A Study On:
“DOCTRINAL AND NON-DOCTRINAL RESEARCH”
Submitted By:- ANISHA P
Registration No.- 17040121002
Under the guidance of:- Prof. BELLARI
Sl.No PARTICULARS PAGE NO
DOCTRINAL RESEARCH 5
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES 6-7
BASIC TOOLS 7-10
NON-DOCTRINAL RESEARCH 10-12
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES 12-15
BASIC TOOLS 15-17
10. INTER RELATION BETWEEN DOCTRINAL RESEARCH AND NON-DOCTRINAL RESEARCH 18
11. CONCLUSION 19
12. REFERENCES 20
Legal research is any systematic study for that specific methodology which should be carried out. Method is the way of doing something and Methodology is the science of a particular subject. Usually legal research is divided into Doctrinal and Non-doctrinal Research. Doctrinal legal research is defined as research into legal doctrines through analysis of statutory provisions and cases by the application of power reasoning. It gives emphasis on analysis of legal rules, principles or doctrines. Doctrinal legal research, as conceived in the legal research domain, is research ‘about’ what the prevailing state of legal doctrine, legal rule, or legal principle is. A legal scholar undertaking doctrinal legal research, therefore, takes one or more legal propositions, principles, rules or doctrines as a starting point and focus of his study. It can be a problem, policy, or a reform of an existing law. While non-doctrinal research is defined as the research into relationship of law with other behavioral sciences. A legal non-doctrinal finding can be a qualitative or quantitative, and a dogmatic non-doctrinal can be a part of a large-scale project. The non-doctrinal approach allows the researcher to conduct research that analyses the law from the perspective of other science disciplines, and to employ that disciplines in drafting the law.
Doctrinal legal research is defined as research into legal doctrines through analysis of statutory provisions and cases by the application of power of reasoning. It gives emphasis on analysis of legal rules, principles or doctrines. While non-doctrinal legal research is defined as research into relationship of law with other behavioral sciences. It gives prominence to relationship of law with people, social values and social institutions. It endeavors to highlight the relationship between law and other behavioral sciences and social facts. It involves empirical inquiry into the operation of law. Here inquiry is directed to some manifestation of human behavior as law affects it or as it affects law. The researcher wants to know to what extent certain legal rules work or have worked.
Doctrinal legal research endeavors to develop legal theories and non-doctrinal legal research endeavors to whether the theories, the doctrines that we have assumed are appropriate to apply in given society at a given time are still valid and relevant. Non-doctrinal legal research helps to test whether the theories assumed (in law) work in the way they should. Doctrinal legal research is, therefore, ‘research in law’ while non-doctrinal legal research is ‘research about law’. It involves a systematic exposition, analysis and critical evaluation of legal rules, doctrines or concepts, their conceptual bases, and inter-relationship. To put it in a different way, a doctrinal legal researcher indulges into analysis of ‘black-letter’ of law. He therefore sticks pretty close to the primary source materials, to the Constitution (where legal system have one), to legislation (statutes, statutory instruments) and to the leading judicial decisions (the precedents). While a non-doctrinal legal researcher is interested in knowing ‘law-in-action’ through empiricism. The sources of doctrinal legal research is law library based studies and it is nick named as Arm-Chair Research or Basic or Fundamental Research. While, non-doctrinal legal research, which gets its data primarily from sources other than law i.e. society and focuses on ‘social reality of law’ rather than on ‘law’ itself, is also known as ’empirical research’, ‘socio-legal research’, ‘sociology of law’ or ‘non-library research’.DOCTRINAL LEGAL RESEARCH
A doctrinal research means a research that has been carried out on a legal proposition or propositions by way of analyzing the existing statutory provisions and cases by applying the reasoning power. According to S.N. Jain, doctrinal research involves analysis of case law, arranging, ordering and systematizing legal propositions and study of legal institutions through legal reasoning or rational deduction. This type of research is also known as pure theoretical research.
It mainly focuses on the nature of law and legal authority; the theories behind particular substantive areas of law, such as torts or contracts; and the nature of rights, justice and political authority. Thus, it involves: (a) Systematic analysis of statutory provisions and of legal principles involves therein, or derived there from, and (b) Logical and rational ordering of the legal propositions and principles.
The researcher gives emphasis on substantive law rules, doctrines, concepts and judicial pronouncements. He organizes his study around legal propositions and judicial pronouncements on the legal propositions of the Courts, and other conventional legal materials, such as parliamentary debates, revealing the legislative intent, policy and history of the rule or doctrine. Doctrinal or library based research is the most common methodology employed by those undertaking research in law. In a nutshell, library-based research is predicated upon finding the ‘one right answer’ to a particular legal questions or set of questions. This involves a significant amount of background reading in order for the researcher to orient themselves with the area of law being studied. Background reading will often include sources such as dictionaries for definition of terms, encyclopedias for a summary of legal principles accompanied by footnoted sources, major textbooks and treatises on the subject and journals. Although primary sources are adequate by themselves, it may also be useful to have regard to secondary sources, which consists of relevant books and journal articles. Doctrinal research looks at the following issues:-
1. The aim of preferred values;
2. The problems posed by the gap between the policy goal and the present state of achievement;
3. Availability of alternative choice for the implementation of goals and
4. The predictions and consequences that were made.
Doctrinal legal research, as stressed earlier, involves rigorous analysis of statutory provisions and judicial pronouncements thereon. The researcher organizes his study around legal provisions, principles, concepts or doctrines and judicial statements relating thereto, and/or reflecting thereon. He not only makes analysis of statutory provisions and of case law, but also logically and systematically arranges the statutory provisions and judicial pronouncements to deduce, on legal reasoning and rationale, some legal propositions. Doctrinal legal research, thus, (i) aims to study case law and statutory law, with a view to find law, (ii) aims at consistency and certainty of law, (iii) (to some extent) looks into the purpose and policy of law that exists, and (iv) aims to study legal institutions.
Therefore, doctrinal legal research should not be undermined merely because it revolves around statutes and judicial decisions. It immensely contributes to the continuity, consistency and certainty of law. It also initiates further development of legal principles and doctrines. Doctrinal legal research mandates the legal researcher to ‘locate’ the required apt statutory provisions and judicial reflections thereon that have bearing on the legal doctrine, concept or rule under inquiry. Such legislative provisions and judicial decisions constitute the basic data for a doctrinal legal researcher.
There are several advantages associated with doctrinal or library based research methodology. Firstly, it is the traditional method for conducting legal search and is often taught during early stages of legal training. Secondly, it basically involves analysis of legal principles, concepts or doctrines, their logical ordering and systematizing of legal propositions emerging there from, has some practical utility. Thirdly, it provides quick answers to the problem as the researcher is continuously engaged in the exposition and analysis of legislation and case-law and the integration of statutory provisions and judicial pronouncements into a coherent and workable body of doctrine. Fourthly, for all practical purposes, and for resolving day-to-day client matters, doctrinal research is the expected and required methodology.
Furthermore, because of its focus on established sources, doctrinal research is more manageable and its outcomes are more predictable. Fifthly, a scholar of law indulged in doctrinal legal research, in a systematic way and with convincing reasoning, exhibits inbuilt loopholes and gaps or ambiguities in the substantive law and thereby invites the legislature to plug them through amendments, so that the law can be more purposive and effective.
Several criticisms may be leveled against doctrinal or library based methodology. For example, it is highly theoretical and technical, uncritical, conservative, trivial, and without due consideration of the social, economic, and political importance of the legal importance of the legal process.
Second, it must be noted that ideological research is very narrow and restricts the choice and range of topics which increasingly withdrew the legal profession in the greater social context. This context includes legal and social theory, and other methodologies based on the natural and social sciences. In the study of law, the context in which operates and how the law links to this context, jurisprudential methodology does not provide an appropriate framework to address the issues that arise. It assumes that the law exists in a doctrinal objective vacuum rather than within the social framework or context.
Third, it is sometimes described as trivial dogmatic research because it is often done without due consideration of social economic and political importance of the legal process. As mentioned above, the law does not operate in a vacuum. It works within the community and impacts on the community. There is, therefore, scope to adopt and adapt to other methodologies used in other subjects, in order to have the functions of the law look its most luminous. For example, there is room for further research on increasing the efficiency of legal institutions such as the courts. It is clear from the above criticisms, that lawyers may need more research skills in sectarian-based libraries, in order to make their research more important to the wider world. One of the methodologies that can be used in this regard is the social and legal method.
Where can a legal researcher find the required statutes and judicial decisions? He can ‘locate’ the requisite data in the apt statutory materials and case reports. The former refers to, and includes in it, the relevant Acts of Parliament (along with the amendments made thereto from time to time); secondary or subordinate legislations (in the form of rules, regulations, orders, notifications, byelaws, and statutory orders) made thereunder. While the latter, refers to case-reports that verbatim reproduce cases decided by courts. Statutory material and case reports constitute primary research tools for doctrinal legal research. However, in addition to these original sources of data, the researcher may have to look into secondary source materials such as research articles published in leading legal periodicals, text and reference books on the subject. He may have also to refer to parliamentary debates and other Government records and reports for getting further ‘insight’ into the legal principle, doctrine or concept under inquiry. The basic tools of a doctrinal legal researcher, thus, are: (i) statutory materials, (ii) case reports, (iii) standard textbooks and reference books, (iv) Legal Periodicals, (v) Parliamentary Debates and Government Reports, and (vi) Micro Films and CD-ROM. These tools, depending upon the nature of information they contain, may be re-categorized into primary and secondary sources of information. National Gazette and Case Reports fall in the first category, while the rest fall in the latter.
(i) Statutory materials;
Legislative Acts constitute one of the basic tools of doctrinal legal research. However, a plethora of subsidiary or secondary legislation in the form of rules, regulations, byelaws, notifications, statutory orders or directives is found in the modern national legal system. In fact, in a contemporary legal system the quantum of executive legislative instruments overweighs the primary ones. Further, Acts of Legislature, with a view to coping up with the changed circumstances and/or social or political perceptions, undergo frequent changes through amendments. Sometimes, an Act of Parliament, when it, in the opinion of Legislature, becomes obsolete or redundant, is replaced by another one.
Acts of Legislature as well as amendments thereto are required to publish in (National) Gazette before they become operative. Instruments of executive legislation are also published in the Gazette. National Gazette, therefore, constitutes an authentic primary source of statutes and statutory provisions.
Sometimes, some law publishers publish, with short notes and requisite disclaimer, leading and frequently referred to statutes. In some jurisdictions almost all the statutes, with comprehensive comments, are published in a series of volumes. Reference to statutes and statutory provisions, invariably with analytical comments, can also be found in standard textbooks and reference books, including ‘cases and materials’, on the subject. However, most of the times, these publications, for obvious reasons, do not include the latest amendments to the statutes and judicial statements thereon. Hence, the researcher has to look for subsequent legislative changes and latest cases on the matter under inquiry. The sole reliance on these books may lead to an incomplete and misleading research. Further, textbooks as well as reference books, owing limitation of space, cover a broad area in the compressed form. Therefore, some ideas may be left with some cursory remarks by the authors.
Nevertheless, a researcher working on a relatively new theme is advisable to start with the textbooks, reference books, and ‘cases and materials’ on the subject. It will also enable him to acquaint himself with and understand the basic principles and dimensions of the theme or the subject under investigation. It will also help him to find several other pertinent sources of study and decided cases, with comments, on the subject.
(ii) Case reports;
In almost all the common law legal systems, judicial decisions of higher courts are published in Case Reports. A doctrinal legal researcher, therefore, has to look for the apt Case Reports for laying his hands on the required judicial pronouncements for his analysis.
In addition, in these jurisdictions one finds a number of well-articulated case digests. Case Digests, which refer to all the reported cases, play a significant role in collecting cases on a particular subject/topic. They undeniably assist the researcher in ‘locating’ relevant judicial decisions and grasping quickly the legal principles laid down therein. As mentioned earlier, textbooks and reference books on the subject contain cases on the statute(s) and statutory provision(s) under inquiry. But the case law dealt under these books may not be comprehensive and up-to-date. Authors of the textbooks and reference books may omit cases not considered relevant by them.
Almost all the legal periodicals published from common law countries invariably devote some of their pages for ‘Case Comments’ wherein comments by experts on leading cases are published. Some periodicals also contain a segment on ‘Notes on Cases’ wherein brief but pertinent comments on, and/or summary of, contemporary leading judicial decisions are published. A careful look at these pages will help the researcher in identifying apt cases that deserve his serious attention and analysis in his research.
Further, Annual Survey, publishing a summary of the most important cases and outlining the consequential development in different branches of law, may also be a significant tool for finding cases on the identified statutes or statutory provisions. In such a survey, an expert of repute in the field, not only identifies significant judicial decisions rendered in the field during the year under survey but also makes their analysis with a view to finding the way in which they have followed or deviated from the past judicial dicta and judicial reasons given therefor. Based on such analysis, he also sketches the development, progressive or otherwise, of the law in the field during the year under survey and predicts future course of development.
(iii) Legal periodicals;
It may also be necessary for a doctrinal legal researcher to know what others have said and found in the area of his research. Therefore, he is required to look into research articles published in legal periodicals of repute. Research articles published on the topic/theme of inquiry are of immense help for a doctrinal legal researcher. A reading of these articles not only unconsciously inspires him to pursue his inquiry with vigor but also helps him in crystallizing his ideas that are still imprecise. These articles may expose him to some new dimensions or aspects of the problem, which he has not been so far able to conceive. It may also help him in assuring himself that he has not missed anything pertinent from original sources. Further, he may unconsciously learn the ways of effective persuasion and presentation of his inquiry. To put simply, it becomes necessary for a legal scholar to know what other researchers have said on the topic to: (i) seek inspiration, (ii) crystallize his ideas, (iii) organize his thoughts, and (iv) ensure that he has not missed any original sources. Hence, legal periodicals become indispensable tools of doctrinal legal research.
NON-DOCTRINAL LEGAL RESEARCH
In the recent past, doctrinal research has received a severe jolt due to change in the political philosophy of law from the laissez faire to the welfare state envisaging socio-economic transformation through law and legal institutions, the consequential new substantive and functional facets of law, and certain compelling pragmatic considerations arising from this metamorphosis. Non-doctrinal research, also known as socio-legal research is a legal research that employs methods taken from other disciplines to generate empirical data to answer research questions. It can be problem, policy or law reform based. Non-doctrinal approach allows the researcher to perform inter disciplinary research where he analyses law from the perspective of other sciences and employs these sciences in the formulation of the law. It is valuable in revealing and explaining the practices and procedures of legal, regulatory, redress and dispute resolution systems and the impact of legal phenomena on a range of social institutions, on business and on citizens.
The methods like observation, interview, questionnaire, survey and case study are used to discover the human conduct. All inquiries are not suitable to empirical methods. Any inquiry whose objective is to determine what is good and what is evil cannot be empirically tested. Research into the value system and moral questions are also not amenable to empirical methods.
The empirical research is mainly concerned with the legal decision process, i.e., researcher’s attention is on variables that influence the decision and the impact of the decisions on the society. The empirical research may be defined as research into relationship of law with other behavioral sciences. Here, more importance is given to people, social values and social institutions and not to the legal aspects or doctrines. Objectives of Empirical Research:
In a non-doctrinal legal research, the researcher tries to investigate through empirical data how law and legal institutions affect or mould human attitudes and what impact on society they create. He endeavors to look into ‘social face or dimension’ of law and ‘gap’, if any, between ‘legal idealism’ and ‘social reality.’ Thus, non-doctrinal legal research involves study of social-impact of law or of social-auditing of law. Merits of Non-Doctrinal Research:
Empirical research enhances lawyers ability to understand the implications and effects of the law on society. Legal researchers can use social science methodologies themselves to investigate issues, or they can collaborate with skilled researchers from other disciplines. It highlights the ‘gaps’ between ‘legislative goals’ and ‘social reality’ and thereby ‘depicts’ a ‘true picture’ of ‘law-in-action’. It particularly highlights the ‘gap’ in relation to (a) the practice of law enforcers, regulators and adjudicators and (b) the use or under-use of the law by intended beneficiaries of the law i.e. The regulatory body, existing or created under the law, vested with the power to monitor and enforce the law, may, due to some prejudices or apathy towards the ‘beneficiaries’ or sympathy towards their adversaries, be professionally ‘inactive’ in enforcing the Law. Non-doctrinal legal research, in this context, highlights the ‘reasons’ behind making the law ‘symbolic’, less-effective or ineffective.
It also reveals the extent to which the beneficiaries have been able to ‘use’ the law and the ‘reasons’ or ‘factors’ that have desisted/are desisting them from using it. Through empiricism, non-doctrinal legal research highlights the underlying currents or factors (like unawareness on part of the beneficiaries, unaffordable cost in seeking the legal redress, or the fear of further victimization if the legal redress is pursued, and the like) that have been desisting them from seeking the benefits that the law intended to bestow on them and to seek legal redress against those who prevent them from doing so. It, thus, exposes the ‘bottlenecks’ in operation of law. The non-doctrinal research carries significance in the modern welfare state, which envisages socio-economic transformation through law and thereby perceives law as a means of achieving socio-economic justice and parity. It also helps us in assessing ‘impact of law’ on the social values, outlook, and attitude towards the ‘changes’ contemplated by law under inquiry.
Non-doctrinal legal research, as mentioned earlier, seeks answers to a variety of questions that have bearing on the social-dimension or social-performance of law and its ‘impact’ on the social behavior. In fact, it concerns with ‘social-auditing of law’. Hence, socio-legal research has a number of advantages. A few prominent among them are:
First, social-legal research highlights the ‘gaps’ between ‘legislative goals’ and ‘social reality’ and thereby ‘depicts’ a ‘true picture’ of ‘law-in-action’. It particularly highlights the ‘gap’ in relation to (a) the practice of law enforcers, regulators and adjudicators and (b) the use or under-use of the law by intended beneficiaries of the law.
The regulatory body, existing or created under the law, vested with the power to monitor and enforce the law, may, due to some prejudices or apathy towards the ‘beneficiaries’ or sympathy towards their adversaries, be professionally ‘inactive’ in enforcing the law. It may, for certain reasons, purposefully fail to enforce it effectively. Non-doctrinal legal research, in this context, highlights the ‘reasons’ behind making the law ‘symbolic’, less-effective or ineffective. It also reveals the extent to which the beneficiaries have been (or have not been) able to ‘use’ the law and the ‘reasons’ or ‘factors’ that have desisted/are desisting them from using it. Through empiricism, non-doctrinal legal research highlights the underlying currents or factors (like unawareness on part of the beneficiaries, unaffordable cost in seeking the legal redress, or the fear of further victimization if the legal redress is pursued, and the like) that have been desisting them from seeking the benefits that the law intended to bestow on them and to seek legal redress against those who prevent them from doing so. It, thus, exposes the ‘bottlenecks’ in operation of law.
Secondly, non-doctrinal legal research carries significance in the modern welfare state, which envisages socio-economic transformation through law and thereby perceives law as a means of achieving socio-economic justice and parity. Through empiricism, socio-legal research assesses ‘role and contribution of law’ in bringing the intended social consequences. It also helps us in assessing ‘impact of law’ on the social values, outlook, and attitude towards the ‘changes’ contemplated by law under inquiry. It highlights the ‘factors’ that have been creating ‘impediments’ or posing ‘problems’ for the law in attaining its ‘goals’.
Thirdly, in continuity of what has been said in firstly and secondly above, non-doctrinal legal research provides an ‘expert advice’ and gives significant feedback to the policy-makers, Legislature, and Judges for better formulation, enforcement and interpretation of the law.
Fourthly, socio-legal research renders an invaluable help in ‘shaping’ social legislations in tune with the ‘social engineering’ philosophy of the modern state and in ‘making’ them more effective instruments of the planned socio-economic transformation.
Though socio-legal research has great potentials, yet a few limitations thereof need to mention here to put its role in the right perspective. A few significant are outlined below.
First, non-doctrinal legal research is extremely time consuming and costly as it requires a lot of time for collecting the required information from field. Further, it calls for additional training in designing and employing tools of data collection and entails greater commitments of time and energy to produce meaningful results, either for policy-makers or theory-builders.
Secondly, socio-legal research, as explained earlier, needs a strong base of doctrinal legal research. A legal scholar who is weak in doctrinal legal research cannot handle non-doctrinal legal research in a meaningful way. It may turn out to be a futile exercise leading to no significant results. Thirdly, the basic tools of data collection, namely interview, questionnaire, schedule and observation, are not simple to employ. They require specialized knowledge and skill from the stage of planning to execution. Each one of them is bridled with a number of difficulties. A researcher has to have a sound skill-oriented training in social science research techniques. A cumulative effect of this limitation of non-doctrinal legal research and of the one mentioned in secondly is that a well-trained social scientist cannot undertake socio-legal research without having a strong base in doctrinal legal research. Similarly, a scholar of law, though having a strong base in legal principles, concepts or doctrines as well as in doctrinal legal research, cannot venture into non-doctrinal legal research unless he has adequate training in social science research techniques. In either case, non-doctrinal legal research becomes a mere nightmare for both of them. A way out, therefore, seems to be an interdisciplinary approach in investigating legal problems. However, inter-disciplinary legal research has its own difficulties and limitations.
Fourthly, invariably public opinion, as mentioned earlier, influences contents and framework of law. Law, most of the times, also seeks to mould or change the public opinion, social value and attitude. In such a situation, sometimes it becomes difficult for a non-doctrinal legal researcher to, on the basis of sociological data, predict with certainty the ‘course’ or ‘direction’ the law needs to take or follow. Such a prediction involves the maturity of judgment, intuition, and experience of the researcher. He may fall back to doctrinal legal research. Nevertheless, sociological research may be of some informal value to the decision-makers.
Fifthly, sometimes, because of complicated social, political and economic settings and varied multiple factors a socio-legal researcher may again be thrown back to his own ideas, prejudices and feelings in furnishing solutions to certain problems.
There are several ways of collecting empirical data for social-legal research. The required information can be collected from the identified respondents in a face-to-face interaction by administrating them a set pre-determined questions or through sketchy questions prepared by the respondent. These methods of data collection are known as ‘interview’ and ‘schedule’ respectively. The pre-determined questions can also be administered to the respondents indirectly through post, fax, emails or any other appropriate methods of communication. This method of data collection is known as ‘questionnaire’. A socio-legal researcher can also collect the required information by systematic ‘observation’ of a phenomenon, behavior of his respondents or institutions that constitute focus of his study or by studying other existing records that reflect the phenomenon under his inquiry.
The basic tools of data collection for a socio-legal research, thus, are: (i) interview, (ii) questionnaire, (iii) schedule, (iv) interview guide, (v) observation, participant or non-participant, and (vi) published or unpublished materials (such as Census Reports, Reports of Governmental and/or Non-Governmental Agencies, and appropriate literature on sociology of law). The first four methods of data collection are ‘primary sources’ of empirical data as they are used in getting the required information ‘directly’ from the respondents. While the last one is ‘secondary source’ of information as the researcher collects the necessary information ‘indirectly’ from published and/or unpublished documents. Further, ‘interview’ and ‘schedule’ involve direct ‘oral communication’ between the information-giver (respondent) and the information-seeker (investigator), while ‘questionnaire’ involves ‘written communication’ between the researcher and his respondents. In ‘observation’, unlike in interview, schedule and questionnaire, the researcher uses his ‘eyes’, rather than ears, for collecting data. Hence, it is a ‘visual method’ of data collection.
These tools of data collection are discussed extensively elsewhere85 in the current volume. Nevertheless, it will not be out of context and thematically inappropriate to mention them here, in brief, to put them in the right perspective.
Interview, a verbal technique of data collection, may be structured or unstructured. The former involves the use of a set of pre-determined questions and highly standardized technique of recording responses thereto. The latter, as opposed to the former, is characterized with flexibility of approach to questioning the respondents and lesser-standardized way of recording the responses. Interview is the most commonly used method of data collection in the study of human behavior. It is regarded as ‘a systematic method by which a person enters more or less imaginatively into the life of a comparative stranger’.86 It is used to either secure the information from the person who alone knows the subject or a particular matter. Interview is the most effective method of gaining information about a person’s perceptions, beliefs, feelings, attitudes, opinions, motivations, anticipations or plans. It also enables the interviewer to further authenticate the information flowing from the respondent by observing his facial reactions and other gestures during his narration. However, interview, as a method of data collection, is an art. Not everybody can resort to it, unless he is trained in formulating questions, their administration and recording responses thereto. Further, it, as outlined here below, has its own limitations:
One of the limitations of the interview is the involvement of the individual in the data he is reporting and the consequent likelihood of bias. Even if we assume the individual to be in possession of certain facts, he may withhold or distort them because to communicate them is threatening or in some manner destructive to his ego. Thus, extremely deviant opinions and behavior, as well as highly personal data, have long been suspect when obtained by personal interviews—. Another limitation on the scope of the interview is the inability of the respondent to provide certain types of information —. Memory bias is another factor which renders the respondent unable to provide accurate information.
Questionnaire is that method of data collection in which a number of typed or printed pre-determined questions are used for collecting data. It is usually mailed to the respondents with a request to respond the questions in the space provided therefor and to send it back to the investigator. Like interview, questionnaire may be structured or unstructured. The questions may be open-ended, close-ended, mixed or pictorial. This method is quite popular and useful when information is to be sought from numerous respondents who are scattered in a vast area. Compared to interview, it works out to be cheaper and quicker. It also facilitates uniform tabulation Schedule is referred to as a form filled in during a personal interview in which both the interviewer as well as the respondent are present. In this method, the investigator himself presents the questions to the respondent and records his response. Questionnaire and schedule have much in common. In both the forms of data collection, the wordings of the questions are the same for all the respondents.
However, at the same time there are two prominent differences between the two. First, questionnaire is usually mailed to the respondents for filling in their responses to the questions listed therein, whereas schedule is referred to a form filled in by the interviewer during his personal interview with the respondent. Secondly, questionnaire, due to its impersonal nature, is rigid, whereas schedule, which like in interview allows the investigator to clarify questions, if they are not clear to the respondent, is more flexible.
There is yet another related tool of data collection, which is popularly known as interview guide. It contains only the topic or broad headings on which the questions are to be asked to the respondents. The researcher formulates questions on these topics on the spot and records the responses thereto. Interview guide is generally used in case of qualitative or in-depth interviews.
Observation, which involves a visual method of data collection, becomes a scientific method of data collection if it, in the context of subject-matter of inquiry, is planned systemically, recorded systematically, and is subjected to checks and controls on validity and reliability. Observation may be participant or non-participant. In the former, the investigator mingles with the respondents to observe and record a phenomenon. While in the latter, he observes and records a phenomenon from distance.
Published or unpublished documents/reports may also serve as useful sources of information requisite for a socio-legal research. However, the investigator needs to carefully scrutinize the information and to ensure himself about reliability and adequacy of the data before he uses the information in his inquiry.
INTER-RELATION BETWEEN DOCTRINAL AND NON-DOCTRINAL LEGAL RESEARCH
These two broad types of legal research- doctrinal legal research and non-doctrinal legal research- are overlapping rather than mutually exclusive. It is difficult to draw a sharp theoretical or pragmatic line of differentiation between the two.
The distinction between doctrinal and non-doctrinal legal research, if there be one, is one of emphasis. In doctrinal legal research the main objective is to clarify the law, to take a position, to give reasons when the law is in conflict, and, perhaps, to suggest methods for improving the law. It involves the identification of ‘fact’, its underlying policy, and ‘measures’ for improvement. While non-doctrinal legal research gives emphasis on understanding ‘social dimension’ or ‘social facet’ of law and its ‘impact’ on the ‘social attitude’. It gives emphasis on ‘social auditing of law’. In doctrinal legal research legal materials, such as statutes, regulations, and cases, are used, whereas in non-doctrinal legal research, materials from other fields, like sociology, are sought and used.
Doctrinal legal research and non-doctrinal legal research, thus, are not mutually exclusive. They complement each other. Non-doctrinal legal research cannot supplant doctrinal legal research. It can be a valuable supplement or adjunct to doctrinal legal research. It is now accepted that theoretical research without any empirical content is hollow and that empirical work without supporting theory is shallow.
We can conclude it by saying that Doctrinal research is concerned with legal propositions and doctrines and the sources of data are legal and appellate court decisions, it can be gathered from the library. And it is not concerned with people but with documents. The scope of Doctrinal research is narrower since it studies about what the doctrine or the authority says. And more support and encouragement is given to this kind of research. It does not require any kind of special training to collect and use the sources. While Non-doctrinal research is concerned with people, social values and social institutions and the sources can be gathered from field works. And these sources of data are very less and mostly new techniques have to used. And these kind of research needs specially trained people for collecting data and conducting the research by using new techniques.
Legal Research Methods-Prof. Kushal Vibhute