Challenges Faced in Legal Research

Last Updated at: Apr 30, 2020

From Ph. D. students to students to legal practitioners, a number of the individual need to conduct legal research. While the reason for it may vary, the methodology for it should always remain the same. Through this write-up, we hope to expound upon the proper steps for undertaking legal research.

It does not matter if one is a student or a doctoral graduate, conducting legal research is an important part of being a scholar-practitioner with the abilities and reliability to effect social change. Most of the legal research challenges will be faced during choosing the right topic, to collecting data and finding participants, to staying stable throughout the course, and every step in between. So, in this article, we will be discussing the challenges faced in legal research and how one can overcome them.

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Right Topic

The research topic is the foundation for everything else. One cannot do anything without figuring out the basic focus of the topic. So, it has to be chosen very carefully. One should always choose a doable topic. Determining the availability of the resources such as time, people, money and developing the topic which can be justified is very important.  

One should read everything they can on the topic. Try to find a theoretical basis to support the topic. The key is having a predominant theoretical context for the results. One should always make sure that the topic chosen will hold the audience’s interest. One will be spending a lot of time on the legal research project, so it has to be persuasive enough to go the distance.

Right Methodology

Once the topic is chosen, the methodology needs to be finalized. The methodology is a procedure for conducting the research in order to move forward.

Determine what type of methodology and design can be best in answering the research questions. If the questions include words like explore, understand, and generate it is an indication that the study is qualitative. If words such as compare, relate, correlate are included, then it is an indication that the study is quantitative. The design automatically comes out of the study, rather than being executed on the study.

Enhance the study design. Once you are clear about going in the quantitative or qualitative direction, one can start looking into more details of the methodology. This will be determined by reckoning out from where the data is collected, how the data is collected and how one is going to analyze it after collecting data.

Participation of individuals

Sometimes recruiting participants for study needs going through colleges, institutions, which may put up obstacles, particularly if the research is sensitive or controversial and this presents an extra challenge.

So, one should try to pursue alternate possibilities. Try to do research online and also network, to find an organization that would be willing to promote the study. Building relationships are necessary because it will help in gaining access. However, one should prepare himself/herself to get ready to sell themselves.

Dealing with data

When the study is completed, the final task is knowing how to make sense of the data that is collected. Research should be grounded. Data should be presented in a way that validates how the research adds to the body of knowledge.

Make full use of the technology influenced. The main thing in qualitative research is looking for the pattern. Stay focused only on the relevant data while doing the analysis. Keeping a really close eye on the research questions and the hypothesis is also very necessary. Indeed, it is because sometimes the data which one collects can take one away from that.

To put it in a gist, legal research starts with a good foundation and a reliable methodology. It then moves on to recruiting participants for a survey and collecting data from them. Participants may be from colleges or institutes. The last step it to extrapolate meaning from the data gathered and put it in writing!

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