Centre for the Study of Conflict
School of History, Philosophy and Politics,
Faculty of Humanities, University of Ulster
[Background] [Staff] [PROJECTS] [Publications] [Other Information] [Contact Details]
The following page provides details of some of the various projects that were completed by the Centre for the Study of Conflict. The links immediately below can be used to move quickly to the entry for a particular project. Where projects have resulted in work published by the Centre for the Study of Conflict the project title is shown as a link which leads to a page containing extracts of the work.
Details of Completed Research Projects
Details of Completed Research Projects
This is a case study based investigation
of parental aspirations and their implications for the provision
of second level education, The Centre for the Study of Conflict
has been involved with a number of research projects examining
the role of education in the Northern Ireland conflict. The development
of integrated schooling has therefore been of special interest
to us with reports being published on the roles of parents and
teachers, the curriculum, and relationships between the integrated
schools and other groups involved in the provision of education
in Northern Ireland (forthcoming from the Centre).
Education in Northern Ireland underwent
major changes following the implementation of the Education
Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 1989. Amongst these was the
increased role given to those seeking to provide integrated education.
There are currently 37 integrated schools - 23 primary schools
and 14 secondary level colleges; educating over 8,000 children
- with a projection for September 1998 of 43 schools with 10,500
children, which is around 3 per cent of the total school population. The
interaction of parental choice and the expansion of integrated
schooling has raised serious issues about the allocation of resources
and the ability of the Department of Education for Northern Ireland
(DENI) and the five Education and Library Boards to meet parental
aspirations. There is an urgent need therefore to explore as
wide a range of options as possible and to involve all groups
engaged in education in a debate about the choices which will
have to be made and the priorities which will have to be established.
This will be a complex process and one
which is likely to have to take account of specific local circumstances
in different parts of Northern Ireland. By carrying out a case
study in one specific area, Educational Provision and Parental
Choice will explore both the general issues and the need for flexibility
in meeting local requirements. This will examine the spectrum
of Views across the community in relation to the future development
of secondary education and the range of options which might meet
the aspirations of a wide range of different interest groups.
It will also seek to highlight the mechanisms by which local
opinion can be sought, how options can be presented and how the
interaction between local and general issues can be handled.
It is anticipated that it will provide information and insights
with wider applicability beyond the immediate case study area.
This is a three part study of the role played by anxiety in successful intergroup interactions. It involves a survey of first-year students at Further and Higher Education Colleges across Northern Ireland. The survey investigates their degree of association with people of a different religion to their own, their willingness to stereotype others and their projected fear at being involved with others in various specified situations. Volunteers from among the survey participants are then involved with mixed religion groups in consensual decision-making using survival problems. Before and after measures of anxiety are taken and participants rate other members of the group on such characteristics as cooperativeness, niceness, aggression, and leadership. A subsample of the volunteers is involved in part three of the study which is indepth interviews designed to tap the antecendents of prejudice. The finish date for the project is October 1998. A report of the survey will be followed by a report on the whole study.
With the establishment of peace agreements/ceasefires in South Africa, Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland in the early 1990s, a research project was begun, to investigate the role played by the NGO sector in these conflicts and their respective contributions to 'civil society'.
The International Study of Peace/Conflict Resolution Organisations (ISPO) project is the first major, internationally comparative effort, to analyse the nature, role and impact of NGOs engaged in some aspect of peace/conflict resolution activity across four regions of recent political conflict.
This study, which will present its findings in July 1998, is funded by the Nonprofit Sector Research Fund of the Aspen Institute, a Washington-based independent charitable foundation with a particular interest in the voluntary sector.
The Centre for the Study of Conflict is responsible for conducting the research in Northern Ireland under the leadership of Professor Seamus Dunn.
The Values in Education research project was commissioned by NICCEA following the development of a European research initiative focusing on Values Education by the Consortium of Institutions for Development and Research in Education in Europe (CIDREE).
The primary aim of the project is to explore and evaluate the current provision for values in the context of the Northern Ireland curriculum. In pursuing this aim, the research has involved reviewing the current programmes of study and undertaking interviews and discussions with teachers, curriculum support staff, and other individuals in the education field. The intention is to produce introductory guidance material which would initially heighten teachers' awareness of values pervading the formal curriculum, and enable them to identify aspects which are already receiving adequate attention and those which require further consideration. The promotion of values in education through whole school issues is also being addressed in this material.
A review of existing approaches to values in education in the European context and examples of different initiatives which have been developed in the promotion of values education also forms part of the research.
The EMU (Education for Mutual Understanding) Promoting School Project is an action research project of the Centre for the Study of Conflict at the University of Ulster. It is sponsored by the Positive Ethos Trust. It is born out of the work of the Ulster Quaker Peace Education Project (QPEP), and has a wealth of experience of working in schools.
The EMU Promoting School Project has two main aims:
It is involved in the design, development and delivery of whole
school programmes (in partnership with staff) around such issues
as self-esteem, the quality of relationships, conflict resolution
skills, peer mediation training and bullying.
The award was made jointly to the Centre and the Fordham University School of Law, New York. The funding has been provided to allow the two groups to design and offer a comprehensive workshop to train groups in 'non-adversarial' methods of conflict resolution.
This project is the first M.Phil/D.Phil studentship to be based in the Centre. It has been funded by the Central Community Relations Unit with the aim of supporting research in a field relevant to community relations in Northern Ireland. The research is intended to build on previous research conducted into community relations in a mixed residential area. The research focuses on education and looks at how a largely segregated system serves a mixed area and how education policy can impact on the religiously mixed character of a particular area. Nearing completion is a report of findings of a preliminary survey of head teachers throughout Northern Ireland. The survey was conducted to obtain an insight into the implementation of the cross-curricular themes (in particular EMU and CH) now that they are statutory requirements of the Northern Ireland curriculum. This part of the project has highlighted a number of concerns common to many schools.
The University of Ulster, in association with the Queen's University of Belfast and the Linen Hall Library, have received funding for a project to set up a computer server, linked to the Internet, which will provide information on the Northern Ireland conflict. The Centre for the Study of Conflict and INCORE are active partners in this project. In addition to helping secure the funding of the project and planning the organisation, the Centre will provide advice on the information to be included on the CAIN server.
The Centre together with the Irish Peace Institute, University of Limerick, are working on programme of research on issues of common interest to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The following are the projects which have been launched so far: Cross-Border Relationships; Education and the Peace Process; Churches and Religion in Ireland; The Economy and the Process; Children and Violence.
The Research has two fundamental tasks:
1. A Census of the main ethnic groups in Northern Ireland
This involves teams of researchers, with interpreters (where appropriate), going to business and residential addresses throughout Northern Ireland, and attempting to count the number of Chinese, Indian and Pakistani residents on a household basis. A census of the Traveller population will take place in October 1995. The researchers are using 'snowballing' methodology to attempt to gain maximum coverage in terms of counting the target populations. For the Chinese and Indian communities, the point of contact is obvious - the catering business. Research teams are told to approach an address, and ask two questions before recording any data - are you usually resident in Northern Ireland? do you, or anyone living with you, belong to the Indian, Chinese or Pakistani community? At the culmination of the interview, which asks basic questions - about tenure, age, sex, country of birth, and ethnic group - of those living at a particular address, the researchers will then ask the respondent if they know of the location of any other members of the target population. This process is repeated at subsequent contacts.
2. A series of in-depth interviews
When estimates of the target populations have been finalised, a multi-cluster sample of approximately 1100 will be drawn, and in-depth interviews will take place with those selected. The questionnaire's purpose will be to construct a sociological profile of the ethnic groups, and to assess the views and opinions of these groups, in terms of issues such as, their access to goods and services, and their experiences of racism. It is envisaged that a report on the project will be published in March 1996.
This project first considers what is meant by 'alienation', a term which is now widely used by politicians in relation to the Protestant community in Northern Ireland. Thereafter, using concept mapping and case studies, the 'causes' of and 'solutions' to alienation are empirically researched with a view to understanding its impact and relevance in the post-peace process era.
The object of the project is to investigate, from a variety of perspectives, the issues and problems involved in policing a divided society, Northern Ireland. The project became fully operational in March 1992 and the fieldwork and research was completed in March 1994.
This new project is just getting started. It will look in detail at the role of sport in the Northern Ireland community, especially with regard to community division and community relations. The central task will be a number of carefully chosen case studies.
This project sought to build on existing research about 'mixed' or inter-faith marriages in Northern Ireland. Although a marriage is a personal and private relationship all couples have to relate to influences external to their marriage. In Northern Ireland, this includes not only the world of family, neighbours, friends and colleagues but also the world of more formal institutions such as the churches, the education system and branches of government. Such institutions here tend to mirror and service community division - schools are a good example of this- and are not geared to coping with attempts to bridge difference. Marrying across the two communities confounds, confuses and challenges set patterns of response.
Secondary analysis of existing data deriving from interviews already conducted with couples provided evidence about which institutions and organisations affect people in mixed marriages. This offered an accurate base for further interviews with a range of individuals holding official positions at different levels in organisations. Questions were designed to produce evidence of organisational policy towards mixed marriage couples. A number of significant themes emerged, one of the most important of these being the concept of 'mismatch' i.e. between what the couple want/would like and what institutions want/ insist on. This recurring theme was felt to be of particular relevance to the churches.
The Ulster Quaker Peace Education Project (QPEP) is an action research project within the Centre for the Study of Conflict. It has facilitated 50 workshops this year, including a series of workshops for groups in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, the USA and Belarus. The age range of those attending was from 4 to adult. It developed inservice training days on EMU teachers for the Development of Conflict Resolution skills. Organised a P7 conference on 'Mediation for Children' from Primary schools in the Londonderry area.
Further grants have been awarded to Duncan Morrow and Derick Wilson to develop this project until 1995. It seeks to make training, study materials and research available to people and groups interested in community reconciliation.
PPRU is currently producing a series of reports on disability in Northern Ireland based on a large-scale survey of people with disabilities living in private households and communal establishments. The Centre was invited to extract part of the survey data held by PPRU and to carry out an analysis of disability in the two main religious communities. A report, to be published in the near future, will highlight any differences in the extent of disability between the two communities and will also consider possible explanations for any observed differences.
The Majority-Minority Review Project involves the production of a series of reports summarising research evidence on the comparative material conditions of the two communities in Northern Ireland. The first report, Education and Religion in Northern Ireland, was published in 1990, the second Employment, Unemployment and Religion in Northern Ireland, was published in 1991 and the third report, Housing and Religion in Northern Ireland, was published in 1994. A second edition of the education report, Education in a Divided Society: A Review of Research and Policy, was published in June 1995. A report on Geographical Segregation and Religion in Northern Ireland is currently being completed.
A short-term project completed on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to whom a report was submitted.
The Ethnic Studies Network originally began as a project within the Centre for the Study of Conflict. However, since 1994 it has been based in the recently created centre on ethnic conflict (INCORE).
This project has emerged from a request to evaluate a pilot programme introduced by Project Children which encourages more contact and follow-up work between children from Northern Ireland who had spent a summer in the United States.
This project has now been completed and a draft report is being sent to the funders.
Interim report submitted to the Central Community Relations Unit, 1992.
Last Modified by Martin Melaugh :