MEMO: How to grasp technical perturbations at "Industriepark Höchst"?


Initially, I got interested in the subject as I had heard from a friend who lives close by the industrial plant about a technical perturbation recently. What astonished me about the incident, was that they were not informed by any "official" site, like alarm systems or announcements on the streets, about the fact that they were supposed to stay inside and close the windows until the situation had been resolved, but by friends via social media platforms. When we started with the case study, I therefore looked for reports and newspaper articles about technical perturbations. However, I was surprised that many of the reports were quite short in the style "xy happened and inhabitants of the surrounding area were notified to yz", and seemed not to have been followed up on afterwards. I am therefore now wondering in what relation this is to be seen to what my friend reported, namely that they had not been notified? To shed light on this, it would be quite interesting to not only do online research, but also conduct interviews with people living in Höchst, asking them about their experience, and compare this to online resources. Further, I am wondering whether I just have not dug deep enough, and the internet might provide such reports as well? Possibly, Twitter could be used as a resource in this regard, as this is a social media platform that people actively engage with and sometimes share personal experiences. However, I am unsure of whether and in which ways this could be used "professionally"?

Structure and publication of case study:

When I read the course descriptions including a case study before the semester started, I was a bit hesistant to join as I had not done any "group-work" for several years - not since basic physics and chemistry courses in my first semesters to be exact (which was not a very pleasant experience since there was usually a lot of pressure to perform in a certain way and obtain a certain result in the very limited time). Further, I was afraid not to be able to make any contribution, since I lack experience in qualitative research. As we started with the case study, I did not really know what to expect, and am still a bit confused about what research questions and ends we are heading for. However, I feel that I lost some of my hesitation to contribute, as to the appreciative work environment, and the instructors notion that we don't have to publish eventually, if we do not feel comfortable to do so. I would be interested in posting the case study to the Disaster network, but knowing that we don't necessarily have to puts me more at ease for the moment (working under pressure kills creativity for me).


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