An Introduction to Empirical Legal Research by Lee Epstein

By Lee Epstein

Is the loss of life penalty a more advantageous deterrent than long legal sentences? Does a judge's gender impression their judgements? Do self sustaining judiciaries advertise financial freedom? Answering such questions calls for empirical proof, and arguments in line with empirical study became a regular a part of felony perform, scholarship, and educating. In litigation judges are faced with empirical facts in circumstances starting from financial ruin and taxation to legal legislations and environmental infringement. In academia researchers are more and more turning to classy empirical ways to examine and problem basic assumptions concerning the law.

As empirical tools effect on conventional felony scholarship and perform, new types of schooling are wanted for cutting-edge attorneys. All legal professionals requested to provide or determine empirical arguments have to comprehend the elemental rules of social technology technique that underpin sound empirical study. An creation to Empirical felony study introduces that technique in a criminal context, explaining how empirical research can tell felony arguments; how legal professionals can set approximately framing empirical questions, accomplishing empirical study, interpreting information, and offering or comparing the consequences. the basics of figuring out quantitative and qualitative facts, statistical versions, and the constitution of empirical arguments are defined in a fashion obtainable to attorneys without or with formal education in statistics.

Written by way of of the world's prime specialists in empirical felony research, drawing on years of expertise in education legal professionals in empirical tools, An advent to Empirical felony learn might be a useful primer for all scholars, lecturers, or training legal professionals coming to empirical examine - whether or not they are embarking themselves on an empirical learn undertaking, or attractive with empirical arguments of their box of research, examine, or perform.

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When the overlap between the hunches and data is substantial, analysts may conclude that the real world confirms their hunches; if the overlap is negligible, they may go back to the drawing board or even abandon the project altogether. This process of comparing the slides—analyzing data—typically involves two tasks. The first amounts to summarizing the data the researcher has collected. S. federal courts. For these 1,000 cases, we might summarize the data by comparing the fractions in which a male versus a female judge voted for the party alleging discrimination.

1994). 3 This is so even though one of the authors has used it in the past (Epstein, 1995). Live and learn! 4 La Porta et al. (2004). , Stone (1992); Vanberg (1998). 6 Another takeaway is this: because even the best designs occasionally fall apart after the researcher collects the very first bits of data, we recommend that researchers work sequentially: amass that first piece and consider whether it comports with the research question and the hypotheses. If it does not, they may want to rethink their expectations but, more likely, they will come to see that the type of evidence they intended to collect is not as well suited to answering the research question as they anticipated.

18 Ho et al. (2007). 19 Rachlinski et al. (2006). 20 The researchers did not identify the race of the debtors but instead gave them white‐ or black‐sounding names. See Rachlinski et al. (2006, 1247). 21 But see Rachlinski et al. (2008), who, using a different set of judges, identified some racial bias in favor of or against criminal defendants of different races. 22 See note 6. ” Psycholo gists use this term to refer to “the extent to which behavior … studied in one environment [usually in a laboratory setting] can be taken as characteristic of (or generalizable to) an individual’s cognitive processes in a range of other environments” (Cole, 2004).

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