Accessible Online: New Database for Political Conflicts
19 February 2016
The Institute for Political Science of Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) have jointly released a new database compiling information on both violent and nonviolent conflicts. The researchers have collected data on conflicts between states, between non-state actors and between governments and rebel groups. After several years of preparatory work, the resultant “Disaggregated Conflict Dataset” (DISCON) has been online since mid-February.
According to Dr. Christoph Trinn from the Institute for Political Science, DISCON is based on a broad-based, integrative approach to data collection, drawing on news sources and academic analyses. Quantitative conflict research therefore now provides a broader source of data than has been usual so far, he explains. “The dataset gives a reliable picture of contemporary conflict situations. It opens up new possibilities for explaining existing conflicts and for early warning,” Dr. Trinn adds. The “Disaggregated Conflict Dataset” currently comprises data on 156 conflicts in Asia and Oceania from 2000 to 2014. It is to be continually supplemented and updated.
Jasper Linke from HIIK underlines that – whereas existing datasets mainly restrict themselves to the number of fatalities as a measure of conflict intensity – the Heidelberg approach considers other consequences of political violence, as well. These include the number of displaced persons and the extent of destruction. In addition, the means of violence – weapons or personnel deployment – are recorded. Every violent conflict is broken down into months and subnational regions such as provinces and states, and its intensity is assessed on the basis of the five indicators. In all, DISCON contains over 6300 “region-month intensities” with about 31,600 individual assessments. The database is available not only for researchers but also for practitioners actively working to understand and resolve conflicts.
The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research publishes a conflict barometer each year as an up-to-date record and description of worldwide conflicts.