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WIREs Clim Change
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Research methods for exploring the links between climate change and conflict

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The potential links between climate change and conflict have received much attention in recent years, but there is little consensus on the issue in the relevant literature. So far, few methodological reflections exist in climate–conflict research. This is unfortunate given the tremendous innovations in methods the research field has experienced in recent years and the potential of diverse methods to shed light on different aspects of the subject matter, thereby increasing our understanding of potential climate–conflict links. In order to counteract this shortcoming, this paper provides a comprehensive review of the developments and innovations in methods in climate–conflict research. It first identifies and discusses the most common methods in the research field: large‐N statistical analysis and qualitative case study. The study goes on to evaluate four new methods that have emerged particularly since 2012: integration of statistical techniques and qualitative case studies; field experiment; risk analysis based on geographical information systems (GIS); and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). The review provides an overview of these methods and their potentials and pitfalls when used to study climate–conflict links. It also discusses how future research can deal with a pluralism of methods in order to gain deeper insights into the relationship between climate change and conflict. WIREs Clim Change 2017, 8:e456. doi: 10.1002/wcc.456

Methods used by papers on climate change and conflict published in the research field's top journals, 2007–2015.
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