Applied Research with Human Rights Watch

Each year, Prof. James Ron works with teams of University of Minnesota graduate students to produce social science-based applied research for Human Rights Watch (HRW). This work is sponsored by the Humphrey School for Public Affairs and its Master’s in Human Rights, and is available as a three-credit practicum for graduate students throughout the University of Minnesota system. Humphrey School students may also count this as their final professional paper or capstone project, should they take this class in their second year. To read a short newspaper article on the collaboration, please click here. For student reviews of this experience, please click here.

Spring Semester 2018

In spring semester 2018, up to 15 graduate students enrolled in PA 5890 – Applied Policy Research with Human Rights NGOs will work with Profs James Ron and political psychologist Howard Lavine on a project for HRW.

Students will analyze recent US public opinion data in an effort to better understand the American public’s attitudes towards key human rights issues, policies, and organizations. The team will then use these result to help HRW critically review its research, advocacy and messaging strategies.

Prospective students must have a background in one (and preferably more) of the following: data analysis & visualization; public opinion surveys; human rights; political psychology; US politics.

To apply, please send, by November 1, 2017, a cover letter and CV highlighting your relevant professional and/or academic background. Please send to Laura Noble at lnoble@hrw.org. Earlier applications are welcome.

Interested students should consider enrolling in the following Fall 2017 skills courses:

Spring Semester 2017 

In spring semester 2017, 14 graduate students worked on three evaluation-related projects for HRWs program office. These included a survey of monitoring, evaluation and learning practices in peer organizations; an evaluation of the impact of HRW’s reporting on police abuse in Brazil and India; and an evaluation of HRW’s recurring recommendation for the creation of an “international commission of inquiry” in specific countries. The students presented their findings to HRW staff and directors in New York on May 11, 2017.  One member of the team continued as an HRW intern in summer 2017,

Spring Semester 2016

In spring semester 2016, four graduate students prepared a report for HRW’s program office on the theory and practice of “budget analysis for human rights.” You can read a summary of the project here, and read an academic article based on this research in the Journal of Human Rights Practice. The students presented their findings to HRW staff and directors in New York on May 2, 2016, in New York. One member of the team continued as an HRW intern in summer 2016.

Final report:

Spring Semester 2015

In spring semester 2015, 10 graduate students prepared reports for HRW’s program office on new research methods in the human rights field. They presented their findings to HRW staff and directors in May 2015. One member of the team continued as an HRW intern in summer 2015.

Final reports: