he original Unit #2 research question is:

Why do some countries experience civil war and other countries do not?

Your assignment is to submit two things:

1) A revision of this research question in which you alter the way you measure the predictor (independent variable). This means your submission should begin with a question very similar to the question above but with one key change. Your question should be 15-50 words.

2) A paragraph-long explanation that does three things: 1) clearly indicates the political or social outcome that the question is asking about (the dependent variable) and the political or social factor that the question suggests is related to that outcome (the independent variable); 2) explains the basic logic of how the factor leads to the outcome and how picking a different measure of the independent variable affects the proposed relationship between the factor and the outcome; and 3) provides a way to measure both the outcome and the factor leading to it. Your explanation should be 200-400 words.


1) Do countries experience civil war because they fail to protect citizens’ freedom of expression?

2) In my argument, one necessary cause to the variation of occurrence of civil war is a frustration at the individual level that stems from political exclusion and violent repression. Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental rights of human beings. International bodies such as the United Nations, through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1984, have proclaimed that all human beings are endowed with reason and conscience. Therefore, every human being has the right to acquire information, hold opinions, and share their thoughts and beliefs. Such ability to express opinions is fundamental to the advancement of knowledge and quality of living standard of any society in the world. When the basic need is not met, people can become frustrated because they do not get what they deserve. Of course, frustration does not automatically lead to violence. It is only when the repression happens so intense that people become angry and eventually violent.

In order to examine my hypothesis that the level of frustration leads to civil war, I originally proposed to use a measure that scores the level of political rights each country’s population has. The higher the score, the freer the country and the less intense the frustration that people hold towards their government. As an alternative measure of the causal process I am describing, instead of using an overall measure of political rights, I will use a specific measure of the legal protection of freedom of expression. I expect that this measurement change should be important to the findings because it is possible that a country restricts an individual’s ability to express their views or objections to government policy on social media, but is that same country may technically offer other political rights to citizens such as religious freedom or freedom of association. By measuring specifically the freedom of expression, rather than many different political rights, I expect that the relationship to civil war occurrence should be more clearly tied to state repression as a reason to fight. The dependent variable, civil war, is still defined as a war that:1) involves military action/violence by politically and militarily organized unit within that territory against the national government, and 2) causes between 500 to 1,000 combatants and civilians deaths in the first year of the conflict. If my proposed hypothesis is correct, the lower the freedom of expression, the higher the likelihood of civil war.