Module Details

GV508-7-SP-CO: The Analysis Of Conflict And Peace

Year: 2017/18
Department: Government
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: Yes

Teaching Staff: Dr Martin Steinwand
Contact details: Dr Martin Steinwand, email:; Administrator: Alex West,

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

Module description
This module focuses on contemporary conflict and peace research and the concept and tools necessary to be able to follow current research in this area. Whereas many courses focus on "knowing that", or familiarizing students with particular facts or existing contributions to the literature, our emphasis here will very much be on "knowing how", or the underlying logic of theoretical arguments about war and peace and how researchers evaluate these. In particular, we will not focus on meta-theories such as realism or liberalism, which postulate a set of core assumptions and general propositions on how international relations are held to operate, but instead look at the implications entailed by different theories and arguments on war and peace, and think of ways to evaluate if these are consistent with empirical patterns. We will examine the relationship between theory and evidence, measurement, and research design in research on war and peace. The specific theories and issues we will examine include conflict trends, the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics, and international organizations to conflict and peace.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Module organization
Teaching on the module consists of weekly two hour lectures throughout the Spring term.

The lectures take place on Weeks 16 to 25 and Thursday 5pm to 6pm. A brief outline of their content and a reading list is provided further on.

Students are expected to participate actively in discussions in the seminar and must complete three pieces of assigned coursework. Note that the coursework will require students to make use of the free statistics package R, available at (no prior knowledge of R is assumed).

The lecture will be followed by a computer lab on Friday from 11am til 12pm.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Your work on the module is assessed in by three assignments. Assignment 1, due week 18: 20% Assignment 2, due week 22: 30% Assignment 3, due week 30: 50%

Other details

The FASer deadline will be no later than 9.45am on the module lecture day. Failure to submit the electronic copy by this deadline will incur a mark of zero. You will be able to access the on-line submission via your myEssex portal or via FASer allows you to store your work-in-progress. This facility provides you with an ideal place to keep partially completed copies of your work and ensures that no work, even drafts, are lost. If you have any problems up-loading your coursework, you should contact You may find it helpful to look at the FASer troubleshooting guide

Other information

Objectives of the module
By the end of the module the students should have achieved the following:
* Have a good overview and understanding of current theories on the causes of war and peace
* Understand current controversies on the causes of war and peace using the theories discussed in the course
* Understand core issues regarding how one would evaluate the implications of distinct theories and assess the validity of theoretical and empirical claims
* Practical knowledge of data sources relevant to conflict and basic analysis skills

Further information