The Pitfalls of Empirical Research: Studying Faculty Publication Studies

01 Jan 1986

This article critiques empirical studies by attorneys in the hopes that they will be held to the minimal standards of research competence that are to be found in other academic fields which rely on empirical studies. Because law-trained scholars are notoriously weak at empirical research, this article identifies some of the methodological considerations that should inform empirical research. These fall into four broad categories: (1) problems of conceptualization, (2) problems of measurement, (3) problems of data presentation and analysis, and (4) problems of inference. This article examines all of these considerations in the context of an empirical survey done by Professors Swygert and Gozansky investigating the relationship between law faculty research and tenure.