Empirical Research at the Rogers College of Law
Faculty Services Librarian
University of Arizona | Journals & Blogs | Professional Organizations | Academic Data Hosts/Consortia | Selected Subject-based Datasets & Statistics
Note: This guide contains important information for Arizona Law faculty engaged in empirical research. It includes University of Arizona and federal policies and procedures, information about specific data-gathering software, and links to selected datasets and statistics available on the internet.
University of Arizona
University and federal policies and regulations may apply if you perform empirical research at the University of Arizona. Research directly involving human subjects will most likely require compliance with some portion of 45 CFR 46. The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) at HHS has a complete set of regulations implicated in any research involving human subjects. See section 46.101(b)to determine if your research requires review by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or if it qualifies as an exception.
The UA has four such IRBs (IRB1, IRB2, IRB3 and IRB4). IRB2 relates to social and behavioral sciences, a broad subject area which may well describe much research in the "law and ..." categories. There is Manual for Researchers as well as a Quick Guide to Necessary Approvals at the UA Office for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ORCR). For a fairly comprehensive collection of UA links, check the Resources for Researchers page.
Other useful topics and pages include:
- Office for the Responsible Conduct of Research (ORCR)—This is the first stop for all university researchers, providing information on such issues as subject privacy, conflict of interest, study controls and research integrity.
- Office of Research and Contract Analysis (ORCA)—This office will review contracts you have with outside vendors/entities. They have templates for incoming and outgoing agreements and contracts.
- The UITS Research Computing Consulting service —Offers support for several statistical software packages including SPSS, SAS, Minitab, S-Plus and others. Software is available for purchase at the University Bookstore at academic pricing and is installed on computers at various labs on campus. UITS also offers a statistical consulting service to help you in your research gathering and analysis as well as self-paced tutorials for several of the packages. Call for more info: 626-TECH (8324).
- Qualtrics is a survey tool that is available across the university.
- The Graduate Interdisciplinary Statistics Program (GIDP) provides a list of UA faculty engaged in statistics projects and their subject interests.
Journals & Blogs
- Empirical Legal Studies blog—Collaborative effort from a group of academics whose aim is to encourage discussion in the area of empirical legal studies.
- Journal of Empirical Legal Studies—The link is to UA Main Library's online subscription which offers full-text access is to current and archival issues.
- Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics—Journal from University of California. Online access is through UA Main Library's JSTOR subscription.
- Journal of Legal Studies—Published by Univeristy of Chicago, JLS publishes research in many "law and ..." fields as well as legal theory and history. Online access is through the Law Library's subscription and includes full text from 2006 and earlier, citation access only for more recent issues.
- Journal of Business & Economics Statistics—Subscription-based journal from the American Statistics Association.
- ELS Bibliography—UCLA's searchable index of articles, from 2001.
- Society for Empirical Legal Studies (SELS)—International organization for ELS scholars, sponsoring an annual conference and publishing the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies(JELS).
- Law and Society Association (LSA)—Multi-disciplinary organization "...interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life." Publishes Law and Society Review, sponsors workshops, meetings, and something called Collaborative Research Networks.
- American Statistical Association (ASA)—International organization of statisticians publishing journals, books, and conference proceedings.
Academic Data Hosts/Consortia
- Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research (ICSPR)—International consortium of over 700 academic institutions, collecting and sharing original data in a number of fields, some relating to law.
- Statistical Documentation and Analysis (SDA)—Statistical tool from U. Cal. Berkeley for setting up data archives.
- Empirical Research Group at UCLA School of Law—Serves as a repository for UCLA law faculty research reports and supporting data.
- Center for Empirical Research in the Law (CERL)—Based at the Washington University School of Law, the Center offers workshops and other training opportunities in empirical research methods to legal academics.
- Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS)—This Harvard-based entity offers hosting (and sharing) of an institution's research data with visibility on that institution's web page through the Dataverse Network Project and the use of a data application called Dataverse.
- Machine Learning Repository from UC-Irvine—A collection of 211 datasets from various institutions, largely physics and chemistry-related but there is also one on crime and communities.
- UCSD Datasets—Datasets on various political science topics from the 1960s to early 2000s.
- Donohue Institute-U. Mass—Contains policy and social science datasets, many of them deal with education.
Selected Subject-based Datasets & Statistics
Courts | Legislative | Crime/Law Enforcement | Economics | International Trade | Health/Medicine | Social Demographics | Federal Agencies |Scientific | Foreign & International | Public Opinion & Surveys | Human-Subject Research
- Supreme Court Database—Detailed information about each case decided by the SCT between 1953 and 2008. Data can be uploaded to various statistical software tools for detailed analysis. Information tracks voting information for individual justices.
- Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts—This site contains caseload statistics for all federal courts from 2001-2011 with some judicial business statistics going back to 1997.
- Appeals Court Database Project (from NACJD)—Maintained by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, this dataset contains data from all US Courts of Appeal on judges votes on constitutional issues covering the years 1925-1988.
- Judicial Research Institute (JuRI)—From the University of South Carolina, this collection contains several data sets from the Supreme Court (Vinson-Warren Database, Expanded Burger Court Database, Justice-Centered Burger Court Database, Justice-Centered Rehnquist Court Database, and the Justice-Centered Warren Court Database) as well as the Appeals Courts Database (1925-1996), and a database of federal judges attributes. There is also a State Supreme Court Database and an Amicus Curae Database covering 1946-2001.
- U.S. Supreme Court Justices Database—Information on Supreme Court nominees beginning with John Jay.
- State Supreme Court Database—Coded data for cases from fifty state supreme courts from 1995-1998.
- National Juvenile Court Data Archive—The Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics (EZAJCS) was designed to provide a user-friendly access to data (1985-2008). The Statistical Briefing Book offers data analysis and dissemination tools. The OJJDP FactSheet from December 2001 gives a description of the methods used to compile and access the data.
- National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Court Statistics Project—Contains much information from BJS surveys and reports, a statistical reporting component, and Examining the Work of State Courts: An Overview of 2013 State Court Caseloads (PDF), which tracks caseloads from 2004-2013. For more in-depth analysis at the state level see the CSP Dataviewer.
- Justice Research and Statistics Association (JRSA)—Non-profit conducting research on justice issues in all fifty states. Members include researchers from state Statistical Analysis Centers (SACs). There is a clickable map linking to all state SACs and an information database (ISAR-Infobase) of State Activities and Research where one can search data, filtering by state and/or date, to find statistical analyses and sometimes related policy documents.
- 9CHRIS.org- contains 'historical records from the 9th Circuit court of Appeals from 1891 to the late 1960s.'
- Court Listener - from the Free Law Project, Court Listener tracks docket filings, has dockets and opinions of federal and state courts, and has a Visualizer tool that produces mind-map graphs of lines of precedent for Supreme Court cases.
- U.S. Senate-Statistics and Lists—Resume of Congressional Activity.
- GovTrack—Open-source project of Civic Impulse, an organization whose mission is increasing civic participation and transparency in government. The congressional portion draws raw data from congressional sources (e.g., votes missed per legislator, legislator with the greatest number of bills enacted).
- Council on State Governments (CSG)—The CSG is a member-based organization consisting of elected and appointed officials from all US states and territories. The section on research contains numerous reports in various policy areas.
- National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)—Conducts policy research in various subject areas and tracks what state legislatures are doing (e.g., 2011 State Immigration-Related Bills)
- Open:States—Collects and makes freely available legislative data from forty-two states, DC and Puerto Rico.
- California Ballot Measures - From UC Hastings, a searchable collection of all California ballot measures with statistical analysis from 1911.
- Nicola Persico (NYU) datasets—This collection of police stops datasets was gathered by New York University economics Professor Nicola Persico.
- FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)—Data collected by the FBI annually from about 17,000 individual law enforcement agencies.
- Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)—From the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, there are datasets relating to criminal case procesing, the courts, arrest reporting, population and crime, and more.
- National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NAJCD)—Downloadable data collections on criminal justice topics.
- National Bureau of Economics (NBER)—Contains original research and data but downloading requires either NBER membership or credit card payment up front.
- Economic Census (Bureau of the Census)- economic and business data extracted from the general census.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)—Official government site for information on the U.S. economy. Contains state and local information. There is also information by industry as well as international trade information.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)—Monthly and quarterly employment & unemployment data and projections, economic indicators and more.
- Statistical Universe—This database from Proquest has economics and labor and employment statistics in addition to population and other info for the US and internationally. This is a subscription owned by UA Main Library so access requires being on site or logging in with UA NetID. Note: from the dropdown menu on the main screen you can also access Proquest Legislative Insight, a database containing federal legislative history information.
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York—Publishes original research and produces many statistical reports on the economy, housing, and financial markets. One can sign up for their newsletter, which provides links to new reports.
- Harvard Dept of Economics—Datasets from Prof. Andrei Schleifer on various law and economics topics.
- OECD-StatExtract—Datasets for various topics in OECD member states.
- U.S. International Trade Commission—Harmonized tariff schedules as well as some interactive datasets on various trade-related topics.
- Correlates of War Project-International Trade, 1870-2006—Datasets relating to imports, exports and bilateral trade flows between states.
- Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce—This non-profit has gathered a huge collection of health-related statistical sources from national, state, local, global and individual state sources.
- Health.Data.gov—Official U.S. government web site containing health-related datasets and tools from various federal agencies.
- National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)—Repository for all U.S. health-related statistics.
- Public Health Law Research—From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and hosted by Temple Unviersity's School of Law, has national and state jurisdictional datasets available on a variety of topics relating to public health.
- National Quality Forum (NQF)—NQF is a membership-based non-profit that seeks to establish standards for measuring health care quality. NQF uses its research to support federal rulemaking efforts and includes datasets on many health care topics.
- National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)—Contains the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) which is used to measure healthcare provider performance and service.
- Census Bureau—All kinds of socio-economic data available. The Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies hosts research projects and is available for submission of research proposals. The census web site also contains the current and historical Statistical Abstracts back to 1878, plus historical statistics back to 1789.
- Boston Census Research Data Center (BRCD)—Partnership between the Census Bureau and the private National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Contains population and housing data (Current Population Survey and American Housing Survey).
- Data.gov—The official government web site for data collected from all federal agencies.
- TracFED - Create your own data 'slices' in areas of federal agency enforcement action. Agencies covered include: Executive Office for US Attorneys, Admin Office of the US Courts, Office of Personnel Management, IRS, EPS, and the Census Bureau. Arizona Law has a site license to this product but an individual login and password must be created in order to use the analytical tool, Web Locker.
- National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—Contains a wealth of data and reports on many topics, including law enforcement, international trade, and environmental data. Not all is free, though and much of the information is scientific.
- National Science Foundation (NSF)—Data from state and federal governments on education, the workforce and demographics as well as from business and industry and more.
- The Comparative Constitutions Project—Offers tools for analyzing the constitutions of 'most independent states' over the course of their constitutional development. There is a companion web site containing the text of current constitutions that is searchable by country or topic (https://www.constituteproject.org/)
- International Social Science Programme (ISSP) - Collaborative effort begun in the mid-1980s between social science research centers in Germany and the US, the ISSP now includes over fifty nations, working together to craft a standard set of meaningful questions on topics of shared interest.
- NORC General Social Survey (GSS)- this biennial survey created by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago collects opinions on all aspects of American life including views on social, religion, politics, race, gender, crime and law enforcement, and much more through in-person, in-depth interviews of ninety minutes. The data from NORC's GSS goes back to 1972 and can be accessed through the GSS DATA Explorer web site.
- Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) - while their main focus is on collectiong data on religious affiliation and church membership, the ARDA has an archive of general population surveys that include information on religion, such as the GSS.
- Pew Research Center—Contains datasets for a variety of topic-specific surveys including, the Pew Internet & American Life Project, the Iraq war, global Christianity and others.
- Rand—Contains statistics on a wide variety of topics, including many databases that are state-specific.
- Gallup—Contains data on political, economic and health/social well-being, both domestic and global. There is a page of global data, searchable by country, which is free but there is a charge for higher-level data from the World Poll datasets and it is prohibitively expensive.
- Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS)—TESS provides a platform for investigators to submit proposals for general-population experiments in the social sciences. Funded by the NSF, data is collected, stored and shared free of charge to the user.
- Mechanical Turk (MTURK)—Calling itself "a mechanical place for work", MTURK offers potential workers the opportunity to participate in human subject experiments online. The goal is to provide businesses with an on-demand workforce 24/7. Some of the tests require pre-qualifications.