PhD Course

Quantitative Empirical Research Methods in Law

Course Description: Quantitative Empirical Research Methods in Law forms part of the Graduate School of Legal Studies. This course is designed to inform law students in relation to the most important, quantitative empirical research methods, in a manner that is fully accessible to those with no prior quantitative training or background in the subjects covered. No prior familiarity with statistics or empirical techniques is required.  The purpose of this course is to provide students with a knowledge of various quantitative empirical research methods. Why is empirical research used (or not used) in any given research context? What other methods and their advantages and disadvantages may be then considered? The seminar exploits the device ‘learning by doing, and learning from each other’. The Graduate School of Legal Studies comprises students and PhD’s from a wide-ranging background, from Masters in law to students at an undergraduate level. Most participants are unfamiliar with quantitative empirical research. Therefore, the seminar Quantitative Empirical Research Methods in Law is set up as an open discussion seminar, in which participants work together on mini research design problems. The supervisor starts each session with a short introduction after which small groups of students have to develop and specify a design to investigate a given research question. The designs developed in this way have to be presented to the other participants, who will critique and compare them with their own solution. It is hoped that, this approach results in lively, if not fierce discussions in which students are confronted with questions and solutions originating from disciplines quite different to their own. Research problems presented for solution are expected to be widely different, in such a way that various research methods (such as observation, survey, interviews, experiments, cross country data …) are possible. After a few meetings the emphasis of the course is on the presentations and discussions of the research design put forward by the participants themselves, even if these are at this stage, in a relatively early and provisional stage. Prof. Koen Caminada.

Prior Requirements: Undergraduate level in Law is necessary. No prior familiarity with statistics or empirical techniques is required, however, completion of an Introduction to Statistical Analysis prior to taking this course is recommended. The course is not open to students with knowledge and skills in empirical research methods. It is recommended that such students participate in an individual track Empirical Research Design.

Max External Participants: 10

Course Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Koen Caminada