Databases of Transitional Justice Mechanisms and Contexts: Comparing Research Purposes and Design

International Journal of Transitional Justice. 10, 3, p. 492-515 (2016)

Posted: 15 Mar 2019

See all articles by Louise Mallinder

Louise Mallinder

Queen's University Belfast

Catherine O'Rourke

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute

Date Written: November 1, 2016

Abstract

Over the past decade, scholars researching the causes, forms and impacts of transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms have increasingly turned to cross-national databases to document cases, facilitate comparisons and develop causal analyses. Such research has been heralded as having the potential to address significant knowledge gaps in the field. However, to date, database research has produced patchy and contradictory findings. To interrogate why these differences have arisen, this article draws on a new database relating to the key elements of research design in 20 databases of TJ mechanisms or transitional contexts. The systematic comparative analysis of these databases finds that they are constructed for a range of distinct purposes, which in turn shape different approaches to research design and lead to divergent findings. The article argues that greater reflection on the diverse purposes of databases can help scholars appreciate how different forms of databases can be used in an incremental and complementary manner to build knowledge that is persuasive for scholars and practitioners.

Keywords: databases; amnesties; transitional justice

Suggested Citation

Mallinder, Louise and O'Rourke, Catherine, Databases of Transitional Justice Mechanisms and Contexts: Comparing Research Purposes and Design (November 1, 2016). International Journal of Transitional Justice. 10, 3, p. 492-515 (2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341319

Louise Mallinder (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast ( email )

School of Law
Belfast, County (optional) BT1 7NN
United Kingdom
02890973470 (Phone)

Catherine O'Rourke

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland

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