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How are disasters described in scientific and popular literature? - An exploratory study on how subsequent literature reproduces information about disasters using the example of Tenerife.

Wurster, Hanna (2013) How are disasters described in scientific and popular literature? - An exploratory study on how subsequent literature reproduces information about disasters using the example of Tenerife.

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Abstract:When a huge disaster like the airplane collision at Tenerife or the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl occurs, one reaction are hundreds of publications, in which authors try to explain the cause and state out the lessons learned from the incident, or use it otherwise as an example to strike home a particular point. These publications are still published decades after the disaster happened. The purpose of the present study is to investigate how authors reproduce information about disasters over the course of time, in scientific and popular publications retrieved from the internet. This question was investigated by using the case of the Tenerife accident (ground collision of two aircrafts with 583 fatal injuries on March 21, 1977). In general, 67 publications retrieved from internet were analyzed by means of content-analysis using a coding scheme. The results show a considerably large reduction of the number of mentioned accident causes in comparison to the number of causes mentioned in the official accident investigation report. Furthermore, some causes are mentioned quite often, while others are not mentioned at all. No difference was detected between scientific and non-scientific literature concerning the number of mentioned causes in general, the number of mentioning different categories of causes or the number of mentioning the gist. Furthermore, no difference regarding the genre was detected concerning the ratio of the number of words of the whole publication and the disaster description on the one hand and the number of words of the disaster description in general on the other hand, with exception of the cause ‘bad weather/ bad visibility’. In addition, no changes over the course of time concerning the mentioning of causes in general, the mentioning of specific categories of causes and the gist were found among all publications. With regard to the number of words no changes over the course of time were found concerning the ratio of the number of words regarding the whole publication and the disaster description on the one hand and the number of words regarding the disaster description on the other hand, with exception of a change in the number of words regarding the accident causes ‘bad weather/visibility’ and ‘miscommunication’. The present exploratory study provides a first insight to this field and can be seen as basis for further research.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/63365
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