Experimental Methods and Law: CESS April 23, 2014

On April 23, 2014, I will be offering a one-day workshop in experimental methods and law at Nuffield College Centre for Experimental Social Sciences.

Experimental methods are beginning to make important inroads into the scholarship of law as well as litigation. The workshop is an overview of the experimental method. The methods are illustrated with case law and expert legal testimony. The workshop is designed to inform, in an efficient manner, legal professionals about why experimental methods are becoming increasingly important and also to provide them with a succinct but comprehensive overview of the actual methods.

The workshop is being offered in many respects because classic regression, as the foundation for causal claims, has come under increasing criticism in the social sciences. There is a growing emphasis on potential outcomes approaches and experimental methods in order to make causal claims. This issue will be discussed in the workshop.

What is being taught in this course? This is a one-day course designed to provide a good intuition of the experimental methods being employed. The idea is to present the logic of the method without complicated mathematics and to illustrate through case studies how the method is applied. The workshop will make extensive use of informative graphics in order to describe the data, the methods and the substantive conclusions. The participant will take away from this course two primary skills: an intuition for experimental methods and an ability to critically evaluate experimental results.

Who is the course for? The course is designed for practicing lawyers who are required to be critical consumers of social science research – economics, psychology, public opinion studies, policy research, etc. It is also designed for legal scholars who would like to get an introduction and overview to experimental methods with the possibility of extending their studies to a more in-depth course on the subject.

Why take the course? The short answer is that experimental methods are becoming increasingly employed in expert testimony and legal scholarship. And in many respects it has raised the bar as to what constitutes defensible findings in the social sciences. A critical familiarity with experimental methods is becoming increasingly important for evaluating expert testimony and for examining expert witnesses. Similarly, critically reviewing and assessing contemporary legal scholarship will increasingly require an understanding of the experimental method.

Download the Preliminary Outline

Further information and registration at CESS Webpage