The Coming Out of Violence project monitored systematically the Northern Ireland peace process, as well as the peace processes in South Africa, Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka and the Basque Country. The aim of the project was to identify the peculiar and general features of each process. The research was comparative, empirical and was designed to facilitate the development of a better theoretical and practical understanding of the management of peace processes. The project resulted in a series of books on peace processes. An edited book on the management of peace processes will be published by Macmillan UK in 2000 and books on each of case study the peace processes will be published in the 2000-1 period. There have also been a range of other academic outputs such as conference papers and journal articles.
Peace process developments were monitored along six tracks: violence and security; progress towards political or constitutional agreement; economic factors; the role of external factors; popular responses and symbolism. Key participants in each peace process (senior politicians and policy makers) were interviewed on a repeat basis to ensure the accuracy of the research. A senior academic in each of the non-Northern Ireland conflict areas was recruited to act as project partners. PSEPII funds enabled the employment of a Northern Ireland based research officer to act as project co-ordinator and project meetings.
The project had a number of spin-off benefits - such as the opportunity to brief politicians and government policy-makers (at home and abroad) on the lessons to be learned from the comparative study of peace processes. The project partners were also regularly interviewed in the media. The project was able to make a contribution to academic thinking on peace processes.