Qualitative Approaches to Empirical Legal Research

Lisa Webley

in The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542475
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 Qualitative Approaches to Empirical Legal Research

Show Summary Details


This article deals with the qualitative approach to empirical studies. This approach is presumed to be closer to the social sciences. Data collection in the qualitative approach follows a combination of these three methods—direct observations, in-depth interviews, and document analysis. It typically starts with the identification of methodology, data collection, analysis, ethical concerns, and adapt to the dynamics if working in a team. Well-compiled qualitative research enhances comprehensibility of social phenomenon. The technique used in the selection of data collection depends on the research question, leading to the research strategy that best fits the research objective, availability/access to particular data sources, and available resources. While various beliefs are held in common between the quantitative and the qualitative, a researcher must first assert the purpose and nature of the project, in order to come to a deterministic conclusion as to which approach is best suited for the research to be conducted.

Keywords: qualitative approach; data collection; document analysis; qualitative research; empirical legal research; methodology

Article.  11205 words. 

Subjects: Law ; Comparative Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.