The research team is actually composed of two groups. One is a faculty group who work mostly on workplace and court Alternative Dispute Resolution as well as program evaluation and process assessment. The second group is composed of a mix of faculty, private conflict resolution practitioners, individuals from NGOs. This group works on a variety of issues including but not limited to: school based conflict resolution programs, mediator competencies, mediation styles, “best practices” in environmental public policy disputes and cross-cultural conflict.
The research projects undertaken by our research staff serves a number of purposes that directly fulfill our mission to educate people about conflict resolution theory, processes, and programs. The Center's research also provides invaluable apprenticeship opportunities for students to work directly with faculty in the exploration and critical examination of both theoretical and applied knowledge.
The Center for Conflict Resolution's research agenda covers both applied and basic research. We make use of quantitative and qualitative methods, quasi-experimental methods, and gaming experiments within controlled laboratory simulation settings.
Director of Research and Evaluation: Dr. E. Patrick McDermott
Senior Research Fellow: Ruth Obar, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow: Anita Jose, Ph.D.
Associate Director of Research: Brian Polkinghorn, Ph.D.
Senior Research Fellow: Vasilikie (Vicky) Demos, Ph.D.
Click on the titles to view the Studies of the Mediation Program (.PDF):
The Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the State of California have provided grants and contracts to conduct applied research by evaluating and assessing court based and workplace alternative dispute resolution programs and processes.
Our current research agenda includes an in depth study of the evolution and development of alternative dispute resolution programs throughout the Maryland court system. Included in this study is a path analysis of the various processes participants’ may choose to use within the court system to settle or resolve their cases. The major focus of the study is on the internal dynamics of various ADR processes. A secondary emphasis of the study will be to why parties and courts often go to specific mediators for high profile, complex or controversial cases.
Under a Hewlett grant, the Center for Conflict Resolution is sponsoring research by Dr. Lorig Charkoudian that examines the situational conduct of mediators in live mediation sessions.
The Center is also conducting research with Dr. Lorig Charkoudian and Dr. Cristian DeRitis on mediators' perceptions of the process. Using (inductive) cluster analysis we are examining mediators' responses to what they think and do in the mediation process.
The Center is currently conducting a major needs assessment of local clergy using focus groups (n=40) and survey research (n=+50). The focus is to understand the sources of conflict, how clergy respond to them as well as to assess how well prepared they are prepared to do so. Some of the types of conflict or challenges clergy report that they face on the job includes conflicts with: lay leaders, the congregation, other clergy, people within a denominational hierarchy. They experience conflict over issues such as: clergy roles and responsibilities, finances, liturgy, outreach programs, endowments, worship styles, major national issues that play out in factionalism within the local church, using the pulpit for political reasons, intergenerational conflict, issues surrounding a growing or shrinking congregation, the type of church certain factions want to maintain or change into (family, program, mission, corporate) and many more critical issues.
The basic research agenda is seen in our international projects that examine contextual conditions that exacerbate or mitigate conflict. We have conducted research on how violent social conflict and war conflict directly impact participants’ self reported conflict engagement styles in South Africa, Israel, the West Bank, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Thomas Boudreau (American University) and Dr. Brian Polkinghorn are engaged in novel theoretical development and testing of “conflict typologies” that feeds into “multiplex methodologies” that will provide new frameworks for theory development and conflict analysis. Tom and Brian have also published a few case studies using an "identity affirmation" model of conflict reduction.
Dr. Jean Marie Pinto (Nova Southeastern University) and Dr. Brian Polkinghorn are conducting an extensive examination of the impact of the negotiated rulemaking process on the US Environmental Protection Agency in its ability to work with contentious parties in the development of regulations.
Dr. Judith McKay (Director of DCAR at Nova Southeastern University) and Dr. Brian Polkinghorn are conducting an extensive examination of field based experiential learning tracks in graduate Conflict Resolution programs.
One of the more enjoyable research project being conducted by Center Staff involves conducting face-to-face personal interviews with leading world figures in regard to their involvement in domestic and international conflicts. For this project we personally interviewed influential members of the international community such as: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Shimon Peres, Arun Gandhi, Giandominico Picco, and Terry Waite, as well as various Presidents, Secretaries of State, United States Senators and members of various national parliaments.
Students, through their practicum experience in the Conflict Analysis Dispute Resolution program at Salisbury University have also conducted research with the institutional support of the Center for Conflict Resolution. The following are some examples of the research that has been conducted by our promising students:
Center Publications & Reports
Examining the Future Shape of Graduate Conflict Resolution Programs in English Speaking Countries"© (all rights reserved) slideshow as presented at Annual Conference of the Associate of Conflict Resolution on October 26, 2006, was presented and created by Dr. Brian Polkinghorn, Robert La Chance and Haleigh La Chance. (Do not cite without permission of authors).
"Making the Most of Conflict" slideshow as presented to the State of Maryland Division of Parole and Probation on May 5, 2005, was presented and created by Dr. Brian Polkinghorn:
At the Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association, March 21, 2003, in San Antonio, TX, members of the Center for Conflict Resolution's Research Team gave a presentation entitled:
At the American Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section Meeting, April 5, 2002, in Seattle, Washington, members of the Center for Conflict Resolutions Research Team gave a presentation entitled:
At the Association for Conflict Resolution's 2002 Annual Conference, held in San Diego, California, members of the Center for Conflict Resolutions Research Team gave a presentation entitled:
At the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Conference, April 28, 2001, held in Washington DC, members of the Center for Conflict Resolutions Research Team gave a presentation entitled:
|© Polkinghorn and La Chance, 2007|