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Title: Knowledge sharing for disaster risk reduction : the potential for collaborative learning between earthquake science and humanitarian NGO communities of practice
Author: Quinn, Keira
ISNI:       0000 0004 7229 1476
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2017
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The need to achieve a greater understanding of the potential for shared learning between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) is internationally recognised through the Sendai Framework for DRR. This is complemented by academic calls for interdisciplinarity in addressing disasters along with a growing interest in the concept of social learning as a lens through which to explore processes of collaboration in environmental management. Adopting a social learning approach this research uses a Community of Practice Framework to explore the potential for shared learning between earthquake scientists and humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) based in the UK and Ireland. The thesis is based on qualitative interviews carried out with earthquake scientists and humanitarian practitioners, as well as individuals working at the interface of the two groups. Additional empirical evidence includes workshop recordings from a particular example of earthquake science-humanitarian collaboration. The analysis defines earthquake science and humanitarian NGOs as separate Communities of Practice (CoPs) and seeks to understand the elements uniting community members around a shared sense of enterprise, as well as gaining insight into the learning practices unique to each group. It highlights the crucial role of legitimacy in driving one's motivation to participate within a specific CoP or engage in cross-community learning. It finds high degrees of difference in community knowledge and culture to be presenting barriers to knowledge exchange. Mapping the multiple ways in which boundary work takes place between the CoPs the thesis finds those engaged in cross-community activities to be experiencing marginalisation, and current attempts to overcoming marginality to be ineffective. Recognising that the inherent challenge of evaluating boundary activities lies at the root of why they tend to be unsupported, the study seeks to adopt a postpositivist approach to evaluation, exploring alternative methods of critiquing boundary work in the short term. Wider political and economic factors are seen to underpin the potential for earthquake scientists and humanitarian practitioners to undertake fruitful collaboration in the long-term. To conclude, the thesis discusses structural implications and recommendations for supporting shared learning and legitimising boundary work between the earthquake science and humanitarian NGO communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available