Essex Human Rights Summer School
Photo's from last years summer school are available via our
The Human Rights Centre will offer its five day summer school in
Human Rights Research Methods from 3 – 7 July 2017.
We have put together an exciting teaching team of some of the
leading Essex and external human rights academics and practitioners, all
with extensive experience of researching and working on human rights
issues in a wide range of contexts. The summer school is ideal for human
rights professionals working in NGOs, government and international
organisations; lawyers; academics and postgraduate students.
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We hope to see you at Essex next summer!
“An improved approach to human rights” from University of Essex on
2017 Human Rights Summer School programme
Human Rights Research Methods
We are delighted to announce the 2017 programme for the Human Rights Centre’s pioneering summer school on
Human Rights Research Methods. Since the launch of the summer school in 2014, there has been growing recognition
of the importance of paying attention to methodology in human rights research, especially with the increasing
emphasis on evidence and on assessing and enhancing the impact of human rights. While academics, non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations carry out vast amounts of research,
very little attention has traditionally been paid to methodology in human rights. However, the strength, persuasiveness
and legitimacy of research findings and, in turn, the ability of such findings to influence policy and practice will
be greatly enhanced by methodological rigor. Run over 5 days, the Research Methods summer school provides the core
methods and skills needed to carry out human rights research whether for academic scholarship, bids for large research
projects or reports for NGOs, governments and international organisations. Participants will learn how to design research
projects and carry them out both in a headquarters environment or while working in the field. They will learn about the range
of tools and methodologies for human rights research (whether academic or practical) and when, why and how to employ particular
research methods in specific research contexts. The summer school not only focuses on documenting human rights violations
using qualitative and quantitative research methods but it also addresses questions of how to measure the impact and effectiveness
of policies and practices based on human rights. It is an essential course for postgraduate students, academics, lawyers and human
rights professionals working in NGOs, government and international organisations. Participants in previous years have expressed
strong satisfaction with the content and the delivery of the programme and the demand for places has remained high.
"These are exactly the types of skills needed by researchers
in NGOs and in the UN and other international
organisations. Knowing the Human Rights Centre, I am
confident that it will deliver a summer school that is
not only strong in academic content but very relevant
and applicable to practical contexts."
Ian Martin, former Secretary General of
Amnesty International and head of UN human rights
missions and peace operations in Rwanda, East Timor,
Nepal and Libya
Taught by an international faculty of experts in the field, the sessions will focus on research design, methodology and impact
and will examine relevant 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. As an interactive summer school, it will afford
participants many opportunities to apply the theory they have learned, including through dedicated sessions in which participants
will be given a problem ahead of the session and asked to prepare the research questions, methodology and impact strategy. Participants
will have the opportunity to receive feedback on existing research plans in one-on-one clinics throughout the school.
In taking this course, participants will:
- acquire 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 practice;
- attain 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;
- learn how to design and carry out comparative country research; and
- understand how to measure the impact of policies and practices based on human rights
The summer school will be taught by a combination of Essex and external human rights academics and practitioners. The team includes:
- Judith Bueno de Mesquita, School of Law & Deputy Director, Human Rights Centre Clinic.
- Professor Başak Çalı, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, and Director of the Center for Global Public Law at Koç University, Istanbul.
- Dr Cosette Creamer, Benjamin E. Lippincott Chair in Political Economy & Assistant Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science and School of Law, University of Minnesota.
- Barbora Cernusakova, Researcher at Amnesty International and University of Manchester
- Nicholas Fasel - TBC, Chief Statistician, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights - OHCHR
- Dr Carla Ferstman,Director, REDRESS.
- Dr Anita Gohdes, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Center for Comparative and International Studies, University of Zurich & Human Rights Data Analysis Group.
- Professor Paul Hunt,Human Rights Centre and School
of Law, University of Essex and former Senior Human Rights Advisor to the World Health Organization Assistant
Director-General; UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and Rapporteur of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Dr Patrick Lown,EssexLab, Department of Government, University of Essex.
- Esther Major, Consultant for WHO & former Researcher/Adviser at Amnesty International
- Professor Lorna McGregor, School of Law, Director Human Rights Centre & Co-Director, Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project. Member, Equality and Human Rights Commission.
- Jo Pettit, Lead Researcher, Freedom from Torture.
- Dr Róisín Ryan-Flood, Department of Sociology, University of Essex
- Dr Clara Sandoval, Acting Director, Human Rights Centre, Director, Essex Transitional Justice Network, and Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Essex.
- Dr Ahmed Shaheed, Human Rights Centre & School of Law, University of Essex. UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief (2016-19)
- Dr Gary Williams, Research Development Manager, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Essex.
- Qualitative Data Analysis
- Interviewing Survivors of Human Rights Violations
- Single and Comparative Case Studies
- The Use of Focus Groups
- Conducting In-Country Research
- Human Rights Indicators
- The Role of Databases
- Socio-Economic and Administrative Statistics
- Counting Rights Violations
- Measuring the Impact of the Right to Health
- Documenting Harm and Claiming Reparations in Countries Undergoing Transition
- Choosing between Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
- One-on-One Clinics
Fees and booking
The fees for this years summer school is as follows:
- University of Essex students, staff and alumni: £775
- External participants: £900
Early bird discount (10%) will be available until Sunday, 21 May 2017
Our online booking system will be operational shortly in the interim, please email
email@example.com to register your interest and we will let you know as soon as it is available.
Please Note Conditions of Booking: If you can no longer attend and need to cancel your place, please do so as soon as possible, so that it can be offered to someone else.
Attendees who cancel a previously booked place on the Essex Human Rights Summer School after 21 May 2017 will be liable for 100% of the course fees.
The Human Rights Centre reserves the right to withdraw sessions due to staff absence or low enrolment numbers.
How to get here and campus access
The Essex Human Rights Summer School takes place at our University's
Colchester campus. Colchester is an hour away from London by train. See our
information pages for further details of how to get here and our campus
accessible travel guide:
For more information about the Essex Human Rights Summer
School, please email
There may be a University photographer present at our events, please let us know if you would not like to appear in any pictures by making yourself known at the beginning of the event.
Any general crowd photos may be used for marketing purposes.