Conflict Analysis

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
29 May 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIPLL20009 Politics,
BA L250 International Relations (Including Foundation Year),
BA L258 International Relations,
BA L259 International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA L260 International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL268 International Relations,
MPOLL269 International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL370 International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA LR59 International Relations and Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA LRF9 International Relations and Modern Languages,
BA VL12 Modern History and International Relations,
BA VL14 Modern History and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
BA VL18 Modern History and International Relations (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL1F Modern History and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA L225 Politics and International Relations,
BA L226 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA L227 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
BSC L222 Politics and International Relations,
BSC L223 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BSC L224 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL234 Politics and International Relations,
MPOLL235 Politics and International Relations (Including Placement Year),
MPOLL236 Politics and International Relations (Including Year Abroad),
BA L910 Global Studies with Politics,
BA L911 Global Studies with Politics (Including year abroad),
BA L912 Global Studies with Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA L913 Global Studies with Politics (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module focuses on the nature and causes of armed conflicts. It provides an overview and a basic framework for understanding the evolving field of conflict analysis.

The first part of the module is theoretical and explores different types and concepts of conflict, outlines key contributing factors to the emergence of conflict, especially civil wars, and offers students an understanding of the dynamics of conflict. The last part of the module introduces students to methods of conflict resolution and approaches to prevent the recurrence of conflict, including peacekeeping.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the major theoretical, conceptual and methodological issues associated with the study of conflict analysis.
2. To provide the opportunity for students to learn about existing research in international conflict and the study of civil wars.
3. To develop and promote students’ general analytical skills and capacities to undertake subsequent academic study in international relations and conflict studies and for employment.
4. To maintain an intellectual environment that is exciting and challenging, with diverse forms of assessment.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

1. Understand key concepts in conflict studies.

2. Understand the dynamics of conflicts and the role of key actors.

3. Exposure to key conflict datasets such as the Uppsala Conflict Data Programme (UCDP).

4. Evaluate the different methods of conflict resolution and third party intervention.

Module information

The module also enables students to acquire the following generic and transferable skills:

1. Library and Internet research
2. Data collection, presentation, and analysis
3. Exposition and argumentation in a structured fashion
4. Presenting verbal arguments to classroom peers
5. Production of short well-researched reports
6. Working to deadlines
7. Conducting oneself in a scholarly and professional manner

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered with (i) a weekly pre-recorded lecture and (ii) a weekly interactive lecture. The pre-recorded lecture will consist of one or more items of prepared content that students can access electronically and must study before the interactive lecture. The interactive lecture will consist of one 50-minute lecture in which students can ask questions about, and discuss various aspects of, the prepared content with the module supervisor.


  • Virginia Page Fortna. (2015) 'Do Terrorists Win? Rebels' Use of Terrorism and Civil War Outcomes', in International Organization. vol. 69 (3) , pp.519-556
  • Reiter, Dan. (2003) 'Exploring the Bargaining Model of War', in Perspective on Politics. vol. 1 (1) , pp.27-43
  • Definitions - Department of Peace and Conflict Research - Uppsala University, Sweden, http://pcr.uu.se/research/ucdp/definitions/
  • Kelley, Colin P.; Mohtadi, Shahrzad; Cane, Mark A.; Seager, Richard; Kushnir, Yochanan. (2015) 'Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought', in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. vol. 112 (11) , pp.3241-3246
  • Nils Petter Gleditsch; Peter Wallensteen; Mikael Eriksson; Margareta Sollenberg; Håvard Strand. (2002) 'Armed Conflict 1946-2001: A New Dataset', in Journal of Peace Research. vol. 39 (5) , pp.615-637
  • Collier, P. (2004) 'Greed and grievance in civil war', in Oxford Economic Papers. vol. 56 (4) , pp.563-595
  • Dawn Brancati. (2006) 'Decentralization: Fueling the Fire or Dampening the Flames of Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism?', in International Organization. vol. 60 (3) , pp.651-685
  • David A. Lake. (2011) 'Containing Fear: The Origins and Management of Ethnic Conflict', in International Security. vol. 21 (2) , pp.41-75
  • Polo, Sara MT; Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede. (2016) 'Twisting arms and sending messages', in Journal of Peace Research. vol. 53 (6) , pp.815-829
  • Pinker, Steven. (2011) The better angels of our nature: the decline of violence in history and its causes, London: Allen Lane.
  • Hartzell, Caroline; Hoddie, Matthew. (2003) 'Institutionalizing Peace: Power Sharing and Post-Civil War Conflict Management', in American Journal of Political Science. vol. 47 (2) , pp.318-
  • Barbara F. Walter. (1997) 'The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement', in International Organization. vol. 51 (3) , pp.335-364
  • Bernauer, Thomas; Böhmelt, Tobias; Koubi, Vally. (2012) 'Environmental changes and violent conflict', in Environmental Research Letters. vol. 7 (1) , pp.1-8
  • Kyle C. Beardsley; David M. Quinn; Bidisha Biswas; Jonathan Wilkenfeld. (2006) 'Meditation Style and Crisis Outcomes', in The Journal of Conflict Resolution. vol. 50 (1) , pp.58-86
  • Dara Kay Cohen. (2013) 'Explaining Rape during Civil War: Cross-National Evidence (1980-2009)', in The American Political Science Review: American Political Science Association. vol. 107 (3) , pp.461-477
  • Wood, Reed M; Thomas, Jakana L. (2017) 'Women on the frontline', in Journal of Peace Research. vol. 54 (1) , pp.31-46
  • Steven Pinker; Bradley Thayer. (2013) 'The Forum: The Decline of War', in International Studies Review. vol. 15 (3) , pp.396-419
  • Collier, P.; Hoeffler, A.; Rohner, D. (2009) 'Beyond greed and grievance: feasibility and civil war', in Oxford Economic Papers. vol. 61 (1) , pp.1-27
  • Virginia Page Fortna. (2004) 'Does Peacekeeping Keep Peace? International Intervention and the Duration of Peace after Civil War', in International Studies Quarterly. vol. 48 (2) , pp.269-292
  • Gizelis, Theodora-Ismene. (2011) 'A Country of their Own: Women and Peacebuilding', in Conflict Management and Peace Science. vol. 28 (5) , pp.522-542

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay    75% 
Coursework   Online Test    25% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Brian Phillips, email: brian.phillips@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Brian Phillips
Module Supervisor: Dr Brian Phillips - brian.phillips@essex.ac.uk / Module Administrator: Lewis Olley - govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Mohammed Rodwan Abouharb
University College London
Available via Moodle
Of 100 hours, 91 (91%) hours available to students:
9 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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