Methods of Human Rights Research: A Primer

Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 32, pp. 179-186, 2010

8 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2009 Last revised: 16 Feb 2015

See all articles by Fons Coomans

Fons Coomans

Maastricht University - METRO Institute

F. Grunfeld

Maastricht University - METRO Institute

Menno T. Kamminga

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 27, 2009

Abstract

This article suggests that research in the field of human rights, especially legal human rights research, exhibits a tendency to devote insufficient attention to questions of methodology. This may be caused by the fact that human rights scholars often are (former) human rights activists. Dispensing with methodological niceties enables them to engage in wishful thinking and come up with the conclusions they were hoping to find in the first place. The article makes some suggestions for those who wish to avoid this pitfall, including carefully spelling out your research method, discussing which alternative methods you have rejected and avoiding the term ‘emerging’ human right.

Keywords: methodology, human rights

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Coomans, Fons and Grunfeld, F. and Kamminga, Menno T., Methods of Human Rights Research: A Primer (April 27, 2009). Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 32, pp. 179-186, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1395689

Fons Coomans

Maastricht University - METRO Institute ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

F. Grunfeld

Maastricht University - METRO Institute ( email )

PO Box 616
Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Menno T. Kamminga (Contact Author)

Maastricht University - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 616
6200 MD Maastricht
Netherlands

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