The research conducted by INFOCORE can be organized into six main phases:
- Conceptual Stage. In the first half year of 2014, each Work Package devises the specific conceptual framework for its analysis. It gathers existing knowledge from the academic literature, practitioners’ experiences, and available archives, and develops specific questions and expectations. In this stage, input from fellow academics, professional users, and other stakeholders is most appreciated to direct the research toward relevant, useful objectives.
- Operational Stage. Most of the second half of 2014, the various Work Packages are concerned with the definition of INFOCORE’s integrative methodological framework. To guarantee that the findings derived from by different research groups involved can be linked up and compared to one another, INFOCORE applies a cohesive set of methodological tools that will be applied in each group’s research.
- First Fieldwork Stage. In spring and summer 2015, INFOCORE conducts a wide range of interviews with journalists, political actors, experts, NGOs, and lay actors involved in the production and use of conflict-related media coverage. At the same time, we gather large amounts of strategic communication, media coverage, and political statements from the various countries and conflicts sampled. Based on an initial qualitative analysis, we develop an instrument for the large scale computer-assisted content analysis of dynamic conflict discourse.
- First Analytic Stage. Beginning in summer 2015, INFOCORE enters the analysis of obtained data. On the one hand, we identify characteristic strategies and interaction patterns of journalists, political actors, experts, NGOs, and lays trying to shape conflict coverage, or to make use of it for various aims. On the other hand, we analyze the evolution of contents for characteristic patterns and dynamics over time, using an innovative quantitative strategy for the analysis of complex time series data. Based on these results, we obtain first findings regarding the respective foci of the different Work Packages.
- Second Fieldwork & Analysis Stage. In spring 2016, the Work Packages enter into a second, briefer stage of fieldwork and analysis. This stage chiefly serves to flesh out the specific interactions between the different actors and dissemination stages: Additional interviews, informed by the first findings from the first Analytic Stage, serve to reconstruct specific interactions, moments and occurrences of interest; likewise, a qualitative analysis of specific moments and sub-debates in strategic communication, media, and political debate contents serve to qualify and comprehend the specific mechanisms how important content patterns arise and develop.
- Comparative Integration Stage. From summer 2016, the remaining months of INFOCORE are dedicated to integrating findings from all Work Packages. Thereby, we reconstruct the complex, evolving und interactive processes of conflict media production and content dissemination, and identify critical linkages, dependencies, and dynamics. Based on these findings, we address the specific academic and practical objectives of the project. At the end of the project, a range of publications summarizes the main results and develops specific recommendations for future research, conflict and media policy, and the day-to-day conduct of professionals and lays in conflict.