The (Nearly) Forgotten Early Empirical Legal Research

Herbert M. Kritzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This article attempts at a close appraisal of legal research, dating back to the pre-war times. It begins by discussing the burst of research in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the dash of such research prior to 1920. Following this, it considers the funding dilemmas that confronted the undertaking of this research, why the research was found almost exclusively in the United States, and the methodologies employed for this research. It discusses a variety of themes found in the early empirical legal research with a particular focus on projects and findings that presage debates and concerns in contemporary empirical legal research. Finally, it concludes with a discussion of why empirical work seemed to fade out in the late 1930s and what lead to its revival in the 1950s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191743641
ISBN (Print)9780199542475
StatePublished - Sep 18 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2010. All rights reserved.


  • Appraisal of legal research
  • Contemporary empirical legal research
  • Findings
  • Legal research
  • Methodologies


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