Law 792:  Empirical Methods in Law

This course, taught by Professors Lawless and Robbennolt, is designed to introduce students to one of the fastest growing areas of legal scholarship and practice—the use of empirical techniques. The emphasis in the course will be on equipping practitioners to be sophisticated and critical consumers of empirical material that may be used in legal cases, in the formation of legislation, and in public policy debates. The course will introduce students to the process of empirical research from start to finish, including how to design a project; how to conduct surveys, design experiments, and work with archival data; how to comply with ethical rules, sample appropriately, and code data; how to conduct a broad range of statistical analyses; and how to communicate effectively about numbers, statistics, and scientific research.

Sequence and Prerequisites: None

Evaluation: Students will fulfill the course requirements by designing an empirical research project and collecting relevant data in teams, writing an individual paper, presenting the research to the class, participating in class discussions, and completing homework exercises. Students will be taught to use statistical software, which will be available for purchase at a heavily discounted price from the UI Webstore. The course assumes no prior familiarity with statistics or empirical techniques.

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