It’s that time of the semester - final project time. Actually, final project time started a few weeks ago, but I’m only just now really diving into it. I haven’t written a blog post in a long while because I’ve been very busy, but I wanted to document this process. I have a little bit more free time (not really - just more time to focus on my Python & Database classes) since IS501 concluded last week, and I’ve been using that time to start diving into my project.
I wrote at the beginning of the semester about project-based learning, and how I used the dataset I compiled for my senior thesis to understand concepts in my databases class. Well, that mental obsession never really went away, and it has morphed into something much bigger. Both my databases class (IS490DB) and my python class (IS452) conclude with a final project of our own devising. So I have merged those two final projects into one giant project (which will likely result in more work than doing them separately… but it is meaningful work that I want to do). For the database side of the project, I will write a SQL script to create a database that contains, connects, and describes the disparate datasets published by the Correlates of War project, the Issue Correlates of War project, and the Polity IV project. However, this only covers the creation of the tables and their referential integrity. The python side of the project will involve writing scripts to transform .csv files into SQL insert statements. Together, both sides of the project will result in a Github project repo that contains the necessary scripts to allow anyone to create and fill the database on their own machine. I plan to incorporate proper attribution, metadata, and meaningful context drawn from the codebooks into the database, as well as include SQL scripts for example views that transform the complex database back into the tabular form political scientists are used to for analytical work.
My goal is to use my (newly acquired) digital information science skills to make a valuable contribution to the domain that I care most about and would like to work within (international relations, specifically conflict resolution). In future semesters, I would like to build upon and add to this project, further expanding the database and its usefulness as an information resource for peace researchers.
If you are interested in following this project, you can find its Github repo here.