My Dissertation Research Diary: 2018 Hurricane season ends

Welcome again to another installment in my series of blogs: My Dissertation Research Diary. 

In this installment, I introduce the context for my Area  of Practice (AOP), Disaster Management, dealing specifically  with hurricanes which is the theme of my dissertation for the Open University’s, MSc Technology Management. 

I will also review my progress on deciding on a topic of my dissertation, due in 2020.  I will look at the core problem that  I want to explore with a view to defining it more sharply, and have a look at my research aim and objectives.


Hurricane Season

The 2018 Hurricane seasons in the Atlantic and the  Pacific came to and end on Friday

According to Wikipedia, the Eastern Pacific season begins May 15th, while the Central Pacific season begins June 1st. The online encyclopedia went on to say that this season saw the highest number of storms in the East since 1992, and saw three category 5 storms, an occurrence recorded in 1994 and 2002. 

The Atlantic  Hurricane season runs from June 1st to  november 30th. Ever since since  Hurricane  Irma and Maria left a trail of devastation in the Caribbean last September, my interest in the environment peeked. I found that the subjects that I was studying  in my postgraduate certificate and  diploma  were not only timely, but provided me with a large array of concepts and frameworks through which I could analyse the world around me with a deeper appreciation.

Meanwhile, 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season saw the US hit hard by hurricanes and typhoons this year. From the Marianas in the Pacific Ocean, to the Florida Panhandle and to the Carolinas. In the Pacific, besides the Marianas, Hawaii suffered substantial rain damage from Hurricane Lane. Hurricanes Florence and Michael also did catastrophic damage to communities in the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Carolina. 

In the Caribbean, Hurricanes Beryl, Kirk and Isaac caused considerable concern for the Windward islands. Although none of the hurricanes made landfall in the the region, reports of landslides and the compromising of bailey bridges in Dominica, In November  Portsmouth suffered severe flooding. and roofs being blown away in St Lucia during tropical storm Kirk’s passage across the lesser Antilles  Trinidad and Tobago would be inundated with catastrophic flooding on an apocalyptic scale caused by an active Inter tropical convergence zone (ITCZ).

Research justification

While it will not be until January 2019 I will know who my supervisor is and whether my research synopsis is accepted, this is good time and place to look at my research question and identify a problem to explore in greater detail. 

To do this, that is why the literature research on my topic will reveal what is already written on the subject and one is able to identify areas that could inform my own research and contribution to knowledge. 

Already in my preparation for the official start of  T802, my topic has gone through several iterations:

“An investigation into the best practices regarding the transfer of technological processes and methods towards the rehabilitation of a small island in the wake of a direct hit by catastrophic category 5 hurricane.”



Ultimately, in my research I want to examine the issue of  uncertainty in countries like  Dominica which are prone to disasters, and which is now 439 days into its recovery from the devastation left from Hurricane Maria on September 18, 2017.

It is clear from media reports that as the country rebuilds, hazards are a continual challenge. From troughs, thunderstorms and even future hurricanes or other disasters like earthquakes could undo the work being carried out.

Using theories offered from my postgraduate studies, I want to suggest that organisations need to move from simply management and administration to a mind-set of being an organisation involved with technological innovation, and therefore needs a business model that reflects the innovative nature of dealing with disasters. 

Consequently,  I recommend business model innovation that is mindful of the sectoral approach. A business model that seeks add value to its products and services through being not only later adopters of disaster management  technologies, but innovators themselves using local knowledge, analysis and product development. 

In my research,  I will highlight the drivers of eco-innovation and what are the barriers towards  Dominica achieving its goal of becoming the first climate resilient nation in the world.


Photo: Weather Underground. (2018).