Over the last 15 years, NOAA has made great strides in integrating social and behavioral sciences in part through externally funded research projects. The goal of these efforts is to improve the communication of forecast products, assess the verbal and visual presentation of uncertainty, understand hazardous weather decision environments, and more. While much social and behavioral science research exists on these topics, it is not always presented in forms most accessible to forecasters and physical science researchers. This also makes navigating how to successfully integrate social science findings into physical science research and operational products challenging.
This is what inspired the Weather Program Office’s Social Science Program to increase the accessibility of social science research within NOAA—both for operational meteorologists and research scientists, through launching WPO’s Social Science Program’s internal Google site!
Through our engagements with the operational community, both during our 2019 Social and Behavioral Science Research to Operations Workshop and with forecasters at the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, as well as with the OAR FACETs Working Group, we learned that new social science research is often challenging to access without paid journal subscriptions, professional memberships, or access to specific libraries. Even with access to journal articles via the NOAA Central Library, turning social science research results into actionable, research-guided recommendations needs some translation. This became our goal for the Social Science website.
This site acts as a centralized hub for relevant social science research findings, resources, webinars, and trainings related to hazardous weather. We aim to translate social science findings into digestible, usable, and useful online content. One way we are doing this is by increasing access to journal articles and annotated bibliographies. In collaboration and consultation with the NOAA Central Library, the website includes a collection of social science journal articles, including PDF links, and annotated bibliographies . These annotations, which are lists of citations to books, articles and documents, followed by brief descriptions and evaluative paragraphs, strive to provide high-level overviews of journal articles. Furthermore, they aim to increase one’s ability to navigate and access journal articles about a given topic.
Another way to make social science more accessible is understanding the value of social science integration through firsthand stories. These “value stories” seek to highlight how operational meteorologists and research scientists have used social science research to change NOAA products, practices, processes, policies, and more. We anticipate that these stories both communicate the value of social science research and inspire the broader NOAA community to use such research to address operational challenges.
It is our hope that both research scientists and operational forecasters alike will use the resources on this internal Google site, and in the process, help increase the visibility and accessibility of social science research across the agency.
The website is available here: https://sites.google.com/noaa.gov/wpo-social-science/home
Please note: This is an internal Google site, so only those with a noaa.gov email address will be able to access it.
Written by Alexus Moore and the Social Science Program Team