Survey – communicating earthquake-related science

By Grant Jacobs 26/09/2012

Join a survey aiming to improve the science communication of natural disasters.

What do you believe is important when the science of earthquakes and ways of minimising earthquake-related disasters are being communicated?

The survey is looking for adults of all ages and walks of life, from NZ or overseas so head on over and take part. Full details on the survey are in the appendix below.

It’s painless and you’ll help University of Otago geology student Vivienne Bryner with her Ph.D. studies at the Department of Geology and the Centre for Science Communication. The survey should take approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the detail participants choose to give. Responses are anonymous.

I’ve included a selection of Canterbury (Christchurch/Lyttelton) earthquake posts below the Appendix for those wanting further reading or to look back.


The information is background information for the survey and required as part of the ethical approval for the work.


Thank you for showing an interest in this project.
Please read this information sheet carefully before deciding whether or not to participate.  If you decide to participate we thank you.  If you decide not to take part there will be no disadvantage to you and we thank you for considering our request.

What is the Aim of the Project?
This project is being undertaken as part of the requirements for a PhD.
The PhD looks at how aspects of earthquake-related disasters and ways of minimising them are being communicated in the mass media and whether this is serving people’s information needs.  The questions asked of participants relate to their opinions about how earthquake-related information, and how to minimise disasters, is communicated.

What Type of Participants are being sought?
The aim is to achieve as wide a group of participants as possible.
Participants include persons over 16 years of age and will include ‘general public’ who have various degrees of direct or indirect experience of the Canterbury earthquakes as well as scientists, policy- and decision-makers and advocates of disaster risk reduction.  While it is anticipated that most respondents will reside in NZ, your living overseas does not preclude your participation.

What will Participants be Asked to Do?
Should you agree to take part in this project, you will be asked to answer 9 survey questions on-line. Completing the survey is likely to take between 10 and 20 minutes depending on the detail of the answers given.

You may decide not to take part in the project without any disadvantage to yourself of any kind.

What Data or Information will be Collected and What Use will be Made of it?
The survey is anonymous – no personally identifying information is being asked, or will be recorded.  The data collected will be securely stored in such a way that only those mentioned below will be able to gain access to it. Data obtained as a result of the research will be retained for at least 5 years in secure storage.   The results of the project may be published and will be available in the University of Otago Library (Dunedin, New Zealand).

Can Participants Change their Mind and Withdraw from the Project?
You may withdraw from participation in the project at any time and without any disadvantage to yourself of any kind.
What if Participants have any Questions?
If you have any questions about our project, either now or in the future, please feel free to contact either:
Vivienne Bryner, Centre for Science Communication,  University Ph Number: +643 479 7848 or Prof. Jean Fleming, Centre for Science Communication, University Ph Number: + 643 479 9465

This study has been approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee. If you have any concerns about the ethical conduct of the research you may contact the Committee through the Human Ethics Committee Administrator (ph 03 479 8256). Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated and you will be informed of the outcome.

A selection of Canterbury (Christchurch/Lyttelton) earthquake articles on Code for life:

6.3 earthquake in Christchurch

Lyttelton earthquake peak ground acceleration

The psychology of the Christchurch earthquakes

Christchurch earthquake, buildings and acceleration maps

Christchurch (Lyttelton) earthquake ground movement captured by satellite imagery

Christchurch rockfall

Christchurch earthquake, buildings and acceleration maps

Christchurch/Lyttelton Feb 22nd 2011 earthquake – questions and answers