The Research Potential of Testimony from Public Inquiry Websites


*Christopher Hall, Centre for Applied childhood studies, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK. E-mail:


Policy and practice in child welfare and protection has been significantly influenced by public inquiries or commissions which follow highly publicised child tragedies. Whilst there has been considerable comment on the final reports, there has been little research on the evidence gathered for such inquiries. Large amounts of testimony are collected which are increasingly available on inquiry websites. Such evidence offers new forms of readily available data about professional practice across a wide range of topics. Suggestions are made about research methods and search functions, and links to some sites provided. However, the data must be understood in the context in which it was produced.