All together now: Building a shared access to justice research framework for theoretical insight and actionable intelligence




access to justice, effectiveness, sustainability, scaling


As empirical research into access to justice burgeons around the world, contemporary work offers opportunities for integration and synthesis, generating insights that can inform both policy priorities and practical decisions about program design and implementation. Access to justice is historically a problem-focused research field, but an important strand of contemporary access to justice research focuses on solutions, or a deeper understanding “what works.” This paper offers a three-part framework for thinking about how research about “what works” in one jurisdiction can inform understanding of what might work in others. We propose a common core of research questions; a framework for conceptualizing the objects of study (in the example here, programs); and a framework for conceptualizing the contexts in which those programs might operate. 


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Author Biographies

Rebecca Sandefur, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Professor, Arizona State University and Faculty Fellow, American Bar Foundation.

Matthew Burnett, American Bar Foundation/Arizona State University

Senior Program Officer, American Bar Foundation and Visiting Scholar, Arizona State University.


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How to Cite

Sandefur, R. and Burnett, M. (2023) “All together now: Building a shared access to justice research framework for theoretical insight and actionable intelligence”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 13(4), pp. 1330–1350. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1357.