Document Type


Publication Title

Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing

Publication Date

Spring 2007



First Page




The conference theme of empirical research at the 2006 Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, held in Washington,D.C., indicated an interest on the part of doctrinal and skills professors to conduct their own studies. The conference title, Empirical Scholarship:What Should We Study and How Should We Study It?, along with the plentiful workshops on the topic, evidenced the acceptance in the academe of empiricism.As a researcher noted, “Empirical legal scholarship … is arguably the next big thing in legal intellectual thought.”

Assisting legal writing professors with their growing interest in conducting empirical studies, the authors presented at the 2006 biennial Legal Writing Institute conference held in Atlanta, Ga. The subject matter of our workshop is described below.What follows is a step-by-step approach for planning a research study in a classroom.At the outset, we consider “empirical research” to be research that involves objectivity of the researcher, clearly stated goals from the start of the research project, a procedure for collecting data, a statistical measure of the data collected, and process for analyzing that information.


This article originally appeared in Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, published by Thomson Reuters. For more information please visit



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