A content analysis of judicial decision-making

Authored by: Richard Kirkham , Elizabeth A. O’Loughlin

Routledge Handbook of Socio-Legal Theory and Methods

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138592902
eBook ISBN: 9780429952814
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides an introduction to, and argument for, using systematic content analysis studies in order to assess methods of judicial decision-making. The first section of this chapter outlines how content analysis studies have been used to date. The second section sketches our recent experience with this methodological approach, concluding by reflecting upon the challenges we faced in design and implementation. The third section reflects upon the wider relevance of this method. Content analysis studies capture a rigorous record of judicial practice against which doctrinal claims can be tested, which is of great import to any area of legal scholarship.

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