Researching Law in Society
This chapter aims to show how sociologists carry out Empirical studies by describing some of the ways they research law and the methods they use to arrive at their findings. It demonstrates the significance and applicability of sociological research to the formulation, instrumentation, and evaluation of social policy. History is something more than a simple compilation of facts—it can generate an understanding of the processes of social change and document how a multitude of factors have served to shape the present. Historical research carried out by sociologists is a critical investigation of events, developments, and experiences of the past; a careful weighing of evidence to determine the validity of the sources of information regarding the past; and the interpretation of the evidence. As a substitute for direct data from the participants, contents from documents and historical materials are used as a method of data collection.