On summer school

From 29 June to 3 July, I attended the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre’s five day summer school on Human Rights Research Methods.


From their description of program learning outcomes,

All sessions will address research design, methodology and impact and will draw heavily on examples and case-studies. The programme also includes dedicated sessions on particular projects to develop the themes of research design, methodology and impact in greater depth. The summer school will be interactive, affording students many opportunities to apply the theory they have learned, including through dedicated sessions in which students will be given a problem ahead of the class and asked to prepare the research questions, methodology and impact strategy. Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on existing research plans in one-on-one clinics throughout the school.

In taking this course, students will:

  • have a strong understanding of the key methods used in human rights research and the way in which they can be used on their own or in combination (mixed methods);
  • learn to design research projects with a strong methodology, including for grant applications and to have optimal impact on policy and in practice;
  • have a strong understanding of how to ensure that the research meets ethical standards including in NGOs without ethics committees;
  • gain a strong appreciation of qualitative interviewing techniques including issues involved with interviewing victims and affected communities and carrying out research on sensitive human rights topics;
  • learn how to interpret data gained through interviews;
  • become ‘literate’ in carrying out quantitative research and collecting, processing and using data;
  • understand how to do research in different countries and researching in closed and challenging societies;
  • how to design and carry out comparative country research; and
  • how to measure the impact of policies and practices based on human rights.

Crazy intense experience; crazy worth it. Bonus learning outcome: Dr. Todd Landman is a magician.