Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between bushfire operations and the frequency of firestorms. The change in firestorm frequency between 1881 and 1981 illustrates
system memory in the relationship between before and after. Prior to 1919 or between 0 and 38 on the horizontal axis, the graph is shaped like the tip of a cone. After 1919,
bushfire operations increasingly moved away from traditional practices and the graph
took on a cyclonic shape.This graph can be used to project trends. It plots “before” or
the year before on the horizontal axis against “after” or the year after i.e. at 0, 1881’s
data on the horizontal axis is plotted against 1882’s data on the vertical, 1882
(horizontal) against 1883 (vertical) etc… through to 100, which represents 1981. This measurement tool is known as a system of change and made it possible to forecast firestorms’ dramatic increase into the 21st century.
Over the years of university and augmenting the dole with bushfire risk assessments forr Development Applications, I developed research tools to model operations. My research clarifies knowledge gaps, competing claims to knowledge and contradictions. Analysis using authoritative principles for establishing empirical validityi includes all relevant subject matter, often necessitating an interdisciplinary approach.
The rules for empirical validity enable me to assess the validity of findings from different fields to
inform research with cutting-edge and valid information. Fields used to improve the rigour of
analysis include bushfire science, meteorology, military studies (in particular situation awareness),
risk analysis, agent based modelling and the psychology of stress and cognition. I have studied
agent based modelling and borrowed a concept from one of its theorists, Paul Ormerod to model
systems of changeii in my PhD. My cyclone-shaped system of change model (below) is based on an
historic database of a century’s archival records.
i See Pagano, Robert R. (2003) Understanding Statistics in the Behavioural Sciences 8th edn Belmont CA: Wadsworth Publishing; Strauss, Anselm L & Corbin, Juliet M (1998) Basics of Qualitative Research Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory 2nd edn United States of America: Sage; Bourdieu, Pierre; Chamboredon, Jean-Claude & Passeron, Jean-Claude (1968, 1991) The Craft of Sociology Epistemological Preliminaries Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter.
ii Ormerod, Paul (1994) The Death of Economics 1st edn England: Faber & Faber pages 153-161.