Civic and Community Engagement | Climate | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies

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The threat of sea level rise is unknown to many coastal residents living in the United States, including Virginians. Climate Central, a nonprofit research-based organization, has created the Risk Finder tool to help inform the public about the potential dangers posed by sea level rise. Risk Finder is an interactive, online mapping tool intended to inform residents of useful data concerning sea level rise. Dr. Daniel Richards and Mrs. Megan Mckittrick from Old Dominion University acted as primary investigators for a study of the Risk Finder tool, serving client Dan Rizza of Climate Central. Students of ENGL 231C served as secondary investigators for observation and transcription of results. This civic learning project consists of usability testing conducted on Climate Central’s new Risk Finder tool. Investigators of this project reached out to residents of Hampton Roads via informational flyers to request participation in the research study and the survey questionnaires following. Research sessions were conducted with a total of 8-10 participants, an ample sample size for this type of research. Participants were interviewed before and after they used the Climate Central website, and were observed in their unstructured use of the Risk Finder tool for the allotted time. These usability tests serve the client, Dan Rizza, by providing useful feedback to Climate Central, including potential enhancements to make the Risk Finder tool more efficient and useful for the public. Results from this research help researchers in the field of study to better understand methods to communicate information on sea level rise to citizens in a way that connects with the public.