Using a Qualitative Approach to Explore the Human Response to Vibration in Residential Environments in the United Kingdom

J. Condie, P. Brown

Abstract


As a growing number of areas in the UK become ever more densely populated, increasing construction work is being undertaken and transportation networks built in order to cope with the growing population. The development of this infrastructure, coupled with the mechanisation of modern life, often results in exposure to various types of vibration from a range of sources such as rail, road traffic and construction activity causing considerable disturbance.

 

The study of vibration effects within residential settings is a developing area of research.  Previous research on ambient stressors in residential environments has focused primarily on noise; one of the most prevalent environmental stressors in living environments.  Some noise surveys have highlighted vibration as a contributor to noise annoyance while others have explored the combined effects of noise and vibration on human response.  Research on vibration is largely a quantitative effort using laboratory experiments or social surveys with associated vibration measurements in order to establish dose-response relationships.

 

However, as the human response to vibration is particularly diverse and complex this paper aims to explore how qualitative methodologies can compliment the quantitative approach to vibration research.  People’s experiences, expectations and attitudes vary with regards to vibration, the noise it produces, and the source it derives from.   For the pragmatic researcher qualitative methodologies can help unravel some of these issues, providing a further understanding of the complexities of the human response to vibration in residential environments.


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(c) 2012

ISSN: 1759-0574