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

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With the assistance of ENGL 231C students at Old Dominion University, Dr. Daniel Richards and Mrs. Megan McKittrick led this study testing the usability of Climate Central’s Risk Finder tool. The study was conducted as a client-based, service learning project for a Technical and Scientific writing course, serving client Dan Rizza at Climate Central, a nonprofit research organization. The study serves as a way for local collegiate students to be able to gain knowledge about the execution of faculty-level research. The Risk Finder tool allows users to view the potential effects of sea level rise on their area. The tool also shows predictions of how flooding from storms could affect users’ lifestyles. The Risk Finder tool’s collection of data from various organizations provides users with a wealth of information customized to their specific interests. Citizens of Hampton Roads, Virginia prove crucial to this experiment; citizens’ responses to Climate Central’s most recent technology will show researchers how the tool’s information affects the residents and how they handle negative predictions. The usability testing will require a sufficient sample size of approximately 8-10 users from the area. The users will be requested to disclose their name, contact information, availability, and length of time spent in the Hampton Roads region. The participants will use the Risk Finder tool under observation and participate in interviews. If more than 10 users volunteer for the study, a representative sample will be compiled for participation in interviews and exploration of the Risk Finder tool. Informing residents of high-risk areas, like Hampton Roads, about climate change is crucial to the safety of these areas. Increasing the usage and popularity of a tool like Risk Finder could potentially decrease environmental and infrastructural damage due to climate change and sea level rise.