Advancing Socioeconomic Rights through Interdisciplinary Factfinding: Opportunities and Challenges

Sarah Knuckey, Joshua D. Fisher, Amanda M. Klasing, Tess Russo, Margaret L. Satterthwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The human rights movement is increasingly using interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, mixed-methods, and quantitative factfinding. There has been too little analysis of these shifts. This article examines some of the opportunities and challenges of these methods, focusing on the investigation of socio-economic human rights. By potentially expanding the amount and types of evidence available, factfinding's accuracy and persuasiveness can be strengthened, bolstering rights claims. However, such methods can also present significant challenges and may pose risks in individual cases and to the human rights movement generally. Interdisciplinary methods can be costly in human, financial, and technical resources; are sometimes challengingto implement; may divert limited resources from other work; can reify inequalities; may produce "expertise" that disempowers rightsholders; and could raise investigation standards to an infeasible or counterproductive level. This article includes lessons learned and questions to guide researchers and human rights advocates considering mixed-methods human rights factfinding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-389
Number of pages15
JournalAnnual Review of Law and Social Science
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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