Political Violence FieldLab

Launched in July 2019, the Political Violence FieldLab provides a home for basic and applied research on the causes and effects of political violence. Under the direction of Jason Lyall, the FieldLab provides students the opportunity to work on cutting-edge and policy-relevant questions in the study of political violence.

About the FieldLab

Typically, half of our projects involve archival research, allowing students to use their language skills to uncover broader patterns of historical violence.

The other half of our projects involve close collaboration with government agencies and non-government organizations to evaluate the effects and effectiveness of coercive and economic interventions in contemporary conflict settings like Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Nigeria. In particular, the FieldLab specializes in the evaluation of how these interventions affect civilian attitudes and behavior in wartime as well as how insurgents respond to such policies.

Students work on real-world interventions and are provided the chance to acquire (or deepen) statistical, geospatial, and programming skills. Past partners include Mercy Corps, the United States Institute for Peace, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. 

The FieldLab is committed to the ethical conduct of research in war zones and strives to protect its subjects, field teams, and researchers. 

Research Clusters

We are currently conducting research in three clusters: 

  1. The effects of civilian casualties and humanitarian assistance in conflict settings
  2. The historical dynamics of political violence on the battlefield, including why soldiers desert and defect, and why armies engage in fratricidal violence
  3. Support and assist efforts to evaluate economic and humanitarian interventions in conflicts with partner organizations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen

Join the FieldLab

Students interested in joining the field lab should send an email briefly describing their major, relevant experience, and skills (e.g. data analysis, GIS modelling, translating etc.) to the FieldLab Manager, Ella von Baeyer, four weeks before the start of the following quarter.

All positions are paid.

Please note that, unfortunately, not all interested students can be hired, as the FieldLab runs a limited number of projects at a time.  

The FieldLab was originally founded at Yale University in July 2015.