Thursday, December 6, 2018
As we prepare for next semester, there are on-line resources that students new to the field can explore to learn the basics of human rights research.
The University of Michigan has "A Basic Approach to Human Rights Research" guide on it Human Rights Advocacy and the History of International Human Rights Standards webpage. A portion of the webpage states: Human rights organizations invented the genre of human rights research. It typically resembles evidence gathered for a legal argument rather than analysis in the tradition of social science. Human rights organizations do not seek to describe general social conditions; rather, the main objective of human rights reporting is to document patterns of human rights violations and expose the perpetrators, institutions and policies that facilitate abuse." Links take the reader to Recognizing Problems, Accountability for Abuse, Making Policy Decisions and other topics, including research methodology.
Georgetown Law Library has a Human Rights Law Research Guide. The guide is "designed to help researchers identify relevant secondary sources on human rights law and to quickly and efficiently locate the full texts of primary law materials, including treaties, country reports, and case law." The website notes that the resources pay special attention to the human rights of women on an international level.
Human Rights Watch addresses the organization's research. While the discussion is limited to their studies, students could learn much about human rights reading of the various research methodologies engaged by HRW research and their methodological challenges.
The United Nations provides links to human rights collections as well as links to their own sources. The webpage has links to Human Rights research centers, human rights institutions and general international legal resources. Links connect readers to specialized international legal sources and conventions and treaties.
Several other research guides exist, such as one designed by New York University.
We might consider a first assignment for students to conduct their own search for human rights research guides and explore specific methods of human rights research to discuss early in the semester.