3.5.1 Lists

A "one-way tabulation," or list, is the simplest kind of report. For example, an analyst might want to see a list of victims of arbitrary execution that were killed in a particular state or province during a specified twelve-month period. The list might include each victim's name, the date she or he was killed, and the political organizations to which the victim belonged. The analyst might then specify that the list be printed three times: first in alphabetical order by the victims' last names, next by alphabetical order by the organizations to which the victim belonged, and finally by the dates when the crimes were committed. By looking at the lists ordered in different ways, the analyst may be able to refine her search for patterns: maybe one organization was targeted in one period, while another organization was targeted in another period. By combining different pieces of the data (organizations of the victim, perpetrating organizations, date and place of violation, type of violation, etc.), analysts can specify very specific lists that help them to focus on areas of interest.

Working in the fourth quarter of 1995, data analysts at the Haitian National Commission for Truth and Justice used dozens of lists to identify events which shared similar characteristics. The lists were generated from the database of violations created from the interview data. Some events occurred close together in time, other events happened in a single commune or section, others involved common types of violations committed during an event, still other events' witnesses identified common characteristics of perpetrators, etc. Note that in the hypothetical example in the previous paragraph, the unit of analysis was the victim. In this example, however, the unit of analysis is the act: these lists had one line in the list for each act.

The lists included three or four columns: case number, case date, all the violations, and location, for example. By simply sorting this list by date, and then making a second version sorted by location, the analysts were able to see patterns in time and space. Using the case numbers printed in the lists, the analysts then revisited the questionnaires from interviews that had yielded data on similar incidents. Analysts could group together interviews which contained information about the same victims, for example, or interviews which seemed to identify common perpetrators. Lists were a useful tool helping analysts find cases relevant to a particular question among the thousands of interviews heard by dozens of interviewers.

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