Researching Family Law Reform: The Authors Respond
Family Matters, Vol. 59, pp. 68-75, 2001
9 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2008 Last revised: 21 Feb 2012
Date Written: July 23, 2008
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: Suggested Citation