Crowdsourcing the measurement of interstate conflict (PLoS ONE, 2016)
D’Orazio V, Kenwick M, Lane M, Palmer G, Reitter D (2016) Crowdsourcing the Measurement of Interstate Conflict. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0156527. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156527
Much of the data used to measure conflict is extracted from news reports. This is typically accomplished using either expert coders to quantify the relevant information or machine coders to automatically extract data from documents. Although expert coding is costly, it produces quality data. Machine coding is fast and inexpensive, but the data are noisy. To diminish the severity of this tradeoff, we introduce a method for analyzing news documents that uses crowdsourcing, supplemented with computational approaches. The new method is tested on documents about Militarized Interstate Disputes, and its accuracy ranges between about 68 and 76 percent. This is shown to be a considerable improvement over automated coding, and to cost less and be much faster than expert coding.