Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Theses & dissertations (Interdisciplinary)

First Advisor

Timothy O. Borich


Qualitative research methodological tools such as focus groups, key informant interviews and community surveys are traditionally used to provide context to larger quantitative research studies. These qualitative research methodologies, however, may be under utilized. They may also be deployed as an effective means of creating community engagement opportunities and opportunities for cathartic reflection for community leaders in post-disaster community planning. The author argues that dialogue-based forms of community engagement are an improvement over existing citizen participation strategies, citing what is now known about social capital formation, the Community Capitals Framework, Appreciative Inquiry, and Participatory Action Research. This hypothesis is examined using the qualitative research component of the 2011 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach "Housing Needs Assessment After a Local Disaster" study which was conducted in eight eastern Iowa communities that were heavily damaged in the Iowa Floods of 2008. This examination highlights the traditional context-setting role of qualitative methods, identifies the bridge between context-setting and meaning-making, and the cathartic reflection that evolved when leaders were engaged in group settings and in one-one-one interviews that helped them reflect upon, process, and articulate their collective and individual perceptions and reactions to the Iowa Floods of 2008.

Key Words: Community Development, qualitative research methods, Community Capitals Framework, Appreciative Inquiry, Participatory Action Research, post-disaster community planning


Copyright Owner

Abigail Marie Gaffey



File Format


File Size

139 pages