11 results for author: Carolina López

Update on Work in Guatemala and the AHPN

HRDAG has sampled and analyzed documents at Guatemala's AHPN and has testified against war criminals based on that analysis.

Reflections: Growing and Learning in Guatemala

As a woman, mother and sociologist who is curious about the patterns of our political past in Guatemala, I feel privileged to know and work with the HRDAG team. Collaborating and learning from people like Patrick, Megan, Suzanne, Beatriz and Tamy has been an invaluable gift. I have discovered many things, both human and academic. For example, I’ve learned new ways of seeing what seemed everyday and simple, to discover that not only do the social sciences and statistics work hand in hand, but that they are critical for understanding Guatemala’s reality. Twenty years ago, on 29 December, 1996, Guatemala made history by signing the Guatemala Peace ...

The case of Ana Lucrecia Orellana Stormont

When working with documents in an archive, every document offers the opportunity for statistical study and quantitative research. But a document can also offer the discovery of a story. That is the case with the disappearance of Ana Lucrecia Orellana Stormont, who was reported missing on June 6, 1983, at the age of 35. Ana Lucrecia, a professor of psychology at the University of San Carlos, was scheduled to attend a meeting with Edgar Raúl Rivas Rodríguez at the Plaza Hotel in Guatemala’s capital city. Edgar, who also went missing, was a teacher at the School of Political Science at the University. (Ana Lucrecia’s case is explained more fully ...

Ten Years and Counting in Guatemala

We have accomplished so much in the last 10 years at the Historical Archive of the National Police. And yet, despite the efforts, dedication, and commitment of each person who since 2006 has worked in the AHPN, we still can not say “mission accomplished.” In 10 years the environment at the Archive has changed so much and become so full of life. Where the building once sheltered unknown stories, over time some of those stories have been revealed. But Guatemala has a long way to go in letting the world get to know more deeply about the secrets within the documents stored there. Guatemalans and the rest of the world have a very important ...

The Great Lessons in Research at the Archive

Doing an investigation on the contents of the Archive brought with it three major lessons. The first big lesson was the constant movement (nothing was static), The second great lesson was that everything evolved (the changes were a constant). The third major lesson was to discover how two institutions can work together while geographically far apart. The constant movement As there were other processes being carried out at the Archive, everything was in constant movement. In other words, one day the documents were in X location and tomorrow they may be in location Y or dispersed in multiple locations. This made it impossible to know with certai...

The AHPN: Home of Stories Old and New

Access to the records contained in archives is a concern shared by many. Archives support memory and free access to them strengthens democratic processes. Everyone should be allowed to see first-hand the records contained in an archive and be free to interpret them as needed. Access to archives can increase knowledge on various topics and opens opportunities for different fields of knowledge. (more…)

IRR: Agreement Among Coders is Key

For years I have been engaged in a quantitative study at Guatemala’s Historic Archive of the National Police, or AHPN. (See the blogposts below.) In this study coders collect data on sheets of paper according to criteria established and explained in manuals. But when collecting data, there’s always room for human error—this is why the validity of the study hinges on verifying that coders use the correct criteria. It is important to mention that the mainstay of coding is the use of a controlled vocabulary. A controlled vocabulary gives analysts a framework, or frame of reference, when converting qualitative information into categories ...

Learning Day by Day: Quantitative Research at the AHPN

Working at the Historic Archive of the National Police (AHPN) of Guatemala, there are many skills I learned on the job. My many years of work on the team that studies the recovered documents have been like a custom-made course in how to do quantitative research. The Archive documents I study are the result of 36 years of creation during civil war (1960 to 1996). Many of these documents are simply administrative—but we are able to use them to understand patterns that occurred during the conflict, to get a sense of what mattered to the National Police and what didn’t. Our quantitative research shows us the Police behavior in broad strokes. ...

The Art and Science of Coding AHPN Documents

The coding, from my perspective, is the heart of the project. I say this, because the coding team has the responsibility of selecting documents according to the random sample, recording the documents’ contents, and applying the criteria to convert that content into an entry in a quantitative database. Not to mention the fact that this team has the privilege of being in direct contact with the documents. At present, because of advanced organizational processes, not everyone has a chance to hold an original document in their hands. The quantitative study had many advantages in this regard; since we started work in parallel with the archival ...

The story of one document inside the AHPN

The beginnings are crucial in every step—as critical as the beginning of sound, life, hope, and justice. Here are some first steps from the AHPN (Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional). This is the story of Oficio Number COC/207-laov, a document that at first appears uninteresting. But this is not just any oficio*. This is one of the many documents that helped bring to trial the people responsible for the disappearance of Edgar Fernando García. A father, husband, son, and student, García was, like many people today, interested in changing his community for the better. (more…)

Quantitative Research at the AHPN Guatemala

In early 2006 I joined the Historical Archive of the National Police (Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional, or AHPN) without knowing the impact it would have on my future. I started with cleaning, organizing and classifying documents—and learning, with other colleagues, what a historical archive is and how it works. By April of that year, parallel to these learning processes, I was selected along with 20 other people to begin work on the challenging Quantitative Research project. I started as a "coder," transferring key content from documents into a database. (more…)

Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.