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The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding$
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Philip Alston and Sarah Knuckey

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190239480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190239480.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 October 2021

Numbers are Only Human

Numbers are Only Human

Lessons for Human Rights Practitioners from the Quantitative Literacy Movement

(p.355) 17. Numbers are Only Human
The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding

Brian Root

Oxford University Press

Big data, crowdsourcing, satellite imagery, video forensics, crisis-mapping, and interactive data visualizations have now entered the lexicon of human rights practitioners. This is because numbers demand attention. But the first step is to increase the quantitative literacy of human rights practitioners. Reasons for past reluctance to use such methods include the essentially qualitative nature of much of the work and the lack of familiarity with statistical methods. But quantitative analyses are a powerful tool in the human rights practitioner’s methodology toolbox. Statistics allow researchers to reframe and examine topics in order to provide context or insights different from the information gathered in qualitative interviews, with the most common uses of data analysis being to demonstrate the scope, distribution (over geography and/or time), or variance of a human rights problem. As the supply of data increases, it becomes a more desirable component of high quality research and reporting.

Keywords:   big data, crowdsourcing, satellite imagery, video forensics, crisis-mapping, interactive data visualizations, quantitative literacy

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