We introduce a fine-grained method of categorizing protests by their strategies and tactics that places protests in a multidimensional space based on motivations—direct change towards a policy or goal; changing public discourse narratives; and building movement identities or communities. This technique recognizes that multiple motivations may exist and allows protests to be compared based on where they are in multiple dimensions. To test our method and the theoretical dimensions we hypothesize, we surveyed protesters at the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Using questions about participant goals and targets, and confirmatory factor analysis, we corroborate the existence of three dimensions. We show these dimensions provide real information about the differences between protests outside the two conventions. We conclude by discussing how our multidimensional measure can be extended to other events, social movement organizations, or whole movements to facilitate comparisons of events, organizations, or movements across time and space.

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