Conflict Analysis



Professionals often have checklists and protocols to help them think clearly and effectively under stress. You may be familiar with the military estimate or appreciation, or police tools for rapid crime scene analysis or witness network assessment. This week aims to provide you with a simple set of protocols for a hasty conflict analysis.


There are three steps, and you should be able to do a preliminary analysis of a conflict in an hour, on six pieces of paper. The three steps are:

1. do a chronology

2. take a snapshot of the present, analyzing the actors, attractors, and dividers

3. do a value map (cognitive affective map)


If this works well for you, we’ll spend more time doing this during the remainder of the course. You can do it in layers, repeatedly for aspects of the same conflict, e.g. Israeli-Palestinian conflict at different times and places, over different issues, drawing on different sources.

Learning Objectives

On completing this Lesson, you should be able to:

  • produce a conflict chronology
  • describe the main actors at a point of time in the conflict, including attractors and dividers mitigating or contributing to conflict
  • identify the values each party ascribes to key issues (cognitive affective map)

Required Reading

Central presentation – A primer for conflict analysis in three steps

Play recording

Powerpoint without sound

Last, Conflict analysis aids

Levinger, Chapter 2 (See Moodle)

Levinger, Chapter 4 (See Moodle)

Weekly activities (online)

  • Post your conflict analysis before the class. I think it’s easiest to do this on paper (six sheets), then take a photo of each sheet, and turn it into a pdf file to post, but let me know if you find a better way to do it, please.  (Maximize time reading and thinking, and minimize time on the tech stuff!)

Optional Reading

  • See Butler, Chapter 5 UNOMIG for a sample timeline
  • Wallensteen, Chapter 2 (See Moodle)
  • Wallensteen, Chapter 3 (See Moodle)
  • Wallensteen, Chapter 4 (See Moodle)

David Last, lastdav(at)gmail.com,  updated December 2016