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An Essay on Research Methodology: An Alternative Approach to Incident Command Research Through Participatory Action Research



Current incident command research faces several challenges. The incident commander's behaviour and related assessments in the crisis response are context bound, and our understanding of these factors requires close awareness of the context. Reconstruction of the on-scene behaviour encompassing situation awareness and cognitive reasoning is difficult. There is a need to develop better understanding of decision-making in crisis settings and methods for rigorous observation and knowledge elicitation. In order to understand the importance and actual influence of incident commanding, the researchers need to assess the response in real time, not only based on studying logs etc. afterwards. Participatory action research provides ideas in which the researcher, besides being an observer, would be involved in the rescue work. This raises ethical questions, but there is a need for naturalistic decision-making research to evolve beyond descriptive models.

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