Construction and Validation of a Scale to Measure Drought Effects (Case Study: Sohrein Village, Zanjan County)
In recent decades, frequency and severity of drought have been predominated among the other natural disasters which influence the human societies. Droughts rank first among all natural hazards when measured in terms of the number of people affected. Although as a natural hazard, droughts differ from other natural hazards in several ways. First, the onset and the end of a drought are difficult to determine, the impacts of a drought increase slowly, often accumulate over a considerable period and may linger for years after termination. Therefore, a drought is often referred to as a creeping phenomenon. Second, it is difficult to define a drought which leads to confusion for not having a universal definition of drought. Third, drought impacts are nonstructural and spread over large geographical areas than damages that may result from other natural hazards. In contrast to floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes, a drought affects water bodies of water resources structures and it seldom results in structural damage. For this reason, the quantification of the impact and the provision for relief are far more difficult for droughts than for other natural hazards. Fourth, human activities can directly trigger a drought unlike other natural hazards, with exacerbating factors such as over-farming, excessive irrigation, deforestation, over-exploiting available water, and erosion, adversely impacting the ability of the land to capture and hold water. However, drought is a normal, recurrent feature of climate that occurs in virtually all climate zones, from very wet to very dry. Drought is a temporary aberration from normal climatic conditions, thus it can vary greatly from one region to another. Drought is different than aridity, which is a permanent feature of climate in regions where low precipitation is the norm, as in a desert. Given the importance of drought, it seems that precise study and understanding of drought and specially review and assess the its effects is the first step to manage and deal with drought. It is obvious that the study and understanding of any phenomenon (such as drought) requires to develop and apply scales and tools which can measure scientifically and accurately all aspects of a specific phenomenon.
Matherials and
Regarding the importance of the issue, the main objective of this study was to construction and validation of a scale to measure drought effects using confirmatory factor analysis. The research method of the study in terms of the nature, rate and degree of control and method of data collection was quantitative, non-experimental and field research, respectively. The statistical population of the study consisted of all the heads of households in the Sohrein village (N= 603). According to the Krejcie & Morgan table, a sample size of 220 was selected using the random sampling technique (n=220). Data were collected by a questionnaire. In general, the questionnaire consisted of two parts including respondents’ profiles and respondents’ viewpoints about the importance of each drought effect (24 variables). A five-point Likert scale (from 1= very low to 5= very high) was used to measure the second part. The content validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by a panel of experts. The confirmatory factor analysis was used in order to determine the construct validity (e.g. convergent, divergent and nomological validity) and the reliability of the instrument and estimate the measurement model using the AMOS20 software.
Discussion and
The results showed that the importance of all four factors mentioned in the research conceptual model has been verified based on field data (appropriate fit of the model) and these factors including: environmental, economic, social- psychological and ecological had a significant relationship with construct of drought effects. Also, the results indicated that among the four mentioned factors, two latent variables of economic and environmental had the most effect on explaining the main research construct. In general, based on the results, it can be stated that the scale/ tool designed to assess the effects of drought had enough of validity and reliability and the model which was developed based on theoretical and experimental background (conceptual model), was well adopt to reality and was supported by field data. Thus, scale/ model developed in this study was appropriate to assess the effects of drought and can contribute to measure drought effects in the rural regions in the future research.
Geographic Space, Volume:16 Issue: 54, 2016
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