Research Tools Category Archive
Tue, Sep 13, 2016
Ukrainian Dialogue Support Platform
The European Forum for International Mediation and Dialogue as developed an interesting project using technology to support the work of face-to-face dialogue facilitators working in the Ukraine. The project is online at http://dialoguesupport.org Here’s a description of the initiative from the developers:
The Ukraine Dialogue Support Platform is an online and in-country platform that helps Ukrainian dialogue actors connect with each other, understand their needs, and communicate with national actors and the international community, utilising interactive, modern dialogue technologies.
Our goal is to generate positive thinking to help transform the conflict that has affected Ukraine since 2013, utilising modern technologies and dialogue expertise. We connect Ukrainian dialogue experts with people at all levels of society, allowing for horizontal dialogue, and fostering exchange with the policy level and the international community. Ultimately, the platform helps define options for regional engagement, reform, and a way forward. We do this through an in-country project that supports
local dialogue efforts and an online platform that allows us to map, analyse and present the results of these efforts and expand their reach.
Mon, Jul 25, 2016
PeaceTech Lab’s Open Situation Room Exchange
The PeaceTech Lab, spun off from the U.S. Institute for Peace, has released a new conflict monitoring and situational awareness platform called the Open Situation Room Exchange or OSRx for short. The project provides regularly updated visualizations of a growing number of datasets that previously were too complicated for conflict intervenors to access in meaningful ways without a tech staff and a data analysis budget. Available views include a global overview and country specific views. A recent interview with Noel Dickover, technical director of global network strategies at PeaceTech Lab provides some background on the goals of the project.
Real-time information: The OSRx pulls in real-time information from both social media and news sources. For social media analytics, we use Crimson Hexagon’s powerful ForSight platform to build social media monitors capture the conversation around conflict, and then send the results via Application Programming Interface (API) to the OSRx. They apply the Global Database of Events, Language and Tone (GDELT) dataset for news analytics. Real-time information includes word clouds, topic wheels and line charts on social media volume and the instability of news coverage.
Structured Indices: The OSRx has incorporate a number of structured indices. These cover the gamut of topics including governance issues, risk of violence, economic concerns, education, gender and technology. Structured indices do not change often - they are usually updated yearly or quarterly.
Of particular interest for the more casual user is the social media monitoring of facebook and twitter for indicators of tension and instability and violence.
Thu, Jul 02, 2015
The Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX)
The Humanitarian Data Exchange is a relatively new project from the UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) seeking to improve the access and quality of humanitarian data available to peacebuilders. The project is addressing three elements that when combined should greatly improve the tools available to conflict intervention and prevention specialists. The first element is an open access repository where data providers can upload their raw data sets; the second element, dubbed HDX Analytics, involves the development of a refined database of high-value data that can be compared across countries and crisis. Finally, the group is working to create a set of shared standards for humanitarian data formatting known as the Humanitarian Exchange Language. As of the time of this post, 1,885 Datasets covering 244 locations from 286 different sources are available, many with useful visualizations already provided.
Mon, May 12, 2014
Engaging Conflict for Fun and Profit: Current and Emerging Career Trends in Conflict Resolution
A new report has been published by the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (aka MACRO) exploring career trends in Conflict Resolution. Based on my initial review I think it represents the best information available at the moment (early 2014) on this important topic.
The report is entitled Engaging Conflict for Fun and Profit: Current and Emerging Career Trends in Conflict Resolution and it was developed by Robert J. Rhudy in conjunction with the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO). You can find the full report here (pdf).
As the representative quotes (see below) from the report that I have selected suggest, it is quite a mixed bag (some positive, some not so much) regarding employment opportunities. First up is an example of a hopeful finding coming from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its May 2012 report, projected a 14% growth rate in the conflict resolution field for the period 2008-2018, stating that:
[E]mployment of arbitrators, mediators and conciliators is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018. Many individuals and businesses try to avoid litigation, which can involve lengthy delays, high costs, unwanted publicity and ill will. . . . Demand will also continue to increase for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators because all jurisdictions now have some type of dispute resolution program.
On the other hand, there is considerable evidence to suggest that jobs are not easy to come by, as suggested by this quote:
Making a living as a mediator… is anything but fun for many of those trying…[While] there are some mediators who are busy enough to gross a million dollars or more per year…the private mediator market is similar to markets for entertainers or professional athletes…[S]upply exceeds demand. More mediators want to enter the market than there are mediation jobs…
The author of the report, Robert Rhudy, has also posted an online version (shortened?) of the study over at Mediate.com if you want to browse it that way. Robert has done the field a real service by pulling together this information and sharing it publicly.
Tue, May 28, 2013
Training Modules for Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding
The Learning Portal for Design, Monitoring and Evaluation for Peacebuilding is a web resource promoting good practice among peacebuilding professionals by sharing resources and creating a community of practice. The website currently hosts close to 500 resources openly shared with the broader community.
A key resource on the site is a set of learning modules developed by Search for Common Ground on the basic processes involved in the design, monitoring and evaluation of peacebuilding initiatives. This collection is presented as a series of 26 downloadable pdfs. Here’s the description from the portal listing:
This self-guided modular curriculum breaks the project cycle down into easily manageable stages as they relate to the design, monitoring and evaluation of peacebuilding projects and programs. The modules are meant to enable peacebuilders to learn simple, practical, and effective tools to design high quality programs and follow them up with rigorous monitoring and evaluation. It is primarily intended for program staff and M&E specialists working in peacebuilding and conflict transformation programming.
Developed by Search for Common Ground, the curriculum is based off SFCGâ??s Designing for Results: Integrating Monitoring and Evaluation into Conflict Transformation Programming, authored by Cheyanne Church and Mark Rogers. The modules synthesize key messages of Designing for Results, and expands on the original publication by providing real-life examples, tips and practice exercises to deepen your understanding and comprehension of this crucial knowledge for effective peacebuilding.
Wed, Nov 14, 2012
The field of public engagement practice has developed into a rich domain of knowledge and techniques that draw on the “wisdom of crowds” and seek to make shared decisions in effective and just ways. The new website entitled Participation Compass (based in the U.K.) provides a good window into the available processes and resource guides currently available. It extends earlier work done at a site called PeopleandParticipation.net which was created with funding from the UK Department for Justice, the UK Department for Communities & Local Government and the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
The key feature of the site is a search tool that helps you narrow down your tool choices based on the goals you have for your public engagement initiative. Here’s the categories of interest:
Build skills and capacity of participants
Gather individual pre-existing opinions
Gather informed and considered opinions (deliberation)
Generate new ideas (innovation)
Create a shared vision amongst participants
Reach consensus and overcome conflict
Make a direct decision
Mon, Oct 08, 2012
The Possibility of Popular Justice book viewable online via HathiTrust
I was browsing the HathiTrust Mobile Digital Library this evening for the first time. These are books that were scanned and digitized by the Google Books project. I was excited to see that the excellent edited volume on community mediation and the community boards model entitled The Possibility of Popular Justice: A Case Study of Community Mediation in the United States is available in full view mode. Definitely worth reviewing if you are a fan of community mediation and the history of alternative dispute resolution more generally.
Wed, Sep 19, 2012
Search TV News via the Internet Archive
A new tool from the Internet Archive lets users search the closed caption text from more than 350,000 news broadcasts and then browse video clips from the found results. Pretty amazing stuff. What’s even more exciting is that new content is added within 24 hours of broadcast, letting users follow the current political season in a new way.
Here’s a link to a sample simple search on cyberbullying. You can narrow the search to specific broadcasters if you like. Comedy Central, Fox News, PBS and MSNBC are just a few of the choices available.
Way to go Internet Archive!
Fri, Jun 08, 2012
Peace Accords Matrix
The Peace Accords Matrix housed at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies is a research tool that provides rich data on the comprehensive peace agreements that have been signed since 1989. Twenty-eight accords are currently available in the matrix, with an additional 9 in the pipeline for release in 2012. The accords have been coded on some 50 different themes enabling researchers to compare cases on topics such as electoral reform, power-sharing, ceasefires, demilitarization, use of peacekeeping forces, etc. The full text of each peace accord is provided, as well as a timeline of important dates and events in the conflict and peace process and information on its implementation. Using an interactive map, you can access information on the duration, levels and effects of violence in conflict hotspots across the globe. The project was inspired and motivated by the late John Darby, former Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Notre Dame. More information on the Peace Accords Matix is available in this 17-page conference paper introducing the project.
Wed, Jun 06, 2012
Database and Timeline of Global Nonviolent Actions
Swarthmore College, under the leadership of George Lakey, is now hosting the Global Nonviolent Action Database (GNAD) providing details on more than 500 examples of nonviolent actions used to protest, protect or change local practices. The database is a great resource for scholars of nonviolence and even better, it has been made available via a Creative Commons license. Recently as I was learning more about the use of Google Refine (a tool for cleaning up and repurposing large datasets) I decided to try using the GNAD dataset to build a timeline. Thanks to another open access project called Timeline.js I was able to produce an interactive timeline built from GNAD data. The timeline gets its data from a google spreadsheet built to serve as the datasource. To change the timeline, you could just update the spreadsheet and it would be reflected in the timeline the next time it is viewed. The timeline.js tool lets you embed the resulting timeline in any website, making the final product shareable in other interesting ways. You can try out the results of my project here.
Mon, Feb 20, 2012
Conflict Resolution Jobs site
Readers of this blog might be interested in some of the job listings displayed at a new site called Conflict Resolution Jobs. It was developed by Cape Cod area mediator Marsha Ostrer. The project provides a portal to job posting provided by a variety of job listing services, filtered as best possible to show only relevant jobs for people in the conflict resolution field. While not perfect, there are plenty of on target listings that are all available in one place. In addition to the broadly-focused conflict resolution page the site has separate pages for listings related to Arbitration, Facilitation, Mediation, Negotiation and Ombudsman opportunities.
Ostrer received support and inspiration to develop the site at a Cape Cod Entrepreneurship Weekend hosted by the Cape Code Chamber of Commerce.
Sat, Dec 17, 2011
Pearltree of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) Links
As part of an online course I’m just finishing up I developed a collection of links on the subject of Technology Assisted Dispute Resolution, more commonly known as ODR. The collection is presented as a “pearltree” which is a kind of mindmap-style organizational tool for web resources. You can view my Online Dispute Resolution Pearltree here.
Sat, Oct 22, 2011
Governance Commons - a new project from the CRInfo team
Guy and Heidi Burgess of the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado have partnered with the One Earth Future Foundation to produce a new resource portal known as the Governance Commons focused on addressing challenges facing individuals and groups committed to good governance. A prospectus explaining the project is available here as a pdf. The core focus of the project is to provide resources and information to address a number of core challenges that make providing good governance hard work.
In addressing governance failures, the Commons focuses on improving our ability to handle nine often unmet challenges:
- Improving Security
- Limiting Violence and Intimidation
- Protecting Individual and Group Rights
- Providing Basic Human Needs
- Promoting Cooperative Relationships
- Broadening the Sense of Community
- Fostering a Sense of Fairness
- Encouraging Agreement-based Problem Solving
- Assuring Efficiency and Effectiveness
Fri, Sep 30, 2011
Global Nonviolent Action Database
George Lakey and student researchers from Swarthmore College have now launched the Global Nonviolent Action Database. The creative-commons-licensed database is publicly searchable online. The research team has cataloged hundreds of nonviolent campaigns from around the world and across history going back as far as the 12th century BCE. The focus is on completed campaigns rather than ongoing ones, and a great deal of thought has been put into categorizing the cases so that comparative research can be conducted. Issue clusters include campaigns struggling about democracy, economic justice, environment, human rights, national/ethnic identity and peace and coding includes information on location, start year, tactics used, and outcomes. The 198 different tactics that have been coded for correlate with Gene Sharp’s methods of nonviolent resistance. The outcomes scores provided are based on the stated goals of the protagonist with scores provided in three areas: goal attainment, survival and growth. Also included is a listing of primary actors involved in each campaign coded into three groups: leaders, partners and allies. The advanced search features make it easy to dig down into the database on these various criteria. In addition to the database fields for each case, a narrative is provided describing the struggle as an unfolding story.
You can browse for waves of campaigns wherein a series of campaigns were part of a larger ongoing struggle. Currently included waves are:
African Democracy Campaigns (early 1990s) (5 cases)
Arab Awakening (2011) (4 cases)
Asian Democracy Campaigns (1980s) (7 cases)
Colour Revolutions (2000s) (6 cases)
Soviet Bloc Independence Campaigns (1989-) (11 cases)
U.S. Civil Rights Movement (27 cases)
This impressive service learning project has resulted in a great and enduring contribution to the field. Way to go team!
Mon, Sep 05, 2011
International Council on Human Rights Policy working papers
The International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) is a “forum for applied research, reflection and forward thinking, grappling with the challenge of translating universal human rights principles into policy realities.” Human Rights is at the root of much social conflict and thinking about and developing principles that can apply across a number of different settings makes good sense. Along these line, a number of ICHRP reports address issues that conflict resolution practitioners may be interested in.
The papers that caught my attention include:
- Navigating the Dataverse: Privacy, Technology, Human Rights: A Discussion Paper (pdf)
- Report: Negotiating Justice? Human Rights and Peace Agreements (pdf) - more about this project
- Report: When Legal Worlds Overlap: Human Rights, State and Non-State Law (pdf) - more about this project
- Conflict, Media and Human Rights in South Asia (pdf) - more on this topic