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

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Abstract

Over the past decade, scholars researching the causes, forms and impacts of transitional justice 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 key elements of research design in 20 databases of transitional justice 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.
LanguageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Transitional Justice
Volume10
Early online date10 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Aug 2016

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research planning
justice
knowledge gap
cause

Keywords

  • databases
  • research design
  • conceptualization
  • inference
  • impact assessment

Cite this

@article{eb3163cc14254c7aa992b5dffb49d7f6,
title = "Databases of Transitional Justice Mechanisms and Contexts: Comparing Research Purposes and Design",
abstract = "Over the past decade, scholars researching the causes, forms and impacts of transitional justice 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 key elements of research design in 20 databases of transitional justice 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, research design, conceptualization, inference, impact assessment",
author = "Louise Mallinder and Catherine O'Rourke",
note = "Reference text: Oskar N. T. Thoms, James Ron and Roland Paris, The Effects of Transitional Justice Mechanisms: A Summary of Empirical Research Findings and Implications for Analysts and Practitioners (Ottawa: Centre for International Policy Studies University of Ottawa, 2008) Paige Arthur, “How ‘Transitions’ Reshaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional Justice,” Human Rights Quarterly 31, no. 2 (2009) Mark Osiel, “The Making of Human Rights Policy in Argentina: The Impact of Ideas and Interests on a Legal Conflict,” Journal of Latin American Studies 18 (1986): 135-178. Christine Bell, PA-X Peace Agreements Access Tool, accessed 20 January 2016, http://www.peaceagreements.org Geoff Dancy, Hunjoon Kim and Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm, “The Turn to Truth: Trends in Truth Commission Experimentation,” Journal of Human Rights 9, no. 1 (2010) Helga Malmin Binningsb{\o} et al., “Armed Conflict and Post-Conflict Justice, 1946–2006 A Dataset,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 5 (2012) Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2011) Laura K. Taylor and Alexander Dukalskis, “Old Truths and New Politics: Does Truth Commission ‘Publicness’ Impact Democratization?” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 5 (2012) Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm, Truth Commissions and Transitional Societies: The Impact on Human Rights and Democracy (Routledge, 2010) Oskar N. T. Thoms, James Ron and Roland Paris, “State-Level Effects of Transitional Justice: What do we Know?” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4, no. 3 (2010) Political Apologies and Reparations Database, accessed 1 September 2015, https://political-apologies.wlu.ca/index.php CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet), last modified 17 August 2015, accessed 1 September 2015, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk Jack Snyder and Leslie Vinjamuri, “Trials and Errors: Principle and Pragmatism in Strategies of International Justice,” International Security 28, no. 3 (2003): 5-44 Forest Trends, How do Peace Agreements Treat National Resources (2016), accessed 20 January 2016, http://www.forest-trends.org/releases/p/peace_and_resources Philipp Kastner, Legal Normativity in the Resolution of Internal Armed Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) Christine Bell and Catherine O’Rourke, “Peace Agreements or Pieces of Paper? The Impact of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Peace Processes and their Agreements.” International and Comparative Law Quarterly 59, no. 4 (2010): 941-980 Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, “Truth Commissions: A Comparative Study’, last modified July 2011, accessed 2 September 2015, http://www.ijr.org.za/trc-database.php. Louise Mallinder, “Amnesties’ Challenge to the Global Accountability Norm? Interpreting Regional and International Trends in Amnesty Enactment,” in Amnesty in the Age of Human Rights Accountability: Comparative and International Perspectives, eds. Leigh A. Payne and Francesca Lessa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Madhav Joshi and John Darby, “Introducing the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM): A database of comprehensive peace agreements and their implementation, 1989–2007,” Peacebuilding 1, no. 2 (2013): 256-274. Cynthia M. Horne, “The Impact of Lustration on Democratization in Postcommunist Countries,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 8, no. 3 (2014): 496-521. Brian D. Lepard, Customary International Law: A New Theory with Practical Applications (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Christine Bell, On the Law of Peace: Peace Agreements and the Lex Pacificatoria (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). Louise Mallinder, Amnesties, Human Rights and Political Transitions: Bridging the Peace and Justice Divide (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008) John Gerring, “Mere Description”, British Journal of Political Science 42, no 4 (2012): 721-746 Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh Payne and Andy Reiter, Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2010) Geoff Dancy and Steven C. Poe, “What Comes before Truth? The Political Determinants of Truth Commission Onset.” Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, March 2006 Hun Joon Kim, “Structural Determinants of Human Rights Prosecutions After Democratic Transition,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 2 (2012): 305-320 Charles D. Kenney and Dean E. Spears, “Truth and Consequences: Do Truth Commissions Promote Democratization?” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington DC, September 2005 Geoff Dancy, “Impact Assessment, Not Evaluation: Defining a Limited Role for Positivism in the Study of Transitional Justice,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4, no. 3 (2010) Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady and David Collier, ‘Political Science Methodology’ in Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady and David Collier (eds), Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) 4. Adam Chilton and Dustin Tingley, “Why the Study of International Law Needs Experiments,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 52 (2013): 176-239. Gary Goertz, “Concepts, Theories, and Numbers: A Checklist for Constructing, Evaluating, and using Concepts Or Quantitative Measures,” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology, eds. Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady and David Collier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Ralph Sundberg and Lotta Harbom, “Systematic Data Collection: Experiences from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program,” in Understanding Peace Research: Methods and Challenges, eds. Kristine H{\"o}glund and Magnus {\"O}berg (London: Routledge, 2011) Giovanni Sartori, “Comparing and Miscomparing,” Journal of Theoretical Politics 3, no. 3 (1991) David Boulton and Martyn Hammersley, “Analysis of Unstructured Data,” in Data Collection and Analysis, eds. Roger Sapsford and Victor Jupp, 2nd ed. (London: Sage, 2006) Mark Freeman, Necessary Evils: Amnesties and the Search for Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) Magnus {\"O}berg and Margareta Sollenberg, “Gathering Conflict Information using News Resources,” in Understanding Peace Research: Methods and Challenges, eds. Kristine H{\"o}glund and Magnus {\"O}berg (London: Routledge, 2011) Onur Bakiner, “Truth Commission Impact: An Assessment of how Commissions Influence Politics and Society,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 8, no. 1 (2014) Peter De Cruz, Comparative Law in a Changing World, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge, 2007) Hunjoon Kim and Kathryn Sikkink, “Explaining the Deterrence Effect for Human Rights Prosecutions for Transitional Countries,” International Studies Quarterly 54, no. 4 (2010): 946. Leslie Vinjamuri and Aaron Boesenecker, Accountability and Peace Agreements: Mapping Trends from 1980 to 2006 (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2007). Courtney Jung, Canada and the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: Transitional Justice for Indigenous People in a Non-Transitional Society (New York: International Center for Transitional Justice, 2009). Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh A. Payne and Andrew G. Reiter, “Transitional Justice in the World, 1970-2007: Insights from a New Dataset,” Journal of Peace Research 47, no. 6 (2010) USIP, Truth Commissions Digital Collection, accessed 2 September 2015, http://www.usip.org/publications/truth-commission-digital-collection. Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2010). Renee Jeffery, Amnesties, Accountability, and Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) Transitional Justice Research Collaborative, Amnesty Coding Manual, last modified May 2014, accessed 21 August 2015, https://transitionaljusticedata.com/files/Amnesty{\%}20Coding{\%}20Manual.pdf. Lee Epstein and Andrew D. Martin, “Quantitative Approaches to Empirical Legal Research,” in The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research, eds. Peter Cane and Herbert M. Kritzer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), Gerardo L. Munck and Jay Verkuilen, “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy Evaluating Alternative Indices,” Comparative Political Studies 35, no. 1 (2002): 5-34 Ann Marie Clark and Kathryn Sikkink, “Information Effects and Human Rights Data: Is the Good News about Increased Human Rights Information Bad News for Human Rights Measures?” Human Rights Quarterly 35, no. 3 (2013): 539-568. Pierre Bourdieu, “Understanding,” Theory Culture Society 13, no. 2 (1996) Andrew Mack, “Civil War: Academic Research and the Policy Community,” Journal of Peace Research 39, no. 5 (2002) Wolf-Dieter Eberwein, “The Creation and use of Data: Scientific Requirements and Political Utility,” in Building and using Datasets on Armed Conflict, ed. Mayeul Kauffmann (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008), 14-15.",
year = "2016",
month = "8",
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language = "English",
volume = "10",
journal = "International Journal of Transitional Justice",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Databases of Transitional Justice Mechanisms and Contexts: Comparing Research Purposes and Design

AU - Mallinder, Louise

AU - O'Rourke, Catherine

N1 - Reference text: Oskar N. T. Thoms, James Ron and Roland Paris, The Effects of Transitional Justice Mechanisms: A Summary of Empirical Research Findings and Implications for Analysts and Practitioners (Ottawa: Centre for International Policy Studies University of Ottawa, 2008) Paige Arthur, “How ‘Transitions’ Reshaped Human Rights: A Conceptual History of Transitional Justice,” Human Rights Quarterly 31, no. 2 (2009) Mark Osiel, “The Making of Human Rights Policy in Argentina: The Impact of Ideas and Interests on a Legal Conflict,” Journal of Latin American Studies 18 (1986): 135-178. Christine Bell, PA-X Peace Agreements Access Tool, accessed 20 January 2016, http://www.peaceagreements.org Geoff Dancy, Hunjoon Kim and Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm, “The Turn to Truth: Trends in Truth Commission Experimentation,” Journal of Human Rights 9, no. 1 (2010) Helga Malmin Binningsbø et al., “Armed Conflict and Post-Conflict Justice, 1946–2006 A Dataset,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 5 (2012) Kathryn Sikkink, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2011) Laura K. Taylor and Alexander Dukalskis, “Old Truths and New Politics: Does Truth Commission ‘Publicness’ Impact Democratization?” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 5 (2012) Eric Wiebelhaus-Brahm, Truth Commissions and Transitional Societies: The Impact on Human Rights and Democracy (Routledge, 2010) Oskar N. T. Thoms, James Ron and Roland Paris, “State-Level Effects of Transitional Justice: What do we Know?” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4, no. 3 (2010) Political Apologies and Reparations Database, accessed 1 September 2015, https://political-apologies.wlu.ca/index.php CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet), last modified 17 August 2015, accessed 1 September 2015, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk Jack Snyder and Leslie Vinjamuri, “Trials and Errors: Principle and Pragmatism in Strategies of International Justice,” International Security 28, no. 3 (2003): 5-44 Forest Trends, How do Peace Agreements Treat National Resources (2016), accessed 20 January 2016, http://www.forest-trends.org/releases/p/peace_and_resources Philipp Kastner, Legal Normativity in the Resolution of Internal Armed Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) Christine Bell and Catherine O’Rourke, “Peace Agreements or Pieces of Paper? The Impact of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Peace Processes and their Agreements.” International and Comparative Law Quarterly 59, no. 4 (2010): 941-980 Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, “Truth Commissions: A Comparative Study’, last modified July 2011, accessed 2 September 2015, http://www.ijr.org.za/trc-database.php. Louise Mallinder, “Amnesties’ Challenge to the Global Accountability Norm? Interpreting Regional and International Trends in Amnesty Enactment,” in Amnesty in the Age of Human Rights Accountability: Comparative and International Perspectives, eds. Leigh A. Payne and Francesca Lessa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). Madhav Joshi and John Darby, “Introducing the Peace Accords Matrix (PAM): A database of comprehensive peace agreements and their implementation, 1989–2007,” Peacebuilding 1, no. 2 (2013): 256-274. Cynthia M. Horne, “The Impact of Lustration on Democratization in Postcommunist Countries,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 8, no. 3 (2014): 496-521. Brian D. Lepard, Customary International Law: A New Theory with Practical Applications (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). Christine Bell, On the Law of Peace: Peace Agreements and the Lex Pacificatoria (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008). Louise Mallinder, Amnesties, Human Rights and Political Transitions: Bridging the Peace and Justice Divide (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2008) John Gerring, “Mere Description”, British Journal of Political Science 42, no 4 (2012): 721-746 Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh Payne and Andy Reiter, Transitional Justice in Balance: Comparing Processes, Weighing Efficacy (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2010) Geoff Dancy and Steven C. Poe, “What Comes before Truth? The Political Determinants of Truth Commission Onset.” Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Diego, March 2006 Hun Joon Kim, “Structural Determinants of Human Rights Prosecutions After Democratic Transition,” Journal of Peace Research 49, no. 2 (2012): 305-320 Charles D. Kenney and Dean E. Spears, “Truth and Consequences: Do Truth Commissions Promote Democratization?” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington DC, September 2005 Geoff Dancy, “Impact Assessment, Not Evaluation: Defining a Limited Role for Positivism in the Study of Transitional Justice,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 4, no. 3 (2010) Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady and David Collier, ‘Political Science Methodology’ in Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady and David Collier (eds), Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008) 4. Adam Chilton and Dustin Tingley, “Why the Study of International Law Needs Experiments,” Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 52 (2013): 176-239. Gary Goertz, “Concepts, Theories, and Numbers: A Checklist for Constructing, Evaluating, and using Concepts Or Quantitative Measures,” in The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology, eds. Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady and David Collier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Ralph Sundberg and Lotta Harbom, “Systematic Data Collection: Experiences from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program,” in Understanding Peace Research: Methods and Challenges, eds. Kristine Höglund and Magnus Öberg (London: Routledge, 2011) Giovanni Sartori, “Comparing and Miscomparing,” Journal of Theoretical Politics 3, no. 3 (1991) David Boulton and Martyn Hammersley, “Analysis of Unstructured Data,” in Data Collection and Analysis, eds. Roger Sapsford and Victor Jupp, 2nd ed. (London: Sage, 2006) Mark Freeman, Necessary Evils: Amnesties and the Search for Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) Magnus Öberg and Margareta Sollenberg, “Gathering Conflict Information using News Resources,” in Understanding Peace Research: Methods and Challenges, eds. Kristine Höglund and Magnus Öberg (London: Routledge, 2011) Onur Bakiner, “Truth Commission Impact: An Assessment of how Commissions Influence Politics and Society,” International Journal of Transitional Justice 8, no. 1 (2014) Peter De Cruz, Comparative Law in a Changing World, 3rd ed. (London: Routledge, 2007) Hunjoon Kim and Kathryn Sikkink, “Explaining the Deterrence Effect for Human Rights Prosecutions for Transitional Countries,” International Studies Quarterly 54, no. 4 (2010): 946. Leslie Vinjamuri and Aaron Boesenecker, Accountability and Peace Agreements: Mapping Trends from 1980 to 2006 (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, 2007). Courtney Jung, Canada and the Legacy of Indian Residential Schools: Transitional Justice for Indigenous People in a Non-Transitional Society (New York: International Center for Transitional Justice, 2009). Tricia D. Olsen, Leigh A. Payne and Andrew G. Reiter, “Transitional Justice in the World, 1970-2007: Insights from a New Dataset,” Journal of Peace Research 47, no. 6 (2010) USIP, Truth Commissions Digital Collection, accessed 2 September 2015, http://www.usip.org/publications/truth-commission-digital-collection. Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2010). Renee Jeffery, Amnesties, Accountability, and Human Rights (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) Transitional Justice Research Collaborative, Amnesty Coding Manual, last modified May 2014, accessed 21 August 2015, https://transitionaljusticedata.com/files/Amnesty%20Coding%20Manual.pdf. Lee Epstein and Andrew D. Martin, “Quantitative Approaches to Empirical Legal Research,” in The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research, eds. Peter Cane and Herbert M. Kritzer (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), Gerardo L. Munck and Jay Verkuilen, “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy Evaluating Alternative Indices,” Comparative Political Studies 35, no. 1 (2002): 5-34 Ann Marie Clark and Kathryn Sikkink, “Information Effects and Human Rights Data: Is the Good News about Increased Human Rights Information Bad News for Human Rights Measures?” Human Rights Quarterly 35, no. 3 (2013): 539-568. Pierre Bourdieu, “Understanding,” Theory Culture Society 13, no. 2 (1996) Andrew Mack, “Civil War: Academic Research and the Policy Community,” Journal of Peace Research 39, no. 5 (2002) Wolf-Dieter Eberwein, “The Creation and use of Data: Scientific Requirements and Political Utility,” in Building and using Datasets on Armed Conflict, ed. Mayeul Kauffmann (Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2008), 14-15.

PY - 2016/8/10

Y1 - 2016/8/10

N2 - Over the past decade, scholars researching the causes, forms and impacts of transitional justice 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 key elements of research design in 20 databases of transitional justice 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.

AB - Over the past decade, scholars researching the causes, forms and impacts of transitional justice 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 key elements of research design in 20 databases of transitional justice 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.

KW - databases

KW - research design

KW - conceptualization

KW - inference

KW - impact assessment

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JO - International Journal of Transitional Justice

T2 - International Journal of Transitional Justice

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SN - 1752-7716

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