Tackling the Credibility Crisis in Empirical Legal Research

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Empirical research methods have a growing presence in legal research. These include making the case for reforms, investigating law in action, and evaluating the impact of interventions. The appetite for empirical findings is also strong: scholars, research partners, funders and graduate research students are all keen to bring empirical methods to bear on important questions about law and its operation. Still, methodological expertise is in short supply in law schools, and there are many barriers to high-quality empirical legal research. Are these the perfect conditions for a credibility crisis?

In this webinar, Dr Jason Chin (College of Law, Australian National University) will tackle the pressing problem of the credibility crisis affecting empirical legal research and what can be done to address it, including:

  • the prevalence and effects of questionable research practices in social science;
  • the challenges with peer review of empirical work in law and uptake of reforms to improve it;
  • the heightened duty of those conducting research that informs legal processes and reforms (as opposed to more theoretical research); and
  • the importance of transparency in reducing questionable research practices.

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