Conducting Law and Society Research: Reflections on Methods and Practices

Conducting Law and Society Research: Reflections on Methods and Practices

by Simon Halliday, Patrick Schmidt
     
 

Through interviews with many of the most noteworthy authors in Law and Society, Conducting Law and Society Research takes students and scholars behind the scenes of empirical scholarship, showing the messy reality of research methods. The challenges and the uncertainties, so often missing from research methods textbooks, are revealed in candid detail. These

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Overview

Through interviews with many of the most noteworthy authors in Law and Society, Conducting Law and Society Research takes students and scholars behind the scenes of empirical scholarship, showing the messy reality of research methods. The challenges and the uncertainties, so often missing from research methods textbooks, are revealed in candid detail. These accessible and revealing conversations about the lived reality of classic projects will be a source of encouragement and inspiration to those embarking on empirical research, ranging across the full array of disciplines that contribute to Law and Society. For all of the ambiguities and challenges to the social “scientific” study of law, the reflections found in this book – collectively capturing a portrait of the field through the window of the research efforts – individually remind readers that “good research” displays not an absence of problems, but the care taken in negotiating them.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Part socio-legal study, part oral history, and partly an education in research methods, these skillfully edited and refreshingly candid interviews illuminate the messy practicalities of the research process through the classic socio-legal lens of the gap between rules and reality. Warm and engaging, this book is compelling reading and is likely to become an essential complement to any Law and Society research methods course.”
—Bronwen Morgan, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies, School of Law, Bristol University

“A useful collection that reveals the messiness, serendipity and creativity involved in research. The book combines personal recollections from well-known law and society scholars with insights about defining problems, selecting research methods, and developing theory from data. The book is especially suited for those interested in qualitative research, offering excellent practical suggestions for interviewing, gaining access, taking field notes, and addressing ethical concerns.”
—Lynn Mather, Professor of Law and Political Science, University at Buffalo Law School, SUNY

“In this cleaver book, Halliday and Schmidt reveal all sides of the messy worlds socio-legal researchers encounter, question, measure, pull apart, reorganize and seek to make sense of theoretically, empirically and even to policymakers. The scope and depth of blunder and brilliance they make visible in their interviews provides a candidly rare examination of how social knowledge is produced through the empirical study of law. Conducting Law and Society Research is surely a “must read” for social scientists and legal scholars, but also for anyone interested in exploring how we think we know what we are doing as we research law in society.”
—Christine B. Harrington, Founding Director of the Institute for Law and Society and Law and Society Program, and Professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics, New York University.

"...CONDUCTING LAW AND SOCIETY RESEARCH is a stimulating book that provides important suggestions and advice regarding how one conducts research and about the habits of mind one may seek to develop to sustain an outstanding program of research...skillfully edited interview transcripts."
—Mark Kessler, Department of History and Government, Texas Woman's University, The Law and Politics Book Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521895910
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
05/25/2009
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Law and Society Series
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Simon Halliday has a Ph.D. in Socio-Legal Studies from Strathclyde University. He is author of Judicial Review and Compliance with Administrative Law (2004) and The Appeal of Internal Review: Law, Administrative Justice, and the (Non-)Emergence of Disputes (2003). He is co-editor (with Marc Hertogh) of Judicial Review and Bureaucratic Impact: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2004) and has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Law and Society and the British Journal of Criminology and Public Law. Currently a Professor at the Law School of Strathclyde University and a Conjoint Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales, he was previously the Nicholas de B. Katzenbach Research Fellow at Balliol College and at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. He is an Associate Fellow of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Oxford University, and an editorial board member of Law and Policy.

Patrick Schmidt has a Ph.D. in Political Science from The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Lawyers and Regulation: The Political of the Administrative Process (2005) and articles in journals including Law and History Review, Judicature, the Justice System Journal, and Political Research Quarterly. Currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at Macalester College, he has previously held positions as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University, and as the John Adams Research Fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and a Junior Research Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford Halliday and Schmidt previously edited Human Rights Brought Home: Socio-Legal Studies of Human Rights in the National Context (2004).

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