If you are having some trouble using our tools, or want to learn more about how we approach research, please visit our Research Handbook.

If you are a developer, our toolchain is hosted on GitHub.

Research Handbook

Security Force Monitor’s Research Handbook is published online here.

The Research Handbook contains different types of information about Security Force Monitor’s research. We update the Research Handbook regularly to reflect the needs of our research, usually in response to new situations our researchers encounter.

The Research Handbook has three parts:

  • Methodology: here we give an overview of the phases of our research into a country’s security forces, from initial scoping through to publication of the data we created.
  • Data Model: in this section you can find out more about the way that Security Force Monitor structures the data it collects, outlines the main entities in use (persons,organizationsand events). This section also details how each field is used and has lots of practical examples of how to apply the data entry guidelines.
  • Prototype User Guide: we have developed a prototype web application to publish and visualize the data we collect. This user guide contains a walk-through of the main features of the prototype, including its maps, charts, dossiers and search capabilities.

The Research Handbook source is hosted on Github, and published online as a Gitbook. When reading it, we are sure you will find things that can be improved – please let us know what needs to be done, either by emailing us, submitting a pull request or filing a issue on Github.

Developer resources

The code and documentation for our research platform is hosted on Github.

We used our incubation period in 2015-2016 to develop our research method and data model. It quickly became clear that our needs had rapidly outgrown a spreadsheet.

We undertook to prototype a research and data visualization platform with technology partners James McKinneyOpen NorthFFunction and DataMade.

The prototype platform has three parts:

  • A front-end web application to visualise the data. The prototype blends map-based and chart-based visualizations, search and faceted browsing. It  enables users of the Security Force Monitor to quickly look-up names and locations of organisations and persons within security forces, see how they relate to each other geographically and within the “organigram” of that particular security force.
  • A content management system that our researchers use to enter and analyse data. The data standard used by Security Force Monitor runs to around 90 fields over 10+ classes. Our content management system helps researchers overcome this complexity.
  • An Application Programming Interface (API) to link the front-end and the content management system. The API is useful to developers, and introduces helpful flexibility in the future tools that we can use to manage and visualize data.

Again, the code and documentation for our research platform is hosted on Github.