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Advanced Introduction to Empirical Legal Research

Herbert M. Kritzer

Herbert Kritzer presents a clear introduction to the history, methods and substance of empirical legal research (ELR). Quantitative methods dominate in empirical legal research, but an important segment of the field draws on qualitative methods, such as semi-structured interviews and observation. In this book both methodologies are explored alongside systematic data analysis. Offering an overview of the broad ELR literature, the institutions of the law, the central actors of the law, and the subjects of the law are each addressed in this highly readable account that will be essential reading for legal researchers.
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Part III: Substantive Examples

Herbert M. Kritzer


There is a vast body of empirical legal research (ELR). As discussed in Chapter 2, there are a variety of sources of ELR: research from traditional disciplines, research undertaken for policy-related reasons, research undertaken by legal academicians, and research undertaken specifically as part of an interdisciplinary community. In this part of the book, I provide an overview of ELR. That overview is by necessity very limited in scope, with nothing more than brief summaries of a set of specific topics. There are many ELR topics that receive only a brief mention or no mention at all. Readers interested in an in-depth review of many topics might find such a review in the Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research (Cane and Kritzer 2010), although much has been published in the years since the Handbook appeared. One area not covered in depth either in the Oxford Handbook or in this volume is the extensive empirical work in criminology, much of which can be seen as ELR. I have not included more than a few references to criminology-related work because there are many introductory textbooks on criminology, along with a range of handbooks.1

There are many ways to slice and dice the body of empirical legal research. The three following chapters are each organized by the focus of the research. The three foci are the institutions of the law, the central actors of the law, and the subjects of the law. The research concerning these three topics may treat the institutions,...

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