Our evidence-based peacebuilding methodology combines an extensive participatory research process with advanced data analysis to identify the drivers of conflict dynamics and peaceful social change. It draws inspiration from multiple scientific disciplines such as sociology, psychology, international relations and security studies and is flexible enough to incorporate new research findings, global policy guidelines and the realities of each local and regional context. The methodology is used to recommend to partners peacebuilding solutions related to social cohesion and reconciliation, youth inclusion, gender empowerment, governance and anti-corruption and urban cohesion. The collection and interpretation of data in these areas allows us to provide policy recommendations to partners, which predict how peacebuilding objectives might be achieved through the implementation of specific policies and projects. Our methodology is underpinned by a Content Framework, which helps us align research objectives with the specific policy outcomes of different partners; a Process Framework, which adopts participatory research principles and ensures local ownership of project results; and an Analytical Toolkit, which combines different advanced statistical methods for scientifically robust investigation of SCORE data sets. We invest in ongoing learning and innovation to improve our methodology so we can provide more incisive and impactful policy and programme advice to governments and international organisations.
SCORE Content Framework
The Content Framework focuses on different dimensions of societal functioning which can either contribute to stable, prosperous and resilient societies, or, if they remain unattended, undermine social cohesion and set the country on a course to violent conflict. We have developed over 200 indicators under each of these dimensions, and continue to design new ones as we calibrate the SCORE methodology to different contexts. For example, SCORE's 'Soviet nostalgia' indicator was first calibrated when we rolled out SCORE Ukraine, and the 'political tribalism' indicator was first calibrated for SCORE Liberia. SCORE's Content Framework dimensions illustrate the vision for resilient and cohesive societies, which require:
- Human capability. Society is made up of resourceful and well-adjusted people with cross-cutting life skills and relevant competencies for employability, citizenship and co-existence. Human capability is also interweaved with psychosocial assets, such as overall mental health and family coherence in order to better understand the extent to which citizens can mitigate challenges in daily life and draw support from close social networks.
- Human security. Members of society feel safe from threats of all kinds at the personal, economic, political and environmental level, and they are able to meet their basic needs to flourish.
- Community cohesion and harmonious intergroup relations. An outwardly expanding circle of connectedness, which begins at the family unit and radiates outwards towards supportive local communities, and harmoniously co-existing multicultural societies. This dimension also relates to identity formation and how people move from individual identities to group identities, and how different group identities contribute to either social cohesion or conflict in any given society.
- Institutional and economic development. This dimension constitutes both the backdrop and the outcome of human capability, community cohesion and human security. It relates to good governance structures, their representativeness, efficiency, accountability as well as provision of public and state services, from justice to health care.
- Meaningful civic participation and engagement. Active and constructive civic behaviours are important features of a healthy democracy where citizens have the skills and political space to influence decisions which affect their lives. This also calls for an in-depth understanding of civic attitudes and behaviours, as well as the mechanisms that can foster constructive citizenship.
Such societies, which experience trajectories of positive peace, individual wellbeing and social cohesion, are expected to be flexible and resilient in adapting to changing circumstances, whether these take the form of adversities or present as opportunities.
SCORE Process Framework
Instead of providing a precise prescription, SCORE methodology adopts a robust and versatile Process Framework. The SCORE Process Framework includes a diligent calibration phase where we customise and contextualise research design and our assessment metrics (e.g. indicators and scales). This participatory calibration phase from design to interpretation ensures local ownership of project results, capitalises on local expertise and alliances, and helps us align research objectives with the specific policy outcomes of different partners.
SCORE Analytical Toolkit
We deploy a wide range of advanced statistical analysis tools that allow us to provide evidence-based policy recommendations to partners that can help tailor precise interventions and predict entry points with the most likelihood of impact towards achieving social cohesion, and sustainable peace and development objectives.
We work closely with national partners and stakeholders in each country to customize our methodology so that results meet the needs of the specific country context. This involves extensive desk research, inclusive consultations with representatives from government, civil society, academia, business, international organisations and local communities. We also reach out to remote communities outside of the capital to ensure that their opinions and experiences can be represented. In most projects, we establish an informal research advisory committee which serves as the Core Reflection Group and has the role of providing substantive advice and guidance throughout the design, implementation and interpretation of the research. Based on this calibration phase, we produce conceptual models, which incorporate different perspectives and stakeholder hypotheses similar to detailed theories of change, for different outcomes of interest (e.g. intergroup harmony, constructive citizenship, non-violence). These conceptual models, based on the qualitative research conducted during the calibration phase, then guide the selection and design of assessment instruments,, indicators and eventually the SCORE questionnaire (quantitative survey).
The quantitative survey serves as the principal data collection tool for SeeD's SCORE Index. Depending on the needs of the partners and the context, we design the representative and granular sample frames to ensure that different regions (e.g. rural communities, urban centres, administrative regions), and different socio-demographic groups (e.g. ethnic groups, linguistic or experiential such as combatants) are represented. Data collection is conducted in collaboration with established national researchers or research agencies, who must display cultural awareness and sensitivity to ensure a reliable data collection process. For example, SeeD takes an active role in enumerator selection and training, and ensures that enumerators understand the sensitivities and particularities of the areas they are assigned to. The main survey is usually face-to-face interview based on stratified random sampling, however depending on the contextual needs, other data collection techniques may be used. For example, SeeD has also conducted numerous school-based youth surveys, expert scoring surveys and governance assessment surveys with civil servants.
Once the fieldwork is completed, results are processed using advanced data analysis techniques, to capture the quality of citizen-state relations, intergroup dynamics, psychosocial assets and civic attitudes. We use factor analysis and reliability tests to scale different questionnaire items into indicators. Our indicators are then visualised in the form of heatmaps to explore geographical patterns, and disaggregated by relevant characteristics to investigate specific target groups (e.g. age, gender, income level and ethnic/linguistic/religious affiliation). We also use cluster analysis (a.k.a population segmentation) and ANOVA/MANOVA to better understand non-demographic groups such as those who are exposed to a particular adversity or share a particular civic attitude. We also use predictive modelling techniques, including hierarchical linear regression and structural equation modelling to understand how social change might happen if particular policies were introduced. These predictive analyses provide the evidence to prioritise among competing policy options, enabling the cost-effective design of projects and programmes which are most likely to have a positive impact on peacebuilding and development outcomes.
Participatory dialogue for policy recommendations
Data analysis results are visualised and presented to policy makers and key stakeholders from the government, the international community and civil society to generate participatory dialogue. We interpret the results and implications through these reflection sessions and workshops. Our aim is to understand the contextual, historical and human stories and implications behind the data, identify further analysis and evidence needs and develop inclusive and constructive dialogue to ensure that research findings are translated into concrete policy and programmatic responses. Fostering local ownership of results is essential for generating evidence-based decision making and policy recommendations. To this end, our participatory process continuously solicits feedback from our partners. Depending on the context and partners' needs, collaborative interpretation of the evidence culminates into analytical products ranging from policy briefs to infographics, short videos to progress tracking posters.
Know-how and capacity development
Through all stages of our engagement with national partners we identify opportunities to train local researchers and practitioners on using evidence-based peacebuilding research methodologies. Our goal is to share and transfer knowledge, ensuring national experts can make use of evidence-based strategies to design community level peacebuilding, conflict prevention and development projects and approaches. The establishment of national reflection groups and the transfer of knowledge to national partners is an intrinsic part of our co-creation philosophy, which is designed to enhance the effectiveness and impact of peace agendas. In this way we accompany national partners from different parts of government and the wider society on the journey to produce results which support positive social change outcomes.
Read more about our methodology here
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