lessons learned” drawn from AARs and other reports. There is little learning going on. Katrina demonstrated that policy and program were driven by officials not burdened by EM experience and expertise. Bridging the gap between theory and practice is one thing, using experience to inform practice is something else.
Well, in a few lines the problem is captured!