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People on War: Data Set Description

* Description
* General Methodology
* Data
* Data Set 2000AJa
* Data Set 2000AJb

Reference: 6655
Institutions: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Av. de la Paix 19, 1202 Genève, Switzerland / Greenberg Research Inc., 10G Street NE, Suite 400, Washington DC 20002, USA

Description

To mark the 50th anniversary of the modern Geneva Conventions, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) launched a worldwide consultation called People on War with the aim of gaining new insights on how to improve humanitarian action and greater respect of international humanitarian law. This consultation was conducted between 1998 and 1999 in 17 countries: civilians and combatants alike were asked to share their war experiences, express their opinions on what basic rules should apply in war, discuss why those rules often break down, and consider what the future holds. Questions moreover covered issues such as prohibited weapons, child-soldiers, women in war, knowledge of the Geneva Conventions and the role of international organizations. The protection of the civilian population, the participation of civilians in the conflict, suffered damages to self, home and close relatives together with the concept of crimes of war were also addressed.

The survey was conducted in 12 countries and regions exposed or recently exposed to modern warfare: Israel and occupied territories, Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, El Salvador, Georgia-Abkhazia, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines, Somalia and South Africa. It involves a sample based opinion survey with a standardized questionnaire and a qualitative inquiry (in-depth interviews and focus groups).

The project also includes a consultation of four of the five members of the Security Council of the United Nations: France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, USA, and of Switzerland which is the depositary country for the Geneva Conventions. This allows for comparison between countries that are or were directly afflicted by armed conflict and countries with no recent experience of war - at least not on their national territory.

Lastly, independent professional parallel surveys were conducted in Colombia, the Philippines and Bosnia-Herzegovina to determine whether there was a "Red Cross bias" between answers given in the ICRC and parallel surveys. Although bias are small in the combined data for all three countries, there is evidence of greater familiarity with the Geneva Conventions, greater insistence on the prosecution of war crimes, awareness of the ICRC, projected benign treatment of prisoners, and reported war incidents and injuries.

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General Methodology

The survey was elaborated in close collaboration between the ICRC and Greenberg Research Inc. (GRI), mandated for the implementation. It counts several elements of complication that are listed hereafter:

  • The survey in the 12 countries exposed to modern warfare is completed by a research in 5 countries that are currently promoting the concept of limits of war such as stated by the Geneva Conventions.
  • The survey in the countries exposed to modern warfare includes a quantitative aspect, based on standardized interviews, and a qualitative aspect based on in-depth interviews and focus groups conducted on the basis of standardized interview guidelines.
  • The standardized questionnaire exists in two versions, with wording variations on different dimensions: sided/unsided, voluntary help/forced help to one of the parties, endangering of the civilian population in general or only women and children.
  • For the implementation of the survey in the various countries, Greenberg Research Inc. has mandated "local partners", i.e. institutes or organizations that are able to collect and register the data locally. Because of the extreme situations in countries exposed to war, the survey could only be conducted thanks to intensive participation of members of the delegations of the ICRC and the local societies of the Red Cross or the Red Crescent. They acted as interviewers, moderators of focus groups, and at times acted as translators and made transcripts. The organization of the whole project was therefore based on the coordination between two parallel structures: Greenberg Research developed the sample according to the statistical data that is available, mandated local organizations whenever it was possible, analyzed the data and drew up the first reports. Training of interviewers on the field was insured jointly by Greenberg Research and the ICRC.
  • In three countries, Colombia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Philippines, the survey has been conducted by the personnel of the ICRC and an independent survey institute in order to evaluate the bias induced by the role of the collaborators of Red Cross volunteers and the image that the respondents have of these volunteers.

The consultation was based on three principal research methods: representative and standardized national surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews.

  1. National survey: representative sample of a country's population, stratified or cluster sample, generally 1,000 respondents, in some cases 1,500. The questionnaires are standardized but modified according to the country's context. On the total, 20'673 respondents have been interviewed.
  2. Focus groups: between 8 to 12 depending on the country allowing a professionally moderated and intensive discussion in small groups; The deliberately homogenous groups were composed by people having similar characteristics (gender, region of origin, shared experiences, etc.).
  3. In-depth, face to face interviews, about 20 in each country, with individuals with specific war experiences. The in-depth interviews involved a broad range of people - officers, medical personnel, students, journalists, former combatants, refugees, displaced persons, family members of missing persons, war invalids and others.

The thematic grid that was used for in-depth interviews and focus groups is based on the themes in the standardized questionnaire.

Focus group and in-depth interviews were recorded on tape, transcribed and translated into English by the local partner of Greenberg Research or a member of the ICRC delegation.

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Data

The survey was mainly standardized for all countries, though the wording was modified to reflect each context and to achieve consistent meaning. About 10 per cent of the questions were contextual and in many cases unique to the country.

The questionnaires were developed by Greenberg Research, in consultation with the ICRC, on the basis of interviews with humanitarian law experts in the United States and Europe. The survey and questions were pre-tested in Mozambique and Colombia.

In each country, interviews were held with 1,000 to 1,500 respondents, selected by a stratified, multistage cluster sampling method. The sample was stratified to ensure representation (500 interviews) from each of the principal conflict-affected geographic areas or ethnic/ religious groups. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example, this meant some 1,500 interviews (500 from Republika Srpska and 500 each from the Bosnian and Croat areas of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina); in Israel, the occupied territories and the autonomous territories, this meant 1,000 interviews (500 in Israel and 500 in the occupied territories and the autonomous territories). These areas were divided into urban and rural geographic units (strata), to ensure representation of urban and rural populations.

The local partner randomly selected small geographic units within these strata. These units - 100 to 200 in each country - constituted the sampling points for the survey. In each geographic unit, 10 households (though fewer in some countries) were selected using a random route method appropriate to the country. In some cases, interviewers were provided with a map and a route; in others interviewers were simply given a route and selection instructions.

Within households, respondents were selected using a Kish grid (a respondent selection key that is based on a combination of random numbers, alphabet codes and the number of available members in a household to identify the appropriate respondent) or the birthday criterion (a respondent selection process that is based on dates of birth to determine the appropriate respondent). Interviewers were to make three attempts to achieve a completed interview, including locating the respondent elsewhere.

The demographic distribution of the surveyed respondents was compared with the best available census data on education, age, household type and occupation. Where the sample survey was sharply askew (e.g. too many college-educated or too many young respondents), statistical weights were applied to eliminate the bias.

Type of research: mandate.

Contracter: International Committee of the Red Cross – ICRC, Av. de la Paix 19, 1202 Genève.

Reports:

  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Israel, the occupied territories and the autonomous territories. ICRC worlwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Lebanon. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Nigeria. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Somalia. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Afghanistan. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Bosnia-Herzegovina. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Colombia. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Cambodia. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: El Salvador. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Georgia-Abkhazia. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Philippines. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Russian Federation. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: South Africa. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: France, United Kingdom, United States. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: The People on War Report. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.
  • Greenberg Research, Inc.: Country report: Parallel Research Programme. ICRC worldwide consultation on the rules of war. ICRC Publications, Geneva, 1999.

Supplementary information: The project People on War has a web page where all reports published by Greenberg Research are available. Scientific publications are planned.

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Data Set 2000AJa
Survey on experiences of war, war-torn countries — 1999

General questions (countries exposed to war / countries not recently exposed to war):

Age, level of education, family situation, number of children, working status.

Actions that should not be allowed for combatants in times of war and principal reason why they should not be, opinion on: depriving the civil population of food, medicine or water to weaken the enemy, to attack the enemy in populated villages or towns knowing that many civilians would be killed, to destroy religious or historical monuments, to kidnap civilians in order to get something in exchange, knowledge of rules that would not allow to do that, opinion on protected areas and peacekeeping operations and their capacity to improve the conditions of life for civilians in times of war; types of arms that should not be allowed in war, opinion on the planting of land mines, opinion on the treatment of prisoners and their rights: the right to contact their relatives, torture of a prisoner of war in order to obtain military information, the right of prisoners to be visited by a representative from an independent organization, what representatives should be allowed, opinion on the execution of prisoners, own experiences during war, estimation of the age at what a young person is mature enough to be a combatant.

The Geneva Conventions: familiarity with the emblem, people protected by the emblem, existence of rules or laws that are so important that if broken during war, the person who broke them should be punished, basis of these rules or laws, opinion on the capacity of these rules to limit wars; people or institutions: who should be responsible of punishment of people who break these rules, what people would the respondent contact when fighters attack civilians, cut-off food, etc., people who played the most important role in war, wishes concerning the existence of interventions by the international community, opinion concerning the duration of peace and resurgence of war in the future.

Specific questions to war-torn countries:

Area where the respondent lives: in the war zone, elsewhere; participation in war, words to describe war, behavior towards the enemy in times of war, in what cases attacking civilians would be legitimate, own experiences in different situations of war; support of one of the parties during the conflict, own experiences during war, people that the respondent has been in contact with when he was imprisoned.

Information on the data sets by country (non-response rate is not available):

AFGHANISTAN
Analyzed unit: afghan population of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: July 3-13 1999.
Number of cases: 995/ Number of variables: 126.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
Analyzed unit: population of Bosnia of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: February 15 to March 5 1999.
Number of cases: 2980/ Number of variables: 133.
The number of cases is higher as usual because there have been two surveys, one conducted by the ICRC personnel, one by the local partner of GRI.

CAMBODIA
Analyzed unit: population of Cambodia of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion/ kish grid.
Data collection: September 1 to September 16 1999.
Number of cases: 1009/Number of variables: 130

COLOMBIA
Analyzed unit: population of Colombia of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: November 8 to December 24 1999.
Number of cases: 1857/ Number of variables: 132.
The number of cases is higher as usual because there have been two surveys, one conducted by the ICRC personnel and one by the local partner of GRI.

EL SALVADOR
Analyzed unit: population of El Salvador of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: May 22 to 30 1999.
Number of cases: 1001/ Number of variables: 86.

GEORGIA-ABKHAZIA
Analyzed unit: population of Georgia of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: Georgia: May 20 to July 15 1999/ Abkhazia: Mai 26 to June 15 1999.
Number of cases: 1033/ Number of variables: 132.

ISRAEL AND OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Analyzed unit: population of Israel and occupied territories of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: Israel: June 4 to July 20 1999/ Occupied territories: June 6-9 1999.
Number of cases: 928/ Number of variables: 164.

LEBANON
Analyzed unit: population of Lebanon of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: Not specified.
Data collection: March 26 to April 241999.
Number of cases: 1000/ Number of variables: 155.

NIGERIA
Analyzed unit: population of Nigeria of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: Kish grid.
Data collection: June 5 to 30 1999.
Number of cases: 1000/ Number of variables: 128.

PHILIPPINES
Analyzed unit: population of the Philippines of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: Kish grid.
Data collection: January 24 to February 6 1999.
Number of cases: 2100/ Number of variables: 154.
The number of cases is higher as usual because there have been two surveys, one conducted by the ICRC personnel and the other by the local partner of GRI.

SOMALIA
Analyzed unit: population of Somalia 15 years and older.
Selection of respondents: Not specified.
Data collection: April 1999
Number of cases: 1005/ Number of variables: 168.

SOUTH AFRICA
Analyzed unit: South African population of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: not specified.
Data collection: April 14 to May 21 1999.
Number of cases: 1500/ Number of variables: 149.

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Data Set 2000AJb
Survey on representations of war in France, UK, USA, Russia, Switzerland — 1999

General questions (countries exposed to war / countries not recently exposed to war):

Age, level of education, family situation, number of children, working status.

Actions that should not be allowed for combatants in times of war and principal reason why they should not be, opinion on: depriving the civil population of food, medicine or water to weaken the enemy, to attack the enemy in populated villages or towns knowing that many civilians would be killed, to destroy religious or historical monuments, to kidnap civilians in order to get something in exchange, knowledge of rules that would not allow to do that, opinion on protected areas and peacekeeping operations and their capacity to improve the conditions of life for civilians in times of war; types of arms that should not be allowed in war, opinion on the planting of land mines, opinion on the treatment of prisoners and their rights: the right to contact their relatives, torture of a prisoner of war in order to obtain military information, the right of prisoners to be visited by a representative from an independent organization, what representatives should be allowed, opinion on the execution of prisoners, own experiences during war, estimation of the age at what a young person is mature enough to be a combatant.

The Geneva Conventions: familiarity with the emblem, people protected by the emblem, existence of rules or laws that are so important that if broken during war, the person who broke them should be punished, basis of these rules or laws, opinion on the capacity of these rules to limit wars; people or institutions: who should be responsible of punishment of people who break these rules, what people would the respondent contact when fighters attack civilians, cut-off food, etc., people who played the most important role in war, wishes concerning the existence of interventions by the international community, opinion concerning the duration of peace and resurgence of war in the future.

Specific questions to the five non war-torn countries:

Military service, experience in war situations.

General impression on what happens in the world, interest for war documentaries in foreign countries (when the own country is not involved), own attitude regarding conflict parties, reasons why one party is supported, opinion on the fact if most of the wars are unavoidable or not, reasons that are invoked to explain why wars still continue to emerge. Own readiness to give assistance to a combatant who killed a family member; feelings regarding the laws and rules on war, measures to reduce the number of victims of war and importance of these measures, evolution of war related atrocities over time and possibility to prevent them; commitment of the own country in: humanitarian assistance, to limit wars, providing peace forces.

Information on the data sets by country (non-response rate is not available):

FRANCE
Analyzed unit: population of France of 18 years and older
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: 1999.
Number of cases: 755/ Number of variables: 89.

RUSSIA
Analyzed unit: population of Russia of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: not specified.
Data collection: March - May 1999
Number of cases: 1000/ Number of variables: 104.

SWITZERLAND
Analyzed unit: population of Switzerland of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: July 2 to July 22 1999
Number of cases: 751/ Number of variables: 98.

UK
Analyzed unit: population of UK of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: March - May 1999
Number of cases: 750/ Number of variables: 105.

USA
Analyzed unit: population of USA of 18 years and older.
Selection of respondents: birthday criterion.
Data collection: March - May 1999.
Number of cases: 1009/ Number of variables: 98.

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Related information:

* Back to general information about People on War
* ICRC Web Site on People on War

Other related web wages:

* FORS Data Archive

 
  ARCH / Last update: 15.10.2009