3 results for month: 06/2013


Why raw data doesn't support analysis of violence

This morning I got a query from a journalist asking for our data from the report we published yesterday. The journalist was hoping to create an interactive infographic to track the number of deaths in the Syrian conflict over time. Our data would not support an analysis like the one proposed, so I wrote this reply. We can't send you these data because they would be misleading—seriously misleading—for the purpose you describe. Here's why: What we have is a list of documented deaths, in essence, a highly non-random sample, though a very big one. We like bigger samples because we think that they must be closer to true. The mathematical justificat...

Counting Casualties in Syria

Today the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report prepared by me and my colleagues describing the current state of reported killings in the Syrian Arab Republic from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 through April 2013.  (UN news release here.) This report is an update of work we published in January 2013.  This updated analysis includes records from eight data sources documenting a total of 92,901 reported killings. Our analysis begins with 263,055 total records reported by the eight data sources that include sufficient identifying information (name, date, and location*) to conduct ...

HRDAG contributes to textbook Counting Civilian Casualties

Next week, on June 11, Oxford University Press officially puts Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict on the market. This textbook, edited by Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, responds to the increasing concern for civilians in conflict and aims to promote scientific dialogue by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the most commonly used casualty recording and estimation techniques. HRDAG is very well represented here, as our colleagues have co-authored four chapters, and Nicholas Jewell, who sits on our Science Committee, has co-authored a fifth. ...