Getting Started with Empirical Legal Research (ELS) at UNC
The library has collected a detailed set of resources that are available online for those interested in engaging in empirical legal scholarship. UNC Libraries maintains a number of tutorials, guides, and resource lists for conducting empirical research generally. These include:
- Odum Institute at UNC provides assistance with specialized and general statistical models, as well as short and long courses on software and statistical methods.
- Writing with Statistics is a useful guide, put together by UNC, on addressing pitfalls associated with using statistics in writing.
- UNC Libraries GIS and Data Services provides spatial and numerical data. To facilitate the use of these collections, GIS/Data Services will provide classroom training, support online learning, and provide access to GIS computing.
ELS Research Support and Research Guides
- ELS Blog: A blog about current scholarship, events, grants, and general discussions of issues associated with empirical legal scholarship.
- Journal of Empirical Legal Studies: JELS is the flagship journal of The Society for Empirical Legal Scholarship and publishes cutting edge ELS scholarship. The Society also sponsors an annual meeting, the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, with proceedings available online.
- UCLA’s Empirical Research Group: The Empirical Research Group at UCLA specializes in designing quantitative legal scholarship.
- Pitt Law’s Empirical Research in the Law Bibliography lists key sources for getting started with empirical research.
- Center for Empirical Legal Research in the Law at Washington University Law: CERL supports the use of innovating and cutting edge methods in legal scholarship.
- UC Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Program website , which maintains an extensive collection of workshops on empirical research.
- Georgetown Law Library’s Statistics and Empirical Legal Studies Research Guide provides an excellent starting point for engaging in empirical legal scholarship.
- University College London’s Centre for Empirical Legal Studies provides an international perspective to understanding ELS.
- Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Science Research provides helpful research guides and a large catalog of ELS data sets.
- American Political Science Association Law and the Courts has data set listings.
Data Sources for Empirical Legal Scholarship
Several of the above guides have more comprehensive lists of ELS-relevant data sets. Below is a listing of some of the most commonly used ELS data sets in the areas of Courts, Crime & Justice, the Legislative Branch & Politics, Business and Economics, Demographic, and International data sets.
- Federal Courts
- US Federal Courts: Statistics (Caseloads, case management statistics, business of the court)
- State Courts
Crime & Justice
- Bureau of Prisons
- Bureau of Justice Statistics
- FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports
- Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service
- National Archive of Criminal Justice Data
Legislative Branch and Politics
- American National Elections Study
- The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
- Open Secret’s Data on Campaign Contributions and Lobbying
- CQ Electronic Library (UNC ACCESS)
- Congressional Budget Office
- Census – Governments
Business and Economics Data
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Economic Census
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Data
- Federal Reserve System
- SEC Edgar Database
- National Bureau of Economics Research Data
- U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
- U.S. Census’ County Business Patterns
- Barometer Sites
- CIA World Factbook
- Correlates of War
- International Monetary Fund Data and Statistics
- United Nations Statistics Division
- US Department of Defense Data
- World Health Organization