Human rights monitoring and reporting have emerged as major practices of human rights lawyers and advocates in both non-governmental organizations and inter-governmental organizations. This reporting is a form of knowledge production, often geared towards advocacy on behalf of human rights protection but also seeking to provide an ‘objective’ report of some kind. NGOs and IGOs employ a range of methodologies, but these are rarely formalized and tend to rely more on general institutional reputation and credibility, as well as the professionalism of individual practitioners. Some scholars have recommended more formal, standardized methods and have raised the possibility of borrowing models from other contexts. This paper considers contributions that critical methodologists from the social sciences and related disciplines might offer to human rights practice, particularly human rights monitoring and reporting. Traditional methodological approaches in the social sciences and in law have been criticized, interrogated, and (re)developed in recent years from numerous perspectives, but it does not appear that these critical approaches have penetrated international legal work, especially human rights lawyering. This paper suggests that critical qualitative methodologies offer great opportunity to reconceptualize traditional approaches to method and practice in human rights work.
Bruch, Elizabeth M., "Having the Last Word: Human Rights Reporting (Re)Imagined Through Critical Qualitative Methodology" (2013). SIAS Faculty Publications. 321.