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ELEMENTS OF LEGAL RESEARCH. Teaching: Tools of Research 3.10.2011 WELCOME K.L.E COLLEGE OF LAW BANGALORE. ELEMENTS OF LEGAL RESEARCH. The study of law is closely connected with legal research, which is necessary to give it a proper direction.

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elements of legal research

Teaching: Tools of Research





elements of legal research1

The study of law is closely connected with legal research, which is necessary to give it a proper direction.

Sound proposition and arguments cannot be constructed without legal research. It is , therefore, equally indispensable for students of law, lawyers, judges, and scholars who specialise in legal research

tools of research
  • Use of law library
  • Observation
  • Questionnaire
  • Interview
  • survey
  • Sampling
  • Case study
  • Participation
training law students
Training Law students

What do we train law students for ?

We train law students to be universal men.

Lawyer is regarded in the community as a man of judgment and wisdom, trained in the “straight thinking” and who solves the problems after “through investigation and Preparation”.

needs of a law practitioner

What the practitioner needs is a grasp of general legal principles, a sound knowledge of Law practice and procedure, an ability to argue, and a general knowledge of where to find the law he /she wants. He should be aware of his/her goals and his/her Methods

Legal education is essentially self-education; the principal teaching task of Law schools is to guide self–development. Methods are the tools of Professional self development .

teacher not a data bank

What student will learn in Law school is not information in the usual sense, not a set of repeatable propositions, but how to do something.

Law teacher’s primary aim is not to transmit information to the student of law but to help him/her learn how to do what it is that lawyer do with the problems that come to them.

teaching learning process
Teaching - Learning Process

Learning on the part of the student is the ultimate objective of teaching and not learnedness on the part of the teacher.

Guide lines

1. Less Rule learning

2. Less reliance on case method ( Requires students to study volumes)

3. More reading in advanced courses

4. More-in-depth student participation in problem –solving

5. More student control over learning process

6. More diversity in Learning groups

7. More concern with student writing skills

8. De-emphasis of grades/Marks

learning task
Learning Task

Learning task should be conceived in the four basic steps

1. Initial guidance

2. Task performance

3. Feedback on performance, and

4. Assimilation of Feedback

Each task will involve the three dimensions of task performance-’Activity’ ‘subject matter’ and ‘purpose’

methods of teaching


2. PROBLEM solving






8.Collaborative learning- The Group method of learning

teaching models
Teaching Models

i. Functional Model-Expansion of problem solving

ii. Socratic Model- Learning by doing

iii. Real Life exposure-Placement/Internship

iv. Simulation Exercises-Learningskills by performing

v. Self study- Reading courses-student study himself

vi. Team teaching-Planned activity- Requires Complete Understanding between teachers in the team

There should be a basic mix of teaching methods. There should be a deliberate shift from one method to other method.

lecture method

Most popular method

Lecturing and assigning problems based on decided case laws. But this method-even with illustrations-frustrating and sometimes boring both faculty and students.

Teaching Tools/Techniques of legal research through lecture method suffers from same disadvantages as would teaching ‘swimming’ by lecturing

other methods of teaching law
Other methods of teaching Law







collaborative learning the group method of learning
Collaborative learning-The Group method of learning

A small group of students who together analyse a ‘case law’ would reach more accurate results than students who individually analyzed one.-HYPOTHESIS

The group method of learning-Collaborative learning-can be used to teach virtually any subject.

‘Collaborative learning’ is particularly helpful in teaching manual legal research.

This innovative yet simple technique can both spark student interest and enable students to develop strong legal research skills.

collaborative learning
Collaborative learning-

The value of integrating legal research with another skills course such as ‘Interviewing’ and ‘counseling’ enhances the potential of collaborative learning.

If the group research could be undertaken during class time under the direct supervision of the faculty, the students would be less intimidated by manual research tools and would be better prepared to work on their own.

8 collaborative learning three step method
8. Collaborative learning- THREE STEP METHOD


3.Immediately following the discussion, students to go to the library to work in groups in the presence of the faculty.-

This step departs from standard practice

learning theory and skills
Learning theory and skills

To learn how to conduct legal research or to learn how to swim one must practice the skill.

If the Faculty points out strengths and weakness while students practice, students learn faster and better

Learning theory supports the proposition that at some point students must be taken out of the lecture hall and on to the swimming pool-Library, court, etc., for experiential learning.

learning the skill

Reading, Listening, observing a model, and discussing the skill in class are only intermediate steps toward learning the skill.

By observing a model carefully, one can attempt to transfer its attributes to one’s behaviour.-

At some point, the student who has studied and observed the skilled model performer must… try to imitate the response of the model

effective learning
Effective learning

Students need feedback and reinforcement to learn most effectively

By rewarding desirable responses as students practice, the faculty considerably advances the learning process

Students learn best if they receive feedback and reinforcement immediately after they study and practice the task.

The teaching method must enable students to progress from passive observers to competent actors

collaborative learning expeperimental procedure

Lecture approach is to be retained while collaborative learning is exercised to sharpen student interest and to help students build stronger research skills.

  • Collaborative learning groups enables students to practice conducting legal research in a structured setting that provides interaction, feedback, and reinforcement
inside the class

At least a week before next assemblage of the class ,students are to be assigned readings on a particular research Tool.

Each student has to be assigned to a group of three/five students

During the first twenty-five minutes of class, the faculty has to discuss the tool with the students, illustrating among other things, precise research paths.

research paths
Research paths

Research paths are the typical means of entering the source, such as

  • The index path
  • The topical path (textual volume for a specific topic)
  • The table of case;
  • The table of statutes path

Aside from using the typical research paths, students are to be encouraged to use cross-reference from other sources to find relevant entries.

student groups inside the library
Student groups inside the Library

The groups then have to get into the Library for the remaining 20-25 minutes to research the problem

The Faculty shall stay themselves next to the assigned tool , and are accessible for questions while students were using the tool inside the Library

Before the period ends, one member from each group has to check in with the faculty who briefly reviews the group progress

legal research exercise books
Legal research exercise books

The Problems have to be drawn from legal

research exercise books

1. J.MyronJacobstein & Roy M. Mersky, Fundamental of Legal research(3rd ed)

2. Legal research illustrated-3rd ed Assignments, Mineola, N.Y., 1985

3. Fundamental of Legal research-Mineola., N.Y., 1987

4. Harry Bitner, Shirley R, Bysiewicz & Williams C. Mathews Jr-Problems for effective legal research, 5th ed, Boston, 1979

legal research exercise
Legal research exercise

i. Consumer-Dealer survey

ii. Journal content Index A.I.R. / I.B.R / Jr .I.L.I

iii Subject wise NEWS paper cuttings

iv. Writing of response to current news.

v. Socio-Legal Research survey in Gram panchayats

vi. Content Index to Articles

  • Writing Article for Legal Literacy programme

viii. Case comments on a particular topic

ix. Questionnaire of Legal services Authority for verification of BPL/APL

x. Water pollution samples-VISL

legal research exercise1
…Legal research exercise

xi. Survey of status of Girls Hostels , Vridha Asrama, Reception centre, Jail, Juvenile Home,

xii. Issuance of LLr- driving Licence

xiii. Visit to court and lawyers office /Police station for collection of various Legal specimens eg., F.I.R/Charge Sheet /Bail Application Format

xiv. Searching of case Laws through Legal Eagle software/ Manually

xv. Assignment writing

xvi. Visit to Sub registrar’s office to collect certified copies of various types of conveyance deeds

xvii Power point / vedio presentation of the programmes of the entire academic year

  • Filing RTI application for 4(1)(b) Notification

ixx Establishing yuva.com/ Vidyartivakilavedike for discussion on various current legal issues

xx . Material collection on the suggested topic

suggestions for execution

Experimentation with the group learning method indicates that the research problems must be carefully designed and the groups carefully instructed and managed for the exercise to be succesful.

recommended steps
Recommended steps

1.Significant time must be allocated to give the group a fair opportunity to solve the problem and to present their report

2. The problems should be designed so that every group does not attempt to handle the same volume at the same time

3. Group size should be limited to three students, a manageable number.

4. The group task should be clearly defined

5. The exercise should be designed to challenge the students but not to overpower them

6. All group exercise are somewhat chaotic. The trick is to keep the chaos to a minimum.

tools of research use of law library
Tools of research- Use of law library
  • Preparation for research work consists in learningHow to use the resources of law libraries?
  • All legal research inevitably involves the use of the law text books, Periodicals, and Documentary materials in libraries.
use of library
Use of Library
  • Planning Library Research

Helps researcher to understand the process of conducting library research and the different research tools, resources and collections available

  • Using law Libraries

Information about accessing the libraries student/researcher may need to visit during his/her research and effectively utilizing the services and facilities offered.

legal material
  • primary legal materials-All legal sources.
  • All of the other Legal materials -Secondary materials.

He who wants to become a lawyer and not merely to pass law examinations must learn to uselegal materials. He must get to know the way about his law library, and must acquire the habit of first-hand work among what lawyers call the sources.

  • The law of India is contained in constitutional law of India, statutes enacted under it and the judicial decisions;
  • what the textbook writer think is not, in itself, law. He may have misinterpreted the authorities, and the reader who goes to them goes to the fountainhead.
primary legal material

The primary sources of law are those authoritative records of law made by law-making bodies. i.e.,

  • The legislation made by Union parliament and state legislatures
  • The rules, regulations, orders, ordinances, notifications, circulars, and by-laws ,of those bodies to whom parliament or state legislatures have delegated authority, and;
  • The authoritative reports of the decisions of the courts.
  • Customary practices- Indigenous peoples /law as recognized by the Supreme court of India.
secondary legal material
  • publications which refer and relate to the law while not being themselves primary sources.
  • Ex: commentaries, AIR commentaries & Digests, Annual survey of Indian law, Halsbury laws of India.

All legal text books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, digests, journals, and the like.

A court will not feel bound by secondary source materials if cited in support of a proposition of law,

  • Goal is to find the law and that will mean that a case, Act or Regulation, or a mixture of all three, must be found and cited.

They are of great assistance in finding and understanding the law but will seldom replace the legal authority itself.

library resources
  • Using Resources

Information about using the range of research tools and resources that student/researcher may need to use during his/her research.

Besides familiarizing himself with the law reports and statute book, the Student lawyer-to-be should get to know his way about the library as a whole, together with its apparatus of catalogues and books of reference.

Referencing & Bibliography

Helps the student/researcher to correctly reference the sources he/she has used in his/her research, compile a bibliography and use bibliographic software.

library data search tools

Title Search:Searches through all of the subject titles

Method Search: Statistical methods such as regression

Topic Search: Topics such as LAW or JURISPRUDENCE

Data-file Subject Search: Data subjects such as

Statutes or List of cases

Full-text Search: Searches through all of the law

subjects and data-files.

print media


  • 1) Encyclopedias
  • 2) Digests
  • 3) Manuals
  • 4) Case Law books
  • 5) Bare acts
  • 6) Text books
  • 7) Commentaries
  • 8) Statutory rules
  • 9) Law commission reports
  • 10) Constituent Assembly debates
  • 11) Parliamentary debates
  • 12) Journals and Reports
  • 13) Citatory.
  • 14) Current central legislations
non print media

The convergence of computer and communication technologies have created a new channel of networking

Examples of CD ROMs

1) Grand Jurix

2) Laws premium

3) Law encyclopedia

4) Advocate library

5) Company law

6) Labour law

7) Constitution of India

8) Intellectual property rights- key to new wealth-Interactive CD.

9) Karnataka law CD

10) Legal India CD.

11) Legal eagle-soft ware

websites webliography
Websites - Webliography

ebookee.com/law.html sites.google.com/site/gyanendrasinghchauhan.comindiankanoon.org/judis.openarchive.in/ (scc)judis.nic.in/ judis.nic.in/supremecourt/chejudis.asp (SCC)supremecourtcaselaw.com/ (SCC)indiacode.nic.in/lobis.nic.in/mhc/srjud.php (MP HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT)legalserviceindia.com/dictionary.law.com/lectlaw.com/def.htm (law dictionary online)books.google.co.in/vakilno1.com/gigapedia.com/

websites webliography1
Websites - Webliography

answeringlaw.com (scc)gunaccessories.com/ (ARMS)indiabook.com/Government/Law/index.htmlindianlawcds.com/Free_indian_bare_Acts.htmindia.gov.in/govt/acts.phplegalhelpindia.com/cause-lists.html lawzonline.com/legalindia.in/legalapproach.net/lawguru.comindlegal.com/rtiindia.org/indlii.orgloc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/india.phpforensic.jouwbegin.nl/divorcelawyerindia.com/stpl-india.in/

empirical data measuring tools devices
Empirical data- Measuring tools & devices
  • Observation
  • Questionnaire
  • Interview Schedule
  • Survey
  • Sampling
  • Case study
  • participation
  • Observation is an activity, which senses and assimilates the knowledge of a phenomenonor the recording of data using instruments.
  • Observation is the process of filtering sensoryinformation through the thought process. Input is received via hearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch and then analyzed through either rational or irrational thought.
types of observation
  • Participant and non participant observation.
  • Controlled and uncontrolled observation
  • Structured and unstructured observation
participant and non participant observation
Participant and non participant observation

Advantagesof participant observation and limitations

Non-participant observation and limitations

The defining characteristic of observation is that it involves drawing conclusions, as well as building personal views about how to handle similar situations in the future, rather than simply registering that something has happened.

controlled and uncontrolled observation
Controlled and uncontrolled observation:

Devices generally used in controlled observations:

  • A detailed observation plan
  • Observation schedules
  • Mechanical appliances like photos, tape-recorders,
  • Socio-metric scales
  • Hypothesis.

These controls increase precision, reduce bias, ensure reliability, systematic procedures and increase objectivity.

uncontrolled observation:

Most of the knowledge about the social phenomena is generally derived through uncontrolled observation only. To get a spontaneous picture of life and persons, this type of observation is used.

structural and unstructured observation

Observational technique presupposes that the investigator knows what aspects of the situation under study are relevant to his research purposes and is in a position therefore to develop a specific plan for making and recording observations before he actually begins the collection of data.

Unstructured observation is mostly used as an exploratory technique. In exploratory studies, the observer does not know in advance which aspects of the situation will prove relevant and the observer’s understanding of the situation is likely to change as he goes along. This in turn, may call for changes in what he observes. The unstructured observation is flexible and allows for changes in focus from time to time.


The questionnaire is a list of important and pertinent questions concerning a problem”.

Defined as “a list of questions sent to a number of persons for their answers and which obtains standardized results that can be tabulated and treated statistically”.

Questionnaire is a popular method of data collection

what is a questionnaire
What is a Questionnaire?
  • A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Although they are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses, this is not always the case..
  • Questionnaires have advantages over some other types of surveys in that they are cheap, do not require as much effort from the questioner as verbal or telephone surveys, and often have standardized answers that make it simple to compile data
difference between questionnaire schedule and interview guide
  • A questionnaire is a tool for obtaining answers to a bunch of questions by the respondent. Generally, the questionnaire is mailed to the informants who are to give answers in the questionnaire itself. The researcher does not meet and help the informant in filling the questionnaire.
  • A Schedule refers to a form of questionnaire, which is generally filled in by the researcher himself. He sits with the respondent face to face and fills in the form.
  • The fundamental difference between a questionnaire and a schedule lies in the method of filling the form containing a set of questions. A questionnaire is ‘self-administered’ whereas a schedule is not.
  • An interview guide is a set of points, topics or matters which must be necessarily covered by the interviewer while conducting the interview. At times, questionnaire or schedule itself is used as the interview guide
characterstics of a good questionnaire
  • The significance of the topic should be closely and carefully stated on the questionnaire or in the covering letter.
  • Questions whose answer can be secured more accurately from other sources such as census data, may be excluded
  • It is not desirable to use leading questions.
  • Questions framed must be simple instead of long complex questions.
  • In fact, question wording and formulation is an art and can only be learnt by practice.
  • The set of questions must be logically related to the problem under investigation. Opening questions should stimulate interest in the respondent.
  • Questionnaire should be attractive in appearance, neatly arranged and clearly duplicated or printed. In a mailed questionnaire, an attractive-looking questionnaire is a plus point for co-operation.
  • The authority for the collection of the information should be stated.
  • Sufficient space must be provided for recording the responses.
a good questionnaire
  • In general, all questions should meet the following standards namely
  • (i) should be easily understood;
  • (ii) should be simple i.e., should convey only one thought at a time;
  • (iii) should be concrete and
  • (iv) should conform as much as possible to the respondent’s way of thinking.
types of questionnaire
  • Structured questionnaire
  • Unstructured questionnaire
  • Pictorial questionnaire
  • Merits and demerits of questionnaire
types of questions
Types of questions
  • Contingency questions- A question that is answered only if the respondent gives a particular response to a previous question. This avoids asking questions of people that do not apply to them (for example, asking men if they have ever been pregnant).
  • Matrix questions- Identical response categories are assigned to multiple questions. The questions are placed one under the other, forming a matrix with response categories along the top and a list of questions down the side. This is an efficient use of page space and respondents’ time.
types of questions1
Types of questions

3, Closed ended questions- Respondents’ answers are limited to

a fixed set of responses.

  • Yes/no questions- The respondent answers with a “yes”
  • or a “no”.
  • Multiple choice- The respondent has several option from
  • which to choose.
  • Scaled questions- Responses are graded on a continuum (example : rate the appearance of the product on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most preferred appearance).

4. Open ended question- No options or predefined categories are suggested. The respondent supplies their own answer without being constrained by a fixed set of possible responses. Examples of types of open ended questions include:

  • Completely unstructured- For example, “What is

your opinion of questionnaires?”

  • Word association- Words are presented and the respondent mentions the first word that comes to mind.

The interview technique is universally used for the study of human behaviour. The lawyer, physician, the journalist, the social worker-all depend on interviews to meet their professional demands.

  • In simple terms, interview means “conversation with a purpose”.
  • Interviewing is an interactional process, & it is a mutual view. Interviewing is fundamentally a process of social interaction”.
interview method of data collection
INTERVIEW-Method of data collection
  • The term “interview” stands for a generic concept which includes a variety of procedures used in collecting data through a person to person contact between an interviewer and a respondent.
  • Thus, interview is a method of data collection mainly through the verbal interaction between the respondent and the interviewer. It is a verbal method of securing data. The interview method of collecting data involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply in terms of oral-verbal responses.
interview method
Interview method
  • The interview method affords ‘a portrait of human personality’, i.e. ., information about the social background which governs one’s scheme of life, one’s inner strivings, tensions, wishes and the changes in one’s behavioral relations. The interview has been a widely used method in empirical studies.
  • There is saying that; if you want to know how people feel, what they experience, and what they remember, what their emotions and motives are like and the reasons for acting as they do- why not ask them?
types of interview

1.Clinical interview

Engaged for treatment- Diagnostic-Therapeutic / Psychiatric interviews

2.Group interview

3.Individual interview

4.Structured interview

5.Un-structured interview.

6.Focused interview

7. Non-directive interview

8. Telephone interview:

process of interview

There are three important phases in the interview.,

1 Rapport building

2 probing, and.,

3 Recording of response

Advantages and limitations of interview method

interview schedule
Interview schedule
  • For eliciting data from illiterate
  • For eliciting data from busy persons
  • For eliciting data of unique nature
  • For eliciting data of confidential nature
  • For eliciting data of sensitive nature
  • Careful drafting of the schedule
  • Administration procedure
  • Storage of date collected
  • Perspectives:

*Social survey

*Economic survey

*Political survey

*Statistical survey

  • Range

*Global *Regional *National *State

*District *Municipal *Village

  • Need for sampling:
  • Sampling can save time and money. A sample study is usually less expensive than a census study and produces results at a relatively faster speed.
  • Sampling is the only way when population contains infinitely many members.
  • Sampling assists in obtaining information concerning some characteristics of the population.
sampling facets
Sampling facets



i. Simple random sampling

ii. Systematic sampling

iii. Stratified random sampling

iv. Cluster sampling

V. Multi stage sampling

non probability

2. NON-PROBABILITY SAMPLING are Biased samples

  • Representative sampling
  • Purposive sampling
  • Judgment sampling
  • Quota sampling
  • Accidental sampling
random sampling
Random Sampling
  • The definitions of the universe and of the observations are precise and coincide with each other.
  • The definition or list of universe is complete.
  • The mechanical procedure of drawing the sample is easy to carry out and does not introduce bias of its own.
stratified sampling
Stratified Sampling
  • Use of smaller sample with greater precision.
  • Homogenous universe requires smaller sampling.
  • Requirements of division into homogeneous categories:
    • Criteria for division be correlated with the variable being studied;
    • Criteria used not provide so many sub-samples as to increase the size of the required sample
analysis of data
. Analysis of data
  • Use of computer for storage & classification of data
  • Methods of verification and analysis of data while writing the report
  • Descriptive method
  • Analytical method
  • Historical method Applied in social science

4. Sociological method

5. Philosophical method

6. Experimental method -Applied in science

case study
Case study
  • Case study is a very popular form of qualitative analysis. It is an important tool of social investigation and is extensively used in Psychology, education, sociology, economics and political science.
  • In social research, the term ‘case’ refers to a unit of study. The unit may be a person, an episode in a person’s life, a group of persons such as a family or a class of persons such as the habitual offenders or a concrete set of relationship like labour management relations, a specific process like rehabilitation of the community or even an entire culture such as culture of a factory. Each case is a complex whole and unique.
case study method
Case-study method
  • The method of exploring and analyzing the case is known as case-study method. It is in fact a technique which considers all pertinent aspects of a situation employing as the unit of study an individual or group and intensively investigating it.
  • It is a method of study in depth rather than breadth. It places more emphasis on the full analysis of a limited number of events or conditions and their inter-relations.
Case study is a way of organizing social data so as to preserve the unitary character of the social object being studied.
  • Characteristics of case- study method:
  • Advantages of case- study method
  • Limitations of case- study method
  • Participant observation
  • Non-participant observation
  • Partly participant & partly non-participant observation

Participant observation is a set of research strategies which aim to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals (such as a religious, occupational, or sub cultural group, or a particular community) and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their natural environment, often though not always over an extended period of time.

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