The Research

The international conflict management dataset is an extension of an existing investigation into international mediation. Its aim is to both further our understanding of mediation, and facilitate the comparitive investigation of different conflict management mechanisms.

Prompted by dissatisfaction with previous studies, which have rested on ideographic or normative approaches, this research project was established with the aim of furthering the much needed empirical investigation of conflict management within a sound theoretical framework. The project is founded on the contingency approach to the study of international conflict management which regards the outcome of management efforts as contingent upon a number of contextual and process variables. The contingency approach encourages systematic empirical research because it recognises variables and attributes with explicit operational criteria.

The project aims to answer such fundamental questions as how do international mediation, and other forms of conflict management work? and under what conditions are respective conflict management efforts most effective?. In answering these questions it is hoped the project will make a concrete contribution to the improvement of the international conflict management process.

The central task of this research project has been the compilation of an extensive original dataset of international conflict management events. This codebook is the operational guide to that dataset.


The data described in this code book are the result of several years of investigation, gradual modification of the research design, and continual expansion of the data base. This most recent version of the dataset (Intmed94), encompasses 268 international disputes and 1,112 management attempts, each of which is coded into 50 seperate variables.

The study has sampled international disputes since 1945.

A mediation attempt is defined as the formal or institutionalised non-violent and non-judicial intervention of an outsider or third party willing to help both disputants seek an acceptable outcome. An offer of mediation services is included in this understanding of an intervention. Other forms of conflict management that are encompassed are negotiation, arbitration/adjudication, multilateral conference, and referral to an international organisation. The referral of a dispute to an international organisation is coded as a separate event from any susequent mediation or adjudication by that organisation.


Primary information sources included Keesings Contemporary Archives (laterly Keesings Record of World Events), The Times Index, and The New York Times Index. Whenever necessary more detailed contemporary press reports or reputable historical accounts were also utilised.

Jacob Bercovitch (