Legal Research: Purpose, Planning and Publication

Legal research
22 Nov 2018

Lawyers must be able to do research and should be able to do it well in order to honour their obligations, be those obligations commercial, in the field of criminal justice, constitutional, judicial or academic. Yet much confusion surrounds the nature of research, the need for lawyers and law students to undertake research projects, the requirements for the dissemination of the results, and their impact on policy and practice. Why is legal research needed? What does it entail? Where should one begin? What methods are used for legal research? What are the ethical issues involved? How does one go about publishing the results of one’s research in law, and which are the appropriate publication platforms? How should the quality of legal research be judged?

Legal Research: Purpose, Planning and Publication seeks to begin answering these questions, to introduce law students to legal research, and perhaps even to open up some new perspectives for those in the legal community who wish to sharpen their research skills.

The guidelines and views in Legal Research are not offered as hard doctrine, but rather as a route map for a journey of discovery, during which readers may develop their own approach to the production of valuable legal research results.

Legal Research provides an introduction to ease the way for legal researchers, especially those with little expertise and experience, and perhaps to open a debate among the more experienced lawyers, who have not yet given much thought to the matter, about developing and improving our understanding of legal research in South Africa.

Contents include:

  • Introduction
  • Research and legal research
    • Research
    • History of legal research
    • Theory and philosophy
    • Legal research
    • Academic research
  • Research planning
    • Where to begin: the topic
    • The research question (problem) and title
    • The research proposal
  • Research methods
    • Law as a research discipline
    • Spectrum of methods and approaches
    • Literature study and sources
    • Legal history
    • Legal theory
    • Comparative research
  • Executing the research plan
    • Mining the sources
    • Composing your text
    • Concluding a research project
    • Final edit and finishing touches
  • Sources, libraries and resources
    • Primary and secondary sources of law
    • The library
    • Electronic resources
    • Citation of sources and reference styles
    • Word processing and other software
    • Research travelling
    • Funding your research
  • Publication, research ethics and assessment
    • Forms of publication
    • Which publication platform?
    • Ethics
    • Plagiarism
    • Critique and criticism
    • Deadlines
    • Obligations to editors, publishers, sponsors and readers
    • Assessment

Of interest to:

  • Legal practitioners
  • Legal academics
  • Law students

Contact Juta via the blue “Get in touch” button to ask for more information.

The following book may also interest you: Public Procurement Regulation for 21st Century Africa

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
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