In many respects the CONIAS approach contributes high added value to existing methods of analysis for political conflicts. Due to the acquisition of events as social systems within a dynamic model, the whole spectrum of conflict activities can be mapped.
The classification of the specific risk is ensured by the application of clearly conceptualized indicators, which in turn are based on the actions and communications of the involved conflict actors, combining qualitative with quantitative research strategies. Via a conceptual differentiation and standardization of data processing, the greatest possible degree of accuracy, comprehensibility and reliability of information can be reached. During the process, the conflict measures, all actions and communications that an actor executes within a political conflict are individually captured within the framework of a measure-catalog. This catalog contains over 200 categories of measures, including judicial, military and protest-related actions, allowing for a broad and differentiated mapping of events.
Together with the high degree of abstraction of the basic concept, it facilitates a systematic coverage of all types of conflicts. The CONIAS-approach thus integrates inter-, intra- and sub-state as well as transnational conflicts in their non-, low- and highly violent manifestations (no island-solution with multiple specific databases for each type of conflict). Based on this comprehensive, diversified and standardized concept, visualizations of complete conflict courses are made possible for the first time, which in turn increases the quality of prognoses of conflict trends. Objectivity and continuous availability as opposed to subjective, people-based expert-opinions, guarantees a reliable risk assessment. Our work is guided by the following principles:
1. Empirical evidence instead of expert-opinions and assumptions
Different from other existing solutions, our risk assessments are based on a standardized methodology with a constant analysis procedure. This coherent approach enables us to deliver accurate and reliable assessments across time and space. Simultaneously, it is this methodology, which has been developed for over 20 years at the University of Heidelberg that makes us independent from the personal opinions of experts. Instead of trusting changeable expertise, that lead to differing conclusions depending on the personal context, at CONIAS the facts speak for themselves:
When CONIAS detects a heightened risk or raises the intensity of a conflict, it is always backed by a related third party information, which makes the process comprehensible and transparent. With our catalog of measures we capture the date, duration, actor, addressee, and type of the exercised action. In cases of violent actions, we also take the number of fatalities, deployed personnel, refugees as well as the magnitude of destruction and type of weapons used into account.
2. All data is comprehensible due to obligatory referencing
"The first casualty of War is Truth" – scarcely anybody would disagree with this statement. This is why CONIAS especially emphasizes its source selection. Only trustworthy and approved newspapers, journals, internet-news and other online media is used. Naturally, each recorded information is referenced with the corresponding source. This way, all statements stay verifiable.
3. We make our information transparent
As a paying customer, you can inspect all coding, including the corresponding analyses. This way, you gain full transparency within your risk assessment.