Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Measuring Statutory Law and Regulations for Empirical Research

Public Health Law Research, February 28, 2012

36 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2012  

Evan D. Anderson

Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania

Charles Tremper

Perutilis Research & Consulting

Sue Thomas

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)

Alexander C Wagenaar

University of Florida, College of Medicine

Date Written: February 28, 2012

Abstract

Effectively studying the relationship between law and population health requires (1) variation in both the law and health outcomes being studied, preferably over space as well as time, and (2) valid and reliable methods for capturing variation and representing it in forms that allow comparison. A rigorous method for measuring law generates numeric data representing variation in law. The key feature of the method – and that which distinguishes it most from traditional legal research – is that relies on observation of the apparent features of legal texts. By eschewing interpretation, this restrained observational approach produces data that is replicable through a process that is transparent. Transparency and replicability are essential attributes of scientifically defensible data.

There are challenges in measuring law. Relevant legal texts can be hard to find and when found can be rife with ambiguous and conflicting meanings. Formulating reliable and valid ways of reducing complex bodies of law into numeric data can be difficult. There may also be cultural and logistical challenges to blending legal and empirical expertise. These challenges can be overcome by a methodical process of design, data collection and analysis that adheres to general scientific standards. Steps include the careful delineation of the legal questions to be addressed and the cope of the research; the iterative development and refinement of a coding scheme; quality control; and the production of a transparent research protocol and codebook.

Keywords: public health law research, statutory law, empirical legal research

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Evan D. and Tremper, Charles and Thomas, Sue and Wagenaar, Alexander C, Measuring Statutory Law and Regulations for Empirical Research (February 28, 2012). Public Health Law Research, February 28, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2021191

Evan D. Anderson (Contact Author)

Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2159000359 (Phone)

Charles Tremper

Perutilis Research & Consulting ( email )

6 Oak Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States

Sue Thomas

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) ( email )

P.O. Box 7042
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
United States
(831) 621.7937 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.pire.org

Alexander C Wagenaar

University of Florida, College of Medicine ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
165
Rank
151,758
Abstract Views
789