Lalonde, Emily -A Vignette-Based Field Experiment to Assess Mining Site Managers’ Perception of Threat (Dr. Brent McKnight)

A Vignette-Based Field Experiment to Assess Mining Site Managers’ Perception of Threat 

Extreme weather events such as wildfires and floods are predicted to increase due to climate change,  particularly at higher latitudes. As such,  the natural resource extraction sector in Canada’s boreal forest will become more vulnerable to these events. In order to gain a better understanding of how mining site managers perceive the threat of climate-mediated natural disasters,  a pilot study was conducted using undergraduate students from the Integrated Business and Humanities program within the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. Using a vignette-based field experiment,  four questionnaires were administered to participants,  each containing different versions of vignettes. The vignettes evaluated the participants’ perception of the threat of climate-mediated natural disasters by varying seven distinct aspects of how these events are described in reports. The vignettes tested the influence of (1) the locality of the source; (2) the nature of the source; (3) the relationship of the source to the company; (4) the terminology used; (5) the climatic timeframe included,  (6) the type of entity impacted by the disaster; and (7) the way the information is presented. The results of this pilot study will help resolve fundamental errors within the experimental design as well as gain a better understanding of what aspects of a climate report influence the participants’ perception of risk. Eventually,  these findings will contribute to the primary study to determine what aspects mining managers view as threatening. This knowledge can be used in reports by researchers and governments to target this audience more effectively.