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Posted 21 June, 2016 by Zara Rahman

Community consultation: navigation guide on digital data in human rights research

**Update**: the community consultation has now ended, and we’ll be putting a first version of the guide online in August. Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to review and comment on the draft!

Over the past few months, we’ve been working with Amnesty International and Benetech to learn more about how human rights researchers are using digital data in their work – and what they need to do it more effectively.

After desk research, interviews and a series of community calls, we’ve prepared an initial draft of a guide for human rights defenders on integrating new and emerging digital data streams into their work. Today, the guide is here – and now we want to know what you think. Our consultation period for the guide starts today, and will run until 28 June.

How did we get here?

Throughout the project, we’ve been trying to take an open, collaborative approach, learning others in the human rights community as we go. We’ve held regular community calls, and kept a ‘research diary’ of our findings. We’ve managed to speak to lots of people working on human rights issues in a variety of ways and different contexts. We’re very grateful to those of you who have joined us along the way, giving your time and energy to help us understand the problems and frustrations that come with using digital data in human rights research.

Next, we brought together 15 people to collaboratively write a guide to address issues raised by our desk research, interviews and community calls. Over four days, in a castle outside Berlin, they collaboratively designed and wrote the text you see now.

What did we get?

The guide was written in a very short period of time by lots of different people. Although there are areas where the content is still fairly rough, most of the content is completed and ready for review.

We’re looking to hear what we could do to improve it – and we hope you’ll participate in this community consultation to do so. Want to contribute? Read the instructions and get started! Keep a particular eye out for anything on the following topics:

  • Content that is missing [and could potentially be added in future]
  • Content that is unclear
  • Content that could be made more useful

What’s next?

After this stage, the guide will go to a copy editor and designer, who will prepare it for publication – probably around the end of July. We’ll be sharing the content openly so that others can use and develop it to use in their own work.

From now until 28 June, your comments and feedback are very welcome. Please feel free to leave comments directly in the document, or email me on zara[at]theengineroom.org if you have any other thoughts to share, or if you’d like the document in a different format. There’s also more information in the description at the top of the guide.

Thank you!

(Image by Stew Dean – CC-BY-SA)


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