The Challenges of Quantitative Public Health Law Research
Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law
Evan D. Anderson
Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
June 18, 2010
Public health law research (PHLR) has been defined as the scientific study of the relation of law and legal practices to population health. The scientific collection of legal data is a precondition for epidemiological or behavioral research in which law is the independent variable. This commentary discusses some of the challenges that arise out of efforts to reduce legal text into quantifiable data that can be used for statistical analysis. It does so while highlighting the strengths and key conceptual hurdles in a Spengler et. al. article analyzing the extent to which recreational user statutes insulate localities from liability when opening their land up for community activities. This commentary touches upon the importance of careful coding, transparency and study design as well as the intrinsic difficulty in quantifying indeterminate laws.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 10
Keywords: Empirical legal studies, public health law, public health research
Date posted: June 19, 2010
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