Lately in the news we’ve been treated to countless predictions and regressions on the path COVID-19 will take over the coming weeks.  Statistics and data have risen to the forefront of the pandemic, but for many this is their first experience with this type of analysis.  While empirical research and modeling have been common in the hard and social sciences for some time, but there has only been increased attention in the legal field for the past 10 or 15 years.  If you are interested in learning how to incorporate this type of analysis in your own work and research, there are many resources available online to assist you.

To acquaint yourself with the basics of empirical research, we recommend beginning with a research guide.  Both NYU and Fordham offer comprehensive research guides on empirical research with resources appropriate for both the novice and the intermediate researcher.  Our own research guide contains links to many state specific resources and is an excellent starting place.

Once you have a handle on the process and are seeking data itself, there are several federal administrative agencies with open access to government data, such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The UW Data and Information Services Center is a wonderful resource for not only data and statistics, but also guidance for using statistical software.  For greater assistance with using statistical software, the UW Social Science Computing Cooperative offers training classes and assistance to the broader campus community.

Data and statistics are also important once you graduate and begin practice.  Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg all offer litigation analytics with tools that can be used to predict outcomes and settlements, which can be quite advantageous in negotiations and trial preparation.

And of course, your reference librarians are available to answer any questions you have about getting started or the best way to make these tools work for you and your research!

Submitted by Elizabeth Manriquez on April 8, 2020

This article appears in the categories: Law Library

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