Claudia Simons / Franzisca Zanker

Finding the Cases that Fit: Methodological Challenges in Peace Research

GIGA Working Paper, No. 189, March 2012

Abstract
Subnational comparative research has received increasing attention as a method that is academically rigorous and offers in‐depth knowledge about specific cases. However, the practical difficulties surrounding the selection of cases to be researched and compared are seldom discussed in a meaningful way in academic circles. Even though a research design may itself be very elaborate, we need significant information on the cases before we can actually decide on useful comparisons. Based on our experiences in studying how powersharing peace agreements affect the local level and why conflict dynamics often continue, we consider the following basic question: How do we actually know that a specific case suits a particular research design?

The challenges we experienced in our research were twofold: first, how to conceptualize peace and identify indicators to measure the level of peacefulness; and second, how to obtain comprehensive and reliable disaggregated data on these indicators. By detailing our own experiences we hope to encourage a more open approach to the discussion of methodological challenges.

Related Research at the GIGA

Related Research Tabs

GIGA Authors

Dr. Franzisca Zanker is a political scientist at the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute in Freiburg and an associate researcher at the GIGA. Her research focuses on peace processes, legitimacy, and migration.

Recent Publications by the Authors

Franzisca Zanker

Moving Beyond Hybridity: The Multi-Scalar Adaptation of Community Policing in Liberia

Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, 11, 2017, 2, 166-185

Franzisca Zanker

Liberias Polizei: „Die Leute respektieren uns“

Welt-Sichten, 2016, 7, 30-33

Sebastian Prediger / Franzisca Zanker

Why European Migration Policies on Africa Need a Change of Direction

GIGA Focus Africa, 06/2016

Katharina Heitz Tokpa / Andrea Kaufmann / Franzisca Zanker

The Ebola Outbreak in Comparison: Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire

GIGA Focus International Edition English, 03/2015