Report

Measuring the Impact of the Lifestory Approach on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism

May 12th 2020 - 14:37

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Lifestory videos, which are the personal stories of affected individuals, can be very persuasive in changing attitudes and thus reducing violent extremist sentiments. However, it is important to be able to gauge how effective lifestories have been as an approach to reducing extremism in a community. Therefore, this report lays out a methodology for assessing the success of lifestories in countering and preventing violent extremism. Importantly, the lifestory campaign must be designed with measurable outcomes in mind, and so a pre- and post-story interview discussing the impact with the participant is a useful tool. The paper also recommends a mixed-methods approach that includes quantitative and qualitative research in the form of interviews, ethnographic observations, questionnaires, and project activities reception. Online indicators such as the number of clicks, views, length of viewing, generation of comments, number of redirected users, and the number of users in the lifestories database/website via Google Analytics are also a fruitful source of insight into the impact of the lifestory videos, providing valuable information about how to successfully prevent and counter violent extremism.

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Arlinda Rrustemi is a researcher and lecturer on peace and conflict studies. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Leiden University in the Netherlands. In 2016, Arlinda defended her doctoral thesis, entitled "State-Building through Life Stories: Incorporating Local Perspectives”, which was supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). She holds a B.A. (cum laude) from the University College Roosevelt and an LL.M. degree in Public International Law from Utrecht University. She teaches on humanitarian intervention, peacebuilding, power instruments and multilateral organizations, and is involved in several research projects uncovering peace infrastructures and countering radicalization.