At War with the “Peace Index”


Okay, so the title is a bit of an exaggeration, but it captured your interest didn’t it? In an effort to collect a wide range of reliable longitudinal survey data of Israeli public opinion, I have been grabbing data from a number of fantastic sources around the web.

Among them are Israel Democracy Institute’s Israeli Democracy Index, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University’s impeccable public opinion survey reports, and Tel Aviv University’s War and Peace Index published by the Tami Steinmetz Center for Peace Research (TSC).  The former two institutes have put out a number of reports, many of which offer a range of longitudinal data in single reports. In short, I only have to read a document or two to get an understanding of the full range of their data.

By contrast, rather than offering any kind of composite report, the Peace Index lists its reports monthly from 1994-2009. While the site lists which questions are a permanent part of the index, they do not tell you which reports include responses to these questions. So let’s do the math. For a span of 16 years at 12 months a year, that equals 192 individual reports.

In order to compile data, I have had to go through each document, primarily in Hebrew, select out the questions in which I am interested, and individually record each and every data point. If you’ve ever wondered why professors hire research assistants, here is your answer. 5 hours in, I have only made my way through four years of data. If I stay on track, it should only take me another 15 hours to get through the rest.

I hope the data is ultimately worth the effort. Smile with tongue out

update (11/10/2011): Almost a year later, having poured over the data and produced numerous analyses that you can now find all over this blog, I can say with absolute certainty that yes, it was worth the effort.

3 Responses to At War with the “Peace Index”

  1. Friendly Tip says:

    The Peace Index is now a joint project of the Guttman Center of the Israel Democracy Institute and the Evens Center at Tel Aviv University. Couldn’t you approach one of them to see if their researchers could pull the data that you need? It would be a shame for you to invest so much time in something that a computer might be able to generate automatically.

  2. arielzellman says:

    Thank you for the friendly tip! I have actually tried to get in touch with the Peace Index folks and they never replied to my entreaties. Maybe I would have more luck if they are now part of the Democracy Institute… If you know of someone specifically to contact, that would be great!

  3. […] I spent a good portion of the day making phone calls and continuing to gather data from the aforementioned Peace Index. I also dropped in on the offices of the Israel Democracy Institute, located only about a kilometer […]

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