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Researching Family Law Reform: The Authors Respond

Family Matters, Vol. 59, pp. 68-75, 2001

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/70

9 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2008 Last revised: 21 Feb 2012

Helen Rhoades

Melbourne Law School

Reg Graycar

The University of Sydney Law School

Margaret Harrison

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 23, 2008

Abstract

This discussion responds to two critical responses to our research report on the Family Law Reform Act 1995. The critics suggested that our research methodology lacked rigour, because of the inclusion of qualitative methodologies and in particular, because of our identification as feminist legal scholars. Our response questions notions of 'objectivity' and neutrality when used in such critiques and points out that there is a presumption (an erroneous presumption) that white male scholarship has no race, no gender, and comes from no position. The article notes that social science research generally, whether employing quantitative or qualitative methods, always involves acts of interpretation. We also highlight the widespread use and growing preference for socio-legal analysis of the impact of legislative change on the practices of legal actors to examine social problems. We revisit and explain some of the key findings made in our research report.

Keywords: socio-legal research, research methodology, feminist legal scholarship, judging, family law, family law reform, shared parenting, children's welfare

JEL Classification: K10, K30, J12

Suggested Citation

Rhoades, Helen and Graycar, Reg and Harrison, Margaret, Researching Family Law Reform: The Authors Respond (July 23, 2008). Family Matters, Vol. 59, pp. 68-75, 2001; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/70. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1170462

Helen Rhoades

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Reg Graycar (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Margaret Harrison

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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