The Challenge of Conflict Data

The last two posts I wrote focused on the social and political structures that drive data collection and availability. In these posts I was primarily talking about statistics in wealthy countries, as well as developing countries that aren't affected by conflict or violence. When it comes to countries that are beset by widespread conflict and violence, … Continue reading The Challenge of Conflict Data

How is Public Data Produced (Part 2)

I published a post yesterday about how administrative data is produced. In the end I claimed that data gathering is an inherently political process. Far from being comparable, scientifically standardized representations of general behavior, public data and statistics are imbued with all the vagaries and unique socio-administrative preferences of the country or locality that collects … Continue reading How is Public Data Produced (Part 2)

How Is Public Data Produced?

The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) launched recently. Along with its usual ranking of most to least peaceful countries it included a section analyzing the capacity for the global community to effectively measure progress in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 16, the peace goal. The GPI's analysis of statistical capacity (pp. 73-94) motivates a critical question: … Continue reading How Is Public Data Produced?

Rigor Versus Reality: Balancing the field with the lab

I am finally able to respond (add) to a post by Chris Moore about the problem of mathematicization and formalization of political science, and social science more generally, as it relates to how the social sciences inform real policy issues.  As I'm finishing a Fulbright fellowship in Samoa, where I worked specifically on research supporting policy … Continue reading Rigor Versus Reality: Balancing the field with the lab

Finding Big Data’s Place in Conflict Analysis

Daniel Solomon recently posted a piece on how we conceptualize (and often misconceptualize) the role of big data in conflict event prediction. His post got me thinking about what role big data plays in conflict analysis. This comes on the heels of Chris Neu's post on the TechChange blog about the limits of using crowdsourcing to … Continue reading Finding Big Data’s Place in Conflict Analysis

Causes of Effects…and Effects of Causes

Andrew Gelman and Guido Imbens recently posted a paper entitled "Why Ask Why? Forward Causal Inference and Reverse Causal Questions." It completely made my day, primarily because it succinctly deals with the way people naturally arrive at research questions with the help of some statistical logic.  While I liked the models and the logic, what I … Continue reading Causes of Effects…and Effects of Causes

Social Network Analysis: A cool analysis of how SNA worked during the American Revolution

Lots of people saw Kieran Healy's humorous and thought proviking post about how some very basic matrix algebra and centrality analysis can be used to identify people within social networks using basic metadata.  This article by Shin Kap Han goes into more depth about centrality and the power of weak bonds; I found the analysis of the … Continue reading Social Network Analysis: A cool analysis of how SNA worked during the American Revolution