New method alleviates post-disaster interview fatigue when collecting survivor experiences

disaster survivor

A new approach to interviewing people in the aftermath of a disaster aims to avoid interview fatigue symptoms, according to new research in the Journal of Design Research. Carlota Cubelos and Motoharu Onuki of The University of Tokyo and Miguel Esteban of Waseda University, in Tokyo, Japan, explain how the gamification of the interview process can be useful in collecting survivor experiences.

Interview fatigue commonly arises where researchers repeatedly approach survivors of a disaster or crosis for their thoughts, insights, and experience. The feelings of weariness or the dulling of experiences through repeated telling can lead to coloring of the very memories and insights the interviewers hope to glean from their interviewees. The researchers point out that before starting any new study, the emotional status of prospective interviewees should be considered and techniques adapted accordingly to make study participants feel comfortable and able to reflect constructively. The gamification of the interview process might well be useful strategy in this context and a positive way to preclude interview fatigue.

The team used the approach to establish what older people needed in the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Their work showed that the game created an environment where people felt comfortable sharing their experiences and thoughts as well as being able to discuss their needs and strengths. The findings could be useful in developing solutions to improve resilience in the face of future disasters, the team suggests.

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