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  • How can we make disaster management evaluations more useful? An empirical study of Dutch exercise evaluations
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How can we make disaster management evaluations more useful? An empirical study of Dutch exercise evaluations

Source(s):  International Journal of Disaster Risk Science (IJDRS)

The evaluation of simulated disasters (for example, exercises) and real responses are important activities. A key issue is how to make them as useful as possible to professionals working in disaster risk management. Here, the authors focus on three aspects of a written evaluation: how the object of the evaluation is described, how the analysis is described, and how the conclusions are described. This empirical experiment, based on real evaluation documents, asked 84 Dutch mayors and crisis management professionals to evaluate the perceived usefulness of the three aspects noted above.

The results showed that how evaluations are written does matter. Specifically, the usefulness of an evaluation intended for learning purposes is improved when its analysis and conclusions are clearer. The findings indicate the importance of how emergency exercise evaluations are documented and underline the need for clear guidelines. The authors believe that such guidelines should help professionals to improve their work, notably by indicating the criteria used to arrive at any conclusions and supporting arguments. Otherwise, reports risk being perceived as “fantasy documents” (Birkland 2009), gathering dust on a shelf. Finally, the authors argue, an evaluation is not an end in itself; rather it is a means to achieving a higher goal or purpose.



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  • How can we make disaster management evaluations more useful? An empirical study of Dutch exercise evaluations
  • Publication date 2020
  • Author(s) Beerens, Ralf Josef Johanna; Tehler, Henrik; Pelzer, Ben
  • Number of pages 14 p.
  • ISBN/ISSN 10.1007/s13753-020-00286-7 (DOI)

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