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The University of Alabama

UA Professor Receives Grant to Collect Data on Armed Conflicts

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The National Science Foundation awarded a $236,000 grant to Dr. Douglas M. Gibler, professor of political science at The University of Alabama, to collect and code data about armed conflict between nations.

The project will collect incident-level Militarized Interstate Dispute data from conflicts between states from 1816 to 2001. Using primary and secondary sources from the past 200 years to reconstruct the events of threats, displays or uses of force for analysis, the project will develop an accurate record of the military bargaining that takes place when states are in conflict.

Gibler, a UA College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board fellow, said the project would not be possible without the NSF grant. Lack of money and infrastructure has impeded previous efforts to collect this data.

“The data itself will be a game changer for a lot of research, allowing us to test specific predictions of many theories for which we currently have only suppositions,” Gibler said.  “It will allow us to determine the conditions that make conflict or negotiation likely and help us understand how states interact with each other during crises.”

Policymakers and those involved with military operations will benefit from this research study because they will receive complete data to analyze the causes behind international conflict. Professionals in the political science field will also use this completed data for further research efforts and to test current theories.

Students at UA will also be involved with this project. Political science undergraduate and graduate students will serve as paid research coders. Before this award, 30 undergraduate students participated in initial research efforts for this proposal.

Gibler’s study of international conflicts will begin this summer and continue into 2015. After research and analysis are complete, Gibler plans to publish a series of articles and a book with his findings.

The department of political science is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.