A Combined Qualitative/Quantitative Approach to the Design of Noise Annoyance Studies

Invited paper

Ian Flindell

University of Southampton

Monday 1 june, 2015, 15:40 - 16:00

0.6 Madrid (49)

The objective of this paper is to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the combined qualitative/quantitative approach for understanding community attitudes to aircraft noise, and to illustrate the technique by describing recent practical examples. Obtaining exposure-response relationships for environmental and transportation noise which are capable of predicting actual noise annoyance has been an elusive research goal for many years. The traditional approach using large scale standardised questionnaire based (quantitative) surveys has yielded very limited consistency based on low statistical correlations which has nevertheless been generally accepted as sufficient for strategic and administrative assessment purposes. Unfortunately, the considerable differences in results observed between different studies carried out under different circumstances do not justify confidence in using harmonised relationships derived from meta-analysis for any other purpose. In our recent experience, an initial qualitative approach based on limited numbers of extended depth interviews is much more capable of providing meaningful insights into community perceptions of noise than any standardised questionnaire based approach, and can crucially transform the detailed design of a subsequent, more traditional, quantitative study, if statistically representative information is required.

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