Qualitative and Quantitative Empirical Legal Methods

Course content

This course will teach students how to use and conduct scientific studies in law using the latest research methods.

 

The course is designed to provide the students the opportunity to work hands-on with their own MA thesis research question and how to plan and execute an original empirical based project on interview, survey and data analyses techniques. Students will receive feedback on their own research design and its implications. Moreover, the course will laid the basic theoretical foundations and offer the analytical tools the students and researches to participate in more advance methods courses at PhD level. As result, master students will learn how to frame the theoretical foundation of their research MA project, how to distinguish between methodologies, and how to identify and choose research methods relevant to their main subject(s) of research inquiry.

 

The course is divided into two parts;

The first part introduces the students to the current debates on the use of empiric in legal research. It will also present the students the main concepts and definitions necessary for learning and discussion empirical legal methods, such as: dependent and independent variable, correlation and causation, complementarity and triangulation, etc.
(sessions 1 and 2).

These two sessions provide the students with the analytical tools to follow and develop discussions on legal methods.

 

The second part of the course reviews and train the students on the most common empirical legal methods (sessions 2 to 9). Each method will comprise diverse sessions where the method is introduced and discussed. After that, the student will be trained on how to perform this specific technique at a basic level of research.

Learning outcome

This course will contribute to the students’ competence profile in the following terms.
A) In terms of knowledge, the student will be able to recognize and critically evaluate the diversity of empirical research techniques (e.g. interviews, survyes, network analysis) and approaches for carrying legal research, their advantages and challenges.

 

B) Within this framework, the students in terms of skills will be able:
(1) To identify empirical methods and data approapriate to legal research;
(2) To collect and synthesize legal information and data and understand the ethical implication of data collection and analysis;
(3) To articulate and develop research design and protocols for legal research;
(4) To work independently at a basic level with different methods and collaborate with other peers in the development of these capabilities and skills in the framework of groups’ presentations and discussions.

 

C) Finally, based upon this knowledge and skills, the student will analyse, contrast and evaluate the advantages and difficulties of Empirical Legal Methods. As a result the student will be able:
(1) To critically reflect on the process of data collection and analysis;
(2) To present and write reseach findings in a systematic manner;
(3) To enable the student to carry out independent empirical legal research;
(4) To increase his/her analytical capacity to innovate and integrate data analysis into legal thinking;
(4) To improve students’ understanding of the relevance of empirical methods for understanding the law, affecting his/her ability to adapt and meet clients demands and to understand the necessities of the new players in the digitalization global network (e.g. lawyers, firms, policy-makers, civil society, etc.).

Students are expected to read the texts and participate actively in class. To improve the learning process, the course uses innovative pedagogical techniques for training on methods and techniques. The following instructional strategies combine theoretical discussion with training sessions, such as:

a) Methodological learning: The lecturer will train students in the application of these
techniques in several methodological training session.
b) Evidence analysis exercises: The students will be asked to analyze diverse empirical
evidence using the quantitative and qualitative instruments techniques learnt at the
methodological sessions.
c) Research methods implementation with presentations and written papers: where the students reflect on the best method for investigating a specific legal object of study.

Knowledge and interest on legal methods and research writing is an advantage.

Written
Oral
Individual
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Individual written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • English
  • 206,25