Source: (2003) Paper presented at the "Empirical Research Methodologies of Transitional Justice Mechanisms Conference", 18-20 November 2002, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Downloaded 10 December 2003.

This paper addresses the issue of whether lessons are transferable across contexts. It specifically considers research on transitional justice mechanisms in societies coming out of conflict. To explore this I will draw on my experience from South African and Northern Ireland. The paper is critical of the relatively simplistic way lessons are drawn between contexts, but at the same time is based on the assumption that comparative analysis enhances research and can be helpful in the peacebuilding process. I will approach the topic from both a practitioner and researcher perspective because this challenges one to think outside the academic paradigm and consider more carefully how research is used to shape public policy in transitional contexts.

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