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Qualitative Methods for Law Review Writing

26 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2017  

Katerina Linos

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Melissa Carlson

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: June 6, 2017

Abstract

Typical law review articles not only clarify what the law is, but also examine the history of the current rules, assess the status quo, and present reform proposals. To make theoretical arguments more plausible, legal scholars frequently use examples: they draw on cases, statutes, political debates, and other sources. But legal scholars often pick their examples unsystematically and explore them armed with only the tools for doctrinal analysis. Unsystematically chosen examples can help develop plausible theories, but they rarely suffice to convince readers that these theories are true, especially when plausible alternative explanations exist. This project presents methodological insights from multiple social science disciplines and from history that could strengthen legal scholarship by improving research design, case selection, and case analysis. We describe qualitative techniques rarely found in law review writing, such as process tracing, theoretically informed sampling, and most similar case design, among others. We provide examples of best practice and illustrate how each technique can be adapted for legal sources and arguments.

Suggested Citation

Linos, Katerina and Carlson, Melissa, Qualitative Methods for Law Review Writing (June 6, 2017). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 84, No. 213, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2981600

Katerina Linos

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

488 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Melissa Carlson (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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