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Perspective ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Public Health | doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00352

A “Cookbook” for Vulnerability Research

  • 1Field Museum of Natural History, United States
  • 2Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru
  • 3Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, Peru
  • 4Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, United States
  • 5School of Public Health, University of Michigan, United States

There is a growing need to facilitate the interdisciplinary study of the relationship between the environment and human health and wellbeing. It is increasingly recognized that vulnerability is a key construct allowing discipline-specific research questions on these topics to be meaningfully contextualized. However, there is little consensus regarding the meaning of the concept of vulnerability or how it can best be utilized in research studies. In this perspective article, we use the metaphor of a “cookbook” to review promising trends in vulnerability research and to make this body of research accessible to a multi-disciplinary audience. Specifically, we discuss a selection of "recipes" (theoretical frameworks), "ingredients" (vulnerability domains), "cooking tools" (qualitative and quantitative methods), and approaches to "meal presentation" (communication of results) drawn from vulnerability studies published in the past fifteen years. Our aim is for this short “cookbook” to serve as a "jumping off" point for scholars unfamiliar with the vulnerability literature and an inspiration for scholars more familiar with this topic to develop new ways to navigate the tension between locally-specific assessments of vulnerability and attempts at standardization. Our ultimate take-home message is that the specifics theories and methods used in vulnerability research are less important than attention to what we see as the 3 'T's of transparency, triangulation, and transferability, and to efforts to make vulnerability research both "place-based" and comparable.

Keywords: Socio-ecological systems (SES), Vulnerability, Health, Place-based, Comparative, Theory, methods

Received: 17 Jul 2018; Accepted: 06 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Tallman, Valdés-Velásquez, Salmón-Mulanovich3, Lee, Riley-Powell, Blanco-Villafuerte, Hartinger and Paz-Soldan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Paula S. Tallman, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, United States, ptallman@fieldmuseum.org