Appendix: Methodology
and Interviewee Details

Charney Research conducted 40 in-depth interviews in August–October 2014 on issues related to the conflict in Syria and local-level initiatives to promote peace, reconciliation, and transitional justice for the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC). This was the second phase of our Syrian qualitative research. (The first phase was conducted a year earlier, in August and September 2013.)

Craig Charney and Christine Quirk conducted field training of the research firm’s field supervisors in August 2014 in Istanbul. During this training we refined the discussion guide, explained strategies for obtaining cooperation, discussed potential obstacles and solutions, and conducted practice interviews to ensure correct administration of the questionnaire. The field supervisors, in turn, trained and briefed local staff for the study. We are impressed by and deeply grateful for their commitment and courage, without which we could not have conducted the research.

The objective of this study was to ensure that all the main demographic and confessional groups, and people in various government- and opposition-held locales, including in the two largest cities, were included in the study. We set quotas for each region and demographic, and used a modified snowball sampling technique to select respondents. Under this method, which is commonly used when interviewing difficult to access populations, respondents who met the quota criteria were referred by acquaintances of local interviewers and/or selected on the basis of referrals from study participants. (Interviewers could not interview their own acquaintances, however.) Such a sample is not statistically representative of the Syrian population; however, statistical descriptions are not required for qualitative research of this type. We chose this method, rather than a larger-scale quantitative poll — which is not feasible under current Syrian conditions — to enable us to explore similarities and differences in respondents’ opinions and probe and contrast their reactions to ideas and possibilities in depth.

A first round of interviews took place between August 21 and September 9, 2014. The interviews were roughly half an hour in length, in Arabic, and were recorded live. They were transcribed in Arabic, then translated into English by the research firm. Interviews were conducted in person by the local research firm’s Syria-based interviewers, all of whom were native Arabic-speaking Syrians.

The interviews were conducted in the following areas: four each in Aleppo, Raqqah, Hama, Damascus, Deir al-Zor[1], Hasakah, Tartous, Homs, and two each among refugees in Turkey and Jordan. Six were conducted among internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Syria. Sixteen interviews were conducted among pro-regime respondents and 24 among opponents. Four respondents were Christian, six were Alawi, four were Kurds and 26 were Sunni Arabs. The interview pool included 20 men and 20 women.

From the initial round of 40 interviews, Charney Research rejected 20 due to quality control issues. They were replaced by the results of a second round of interviews between October 21 and 31, 2014, done by different interviewers. They were conducted in the following areas: four each in Deir al-Zor, Hasakah and Raqqah, three each in Aleppo and Tartous, and two in Hama. After a careful quality control evaluation, we concluded these interviews were satisfactory.

Since this is a qualitative research report, it does not use numbers to describe the distribution of opinions. Nor does it speak of “the majority” or “the minority.” Rather, we use qualitative descriptors when referring to proportions within the interview pool that hold a view or express a position. The definitions for these terms are as follows:

“All” — Every respondent in a group

“Almost All”— More than eight-in-ten respondents

“Most”— Between six and eight-in-ten respondents

“Divided”— Between four and six-in-ten respondents

“Many”— Between three and four-in-ten respondents

“Some”— Between two and three-in-ten respondents

“Few”— Less than two-in-ten respondents

“None”— Zero-in-ten respondents

The table below lists the 40 interviews that passed Charney Research’s quality control standards.

No. LOCATION GENDER REFUGEE
or IDP?
AGE CONFESSION EDUCATION COMPLETED REGIME STANCE
1 Aleppo Male 32 Sunni Fabric Salesman Anti
3 Homs Male 37 Sunni Architect Pro
5 Hama Male 26 Sunni Car Mechanic Anti
8 Damascus Female 55 Alawi Housewife Pro
11 Damascus Female 33 Sunni Teacher Anti
13 Homs Female IDP 35 Sunni Housewife Anti
15 Homs Female 23 Christian University Student Pro
16 Damascus Male 28 Christian Accountant Pro
17 Turkey Male Refugee 30 Sunni Pharmacist Anti
21 Damascus Male 44 Alawi Government Employee Pro
24 Tartous Female 30 Alawi Government Employee Pro
28 Jordan Male Refugee 30 Sunni Construction Worker Anti
29 Homs Male IDP 29 Christian Mobile Phone Maintenance Anti
30 Jordan Male Refugee 35 Sunni Tailor Anti
32 Hama Female 27 Sunni Tailor Pro
35 Jordan Female Refugee 25 Sunni Housewife Anti
36 Jordan Female Refugee 20 Sunni Housewife Anti
37 Turkey Female Refugee 23 Sunni University Student Anti
38 Turkey Female Refugee 29 Sunni Teacher Anti
39 Turkey Male Refugee 32 Sunni Business Management Anti
41 Al-Hasakah Male 32 Kurd Accountant Pro
44 Al-Hasakah Male 28 Kurd Teacher Anti
43 Al-Hasakah Female 23 Kurd University Student Anti
44 Al-Hasakah Female 35 Kurd Housewife Pro
45 Aleppo Female 28 Sunni Teacher Anti
46 Deir al-Zor Female IDP 34 Sunni Housewife Anti
47 Deir al-Zor Male 29 Sunni Free Trader Anti
48 Aleppo Male 27 Sunni Mechanical Engineer Anti
49 Aleppo Female 30 Sunni Hairdresser Anti
50 Raqqah Female 39 Sunni Housewife Anti
51 Deir al-Zor Male 40 Sunni Teacher Anti
52 Raqqah Male 29 Sunni Owner of Clothing Store Pro
53 Raqqah Male 40 Sunni Owner of Fabric, Clothing Store Anti
54 Hama Male 25 Sunni Driver Anti
55 Tartous Male 24 Alawi University Student Pro
56 Hama Female 29 Alawi Teacher Pro
57 Tartous Male 34 Alawi Decoration Engineer Pro
58 Tartous Female IDP 21 Christian University Student Pro
59 Tartous Female 37 Sunni Housewife Anti
60 Raqqah Female 25 Sunni Teacher Anti

 


  1. None of the areas in Deir al-Zor where respondents were located were under ISIS control at the time of the interviews.

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