Identifying factors contributing to social vulnerability through a deliberative Q-Sort process: an application to heat vulnerability in Taiwan

Mabon, Leslie and Shih, Wan-Yu (2022). Identifying factors contributing to social vulnerability through a deliberative Q-Sort process: an application to heat vulnerability in Taiwan. Natural Hazards (In press).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-022-05280-4

Abstract

Extreme heat events are gaining ever more policy and societal attention under a warming climate. Although a breadth of expertises are required to understand drivers of vulnerability to hazards such as extreme heat, it is also acknowledged that expert assessments in group settings may be subject to biases and uneven power relations. In this Technical Note, we outline a structured deliberative process for supporting experts to work collaboratively to assess social vulnerability to a climate-related hazard, in this case extreme heat in Taiwanese cities. We argue that adapting elicitation approaches such as Q-Methodology for use in collaborative settings can help to organise expert discussion and enable dialogue and mutual learning, in a way that supports consensus-building on vulnerability assessment. Outcomes from our collaborative assessments suggest elderly people living alone, elderly people over 75, pre-existing circulatory diseases and level of participation in community decision-making may all be notable drivers of heat vulnerability in the Taiwanese context. Methodologically, we argue that collaborative sorting exercises offer a way to embed local and experiential knowledges into assessments of available evidence, but that strong facilitation and additional checks are necessary to ensure an inclusive process that reflects the diversity of perspectives involved.

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