Building an Infrastructure for Empirical Research in the Law
University of Southern California
Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 53, pp. 311-320, 2003
In every discipline in which empirical research has become commonplace, scholars have formed a subfield devoted to solving the methodological problems unique to that discipline's data and theoretical question. although students of economics, political science, psychology, sociology, business, educaiton, medicine, public health, and so on primarily focus on specific substantive questions, they cannot wait for those in other fiels to solve their methodological problems or to teach them new methods, wherever they were initially developed. In The Rules of Inference, we argued for the creation of an analogous methodological subfield devoted to legal scholarship. We also had two other objectives: (1) to adapt the rules of inference used in the natural and social sciences, which apply equally to quantitative and qualitative research, to the special needs, theories, and data in legal scholarship, and (2) to offer recommendations on how the infrstructure of teaching and research at law schools might be reorganized so that it could better support the creation of first-rate quantitative and qualitative empirical research without compromising ohter important objectives. Published commentaries on our paper, along with citations to it, have focused largely on the first - our application of the rules of inference to legal scholarship. Until now, discussions of our second goal - suggestions for the imporvement of legal scholarshiop, as well as our argument for the creation of a group that would focus on methodological problems unique to law - have been relegated to less public forums, even though, judging fom the volume of correspondence we have received, they seem to be no less extensive.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 13, 2008
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