Conferences provide a welcome break to the isolation of dissertation work and a forum in which to challenge ideas. They are a tremendous opportunity to meet others in your discipline and fellow researchers working on similar topics. I was honored to have my abstract accepted and present the current results of my dissertation work at the Society for Applied Anthropology, https://www.sfaa.net/. They held their annual meeting in Philadelphia around the theme of sustainability and issues of migration and displacement, climate change, risk and disaster, and access to education, SfAA 2018 Annual Meeting Program.
The SfAA is a very active community applying anthropology in the field, and it was a privilege to hear from and talk to people working on similar research problems. In particular, there was a large body of ethnographic research on people's experiences during and recovering from hurricanes, including preliminary work on the 2017 Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Puerto Rico. My presentation of an agent-based model of social network dynamics in hurricanes provided an interesting contrasting research method. Taken together the results of ethnographic and modeling methods illustrate how qualitative and quantitative methods can complement each other and improve understanding of human behavior in these events.
Key findings in my research presentation include:
1. A conceptual timeline of events through the hurricane cycle.
2. Supportive functions for social networks throughout the cycle
3. Network ties are prioritized and leveraged -- shifting ego networks
At this point in my dissertation I have the empirical data and framework for a simulated social experiment on social networks through a hurricane cycle. My primary focus will be on coding the model using Java and MASON. Up to now the challenge has been to collect and format empirical data for import into the model, but in the next few months I will be working to encode realistic human behavior and export network data formatted for social network analysis (SNA).
The full presentation "From Networks to Recovery" covers the foundational work for my dissertation and is also available here. Comments and feedback are most welcome.