Research Handbook on the Ombudsman
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Research Handbook on the Ombudsman

Edited by Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham

The public sector ombudsman has become one of the most important administrative justice institutions in many countries around the world. This international and interdisciplinary Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to discuss the state-of-the-art of ombudsman research. It uses new empirical studies and competing theoretical explanations to critically examine important aspects of the ombudsman’s work. This comprehensive Handbook is of value to academics designing future ombudsman studies and practitioners and policymakers in understanding the future challenges of the ombudsman.
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Chapter 27: An agenda for future research: towards a general ‘ombuds-science’

Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham


Based on a review of the chapters in this book, this concluding chapter asks: what are the biggest future challenges for the ombudsman? And what will be the most significant challenges for future ombudsman research? The chapter argues that three major societal trends can be identified that will also have ongoing implications for the future position of the ombudsman: globalization; juridification; and contestation. It makes the argument that these developments should also have implications for future ombudsman research. Shifting our attention from ‘ombudsman and society’ to ‘ombudsman in society,’ the chapter discusses three major objectives for future ombudsman studies: more theory; more empirical research; and more comparative research. Finally, the claim is made that the biggest challenge for future research is to develop a general ‘ombuds-science’: a dedicated, interdisciplinary and integrated academic approach to analyse all aspects of the ombudsman.

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