While there are many resources for studying civil wars and insurgencies in Africa, information about other forms of social unrest has been lacking. The Social Conflict in Africa Database (SCAD) includes information on over 6,000 protests, riots, strikes, coups, communal violence, and other types of social unrest. SCAD covers all countries in Africa with a population of over 1 million from 1990 until 2009, and will be periodically updated. The research team compiled the data from Associated Press (AP) and Agence France Presse (AFP) news wires. Each event record contains information on start and end dates, the type of event, the actors and targets involved, the number of participants, the number of fatalities, use of government repression, event locations, and issues. While other data sources contain rich information about armed conflict in Africa, the goal of the SCAD project is to provide researchers, journalists, NGOs, and the policy community more detail about other forms of social conflict.

SCAD is part of the Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) program at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin. The CCAPS program is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense's Minerva Initiative, a university-based, social science research program focused on areas of strategic importance to national security policy. The SCAD team is based at the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Austin.

The team has made every effort to provide a comprehensive resource on social conflict in Africa, based on AP and AFP news wires. However, no honest research project can claim to have accounted for each and every instance of unrest. While civil wars and insurgencies are recorded, based on information from the Uppsala University Armed Conflicts Database, SCAD does not provide a comprehensive account of armed conflict. Please see the methodology page and codebook for more information about data limitations and compatibility with other data sources.