The "process" of field research in the courtoom - A descriptive analysis

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16 Scopus citations


This article is meant to contribute to understanding the process of "live" courtroom research by describing and reflecting upon the choices my colleagues and I made in a recently completed study of judicial behavior. In light of the tremendous need for such research and in recognition of the perils attendant to conducting it, social scientists must begin to articulate in detail their philosophy, strategies, and methods of study in the actual courtroom setting. The present article discusses the methodological and ethical issues that we faced in the context of the research project on trial judges' verbal volved in our courtroom research included: (1) developing the theory and purpose of study, (2) organizing entry and logistics in the field, (3) assessing ethical costs and benefits, (4) gathering field data and developing methods that accommodate the field setting, and (5) understanding follow-up and ethical concerns after the research is over.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-358
Number of pages22
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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