The Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (HIIK) provides data and maps on the emergence, dynamics and settlements of various conflicts around the world. Their Conflict Database includes a detailed description of each conflict, as well as general information such as intensity of the conflict on a scale of 0 to 5, change in the conflict, start year, conflict parties involved, items of conflict (i.e. resources, power, system/ideology, territory, etc.) and types of conflict (i.e. substate, intrastate, interstate, etc.). Their other resources include the Conflict Barometer and static maps.*
*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the HIIK website.
Available data file formats
CSV, Excel and PDF.
This is an open data source that is for public use.
How to retrieve data by example
Suppose you are trying to gain more information on different conflicts occurring within a state. Specifically, you would like to obtain some information on intrastate conflicts revolving around resources in Asia that have occurred any time from 2010 to present. The data file format does not matter to you.
- Go to the HIIK wesbite and hover over the tab that says Data & Maps to show the drop-down menu. In this drop-down menu, click on Conflict Database.
- The next page shows search options for different types of conflict. The default settings are to check all boxes and include all years. For this scenario, in the fields Regions, Type and Item, uncheck all boxes except for Asia/Oceania, Intrastate and Resources, respectively. For the field Start, modify the range to 2010 to present. Click Submit.
- At this time, the most recent conflict, as a result of this search, is of Myanmar in 2013, with the conflict name Myanmar (TNLA/Shan State). Clicking on this result takes you to the following page:
- This gives you information on the conflict which includes a detailed description, intensity of the conflict on a scale of 0 to 5, the change in conflict, start date, conflict parties involved and the conflict items.
- To obtain more information on all conflicts in a particular year, you can go to the Conflict Barometer tab at the top of the page and click on Previous Versions. This will take you to a page where you can download all Conflict Barometers in previous years, and the current year, in the form of a PDF.
- This PDF contains methodology, maps, constellation graphs, an overview of all conflicts that occurred in 2017 for a particular region, including ongoing conflicts that began in previous years, and detailed descriptions of each conflict for each region. The image below shows part of the overview of the conflicts in Europe in the 2017 Conflict Barometer.
- To obtain data on conflicts without the detailed descriptions, go to the Data & Maps tab at the top of the page and click on Datasets. Here, the HIIK datasets also provide downloadable information on conflicts in the form of a spreadsheet for the years 2014-present.
- Clicking on Download for the desired year produces a .zip file that contains the data set in the form of CSV and Excel files, as well as the codebook in a PDF. The CSV file for the 2017 HIIK dataset will appear similar to this:
- The first line (cell A1) indicates the information provided in the spreadsheet, and it reads as a single thread: “region;id;conflict;type;start;intensity2016;intensity2017;territory;secession;autonomy;systemideology;nationalpower;subnationalpredominance;internationalpower;resources;other;issues.” Each line below represents a different conflict. For most lines or conflicts, one or two cells contain the information for that conflict. For example, in line 8 (cell A8), the information reads as a single thread and says “sub-Saharan Africa;20078;Angola (UNITA);intrastate;1975;3;3;0;0;0;0;1;0;0;0;0;national power.” This information for a single conflict can be interpreted as follows:
|Intensity 2016||3 (on a scale of 1 to 5)|
|Intensity 2017||3 (on a scale of 1 to 5)|
- A value of 1 for any of the items of conflict indicates that specific item was the item of conflict. A value of 0 for any of the items indicates that item was not involved. The last entry Issue states the specific item(s) of conflict, as indicated with the binary (0 or 1) code above. If more than one item has a value of 1 then those items of conflict will be listed after the first item, usually in the following column of that line.
- Going back to Data & Maps and clicking on Static Maps will allow you to obtain maps of all conflict at the global/national level, all conflicts at the global/subnational level and regional maps for the five regions HIIK provides data for. These static maps are currently available in PDF format for the years 2016 and 2017. At this time, the interactive map is not yet available.
You should now have access to information on different conflicts around the world for various years.
Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. For HIIK data, the proper citations are found at the end of the PDF for that year’s respective Conflict Barometer. For this scenario with the data on Myanmar, the citation is found at the end of the 2013 Conflict Barometer, and would be line (1). For the downloaded dataset, the citation is found at the end of the 2017 Conflict Barometer, and would be line (2).
(1) Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (2014): Conflict Barometer 2013, Heidelberg.
(2) Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research (2018): Conflict Barometer 2017, Heidelberg.