The Fund for Peace methodology triangulates data from three primary sources and subjects them to critical review to obtain final scores for the Fragile States Index. The main data collection methods are
- Content analysis (electronic scanning);
- Quantitative data; and
- Qualitative input.
First, we download millions of documents (approximately in excess of 42 million every year from over 100,000 English-language or translated sources), including a variety of digitized news articles, essays, magazine pieces, speeches, and government and non-government reports (we do not use blogs, twitter, or other social media). Then, we apply our content analysis software to scan the documents using Boolean phrases on indicators within our CAST framework. Filters built into the software extract irrelevant or erroneous documents so the search can zero in on the specific subject matter defined in the Boolean phrases, and correct for false positives, pack journalism, and media drift.
Second, we incorporate quantitative data from reputable institutions, such as the UNHCR, WHO, UNDP, Transparency International, World Factbook, Freedom House, World Bank, and other reliable sources.
Third, the results are compared with insights from a separate qualitative review of each indicator for each country.
Taken together, the three methods serve as internal checks. Aggregated data are normalized and scaled from 0-10 to obtain final scores for 12 social, economic and political/military indicators for 178 countries. These results are then critically reviewed by analysts different from those who conducted the original research.
This multi-stage process has several layers of scrutiny to ensure the highest standards of methodological rigor, the broadest possible information base including both quantitative and qualitative expertise, and the greatest accuracy.