A Beginner's Guide to Conflict Data: Finding and Using the Right Dataset

Manual and Guideline
Originally published


This paper presents a guide to identifying and using the right conflict dataset. It is composed of two parts: 1) a brief overview of factors researchers might consider when choosing a conflict dataset, and 2) a listing of approximately 60 of the most prominent conflict datasets.
The first part of the paper includes a brief description of the historical evolution of conflict data. It then turns to various factors researchers might consider when using conflict data, focusing specifically on needs of the research, whether they be policy-related, qualitative research or quantitative research. For each of these categories, there is a discussion on conflict data that are relevant for these users, and substantive recommendations are provided for which dataset to choose.

The second part of the paper is divided into two sections: armed conflict dataset and events datasets, both of which contain an alphabetical listing of prominent datasets. For each dataset, a description is provided, as is information on the temporal and spatial domain; the type of event in focus (usually armed conflict or war); how this event is defined; the violence threshold employed for case inclusion; a brief list of data coded; the principal researcher; and how to access the information.