Empirical research is a growing part of legal scholarship. It requires a broader set of tools than the traditional legal scholar may be acquainted with. The Law Library supports our faculty's empirical research projects in a number of ways.
It's tedious to scan hundreds of documents, let alone extract relevant data from them. The library staff can automate data collection tasks to produce datasets in a variety of formats.
Library staff work primarily in SAS and STATA and can open, import/export files to Excel (or other formats), join to other datasets, and otherwise manipulate files according to your needs.
A significant amount of data is place-based and GIS allows users to make query and display data based on place (i.e. zip code, ½ mile within a major river, etc.) and/or on attributes (i.e. counties with a median income above $50,000). If you have a project where spatial analysis would be of interest please contact a reference librarian.
It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words. The library staff can design web pages with charts and graphs that represent empirical data in a visually compelling way. See Professor Brandon Garrett's Federal Organizational Prosecution Agreements web page for one example.
Featured resources for empirical legal research held by the UVA Libraries:
Recent Law Library acquisitions relating to empirical legal research and study: