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‘Come Back at Us’: Reflections on Researcher-Community Partnerships during a Post-Oil Spill Gulf Coast Resilience Study

1
ByWater Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
2
Department of Sociology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
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Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
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School of Social Work, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
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Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8010008
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 2 January 2019 / Accepted: 3 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Engaged Scholarship for Resilient Communities)
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PDF [311 KB, uploaded 7 January 2019]

Abstract

This paper presents findings from eight post-hoc interviews with individuals representing the key community partner organizations that facilitated and hosted data collection for an in-person mixed-methods survey about disaster resilience and preparedness in three communities on the Gulf Coast (U.S.) impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and numerous disasters from natural hazards. We submit our analysis of these follow-up interviews with community partners as a case study to provide a set of recommendations for future community-engaged research practices, particularly in the field of environmental and disaster resilience. Input from community partners stressed the importance of engaging with local community brokers to enhance trust in research; researcher-partner communication; and researcher interaction with community residents that respects local knowledge and culture. The partners indicated that even communities that have often been the subjects of post-disaster studies are receptive to research participation, especially when the effects of disasters are long-term and ongoing. Recommendations include using research methodologies that are congruent with post-disaster community characteristics such as educational attainment; collaborating with community partners to disseminate research findings; and incorporating theories and practices that center critical reflection and consider power dynamics when working with communities that have experienced disaster and trauma. View Full-Text
Keywords: community engagement; disaster; oil spill; resilience; research methods; Gulf Coast; research ethics; community-engaged research community engagement; disaster; oil spill; resilience; research methods; Gulf Coast; research ethics; community-engaged research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lesen, A.E.; Tucker, C.; Olson, M.G.; Ferreira, R.J. ‘Come Back at Us’: Reflections on Researcher-Community Partnerships during a Post-Oil Spill Gulf Coast Resilience Study. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 8.

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