Legal research methodology


Research Problem:

  • The word problem has been derived from a Greek word which means anything thrown forward or a question proposed for a situation or matter stated for examination.
  • R.S. Woodworth has defined a problem as a situation for which we have no readymade solution.

Identification of a research problem:

Identification of a problem is challenging and have no specific rules and principles, but the following are some sources of identification:

  • Researchers knowledge.
  • Keen observation.
  • Careful investigation.
  • Cause and effect of relationship.

Conditions need to be satisfied for a problem:

  • It must be worth studying.
  • It must have legal and social relevance.
  • There must be facts needed for research.
  • It must be original.
  • It must be verifiable and testable.
  • It must be up to date or relevant to the current social or legal happenings.

Selecting a research problem:

The research problem chosen for the study must be carefully selected. A researcher has to choose a topic that will enable one to read and understand the literature. The researcher’s topic has to be flexible. The following points may be observed by a researcher in selecting a research problem:

  • The overdone subject should not be generally chosen since it will be difficult to add something new.
  • Subjects which are controversial should not become the choice of a researcher.
  • Avoid the problems which are too minor or too vague.
  • The familiar subjects should be selected for research so that the related research material or research sources are within once reach.
  • The importance of the subject, the qualifications and the training of a researcher, the cost involved the time factor are a few other criteria’s that must also be considered in selecting a problem.

The necessity of defining a research problem:

  • The problem to be researched needs to be described unambiguously to help the researcher discriminate valuable data from unrelated ones.
  • A proper formulation of the research problem will allow the researcher to be on track in contrast to an ill-defined problem that may create difficulties.

Techniques involved in defining the Research problem:

The techniques for the purpose involves the undertaking the following steps of the following steps generally one after the other-

  1. Statement of the problem in a general way: The problem should be stated in a broad general way, keeping in view the researcher’s intellectual interest in this subject matter concerning which he wishes to put up a problem.
  2. Understanding the nature of the problem: The next step in defining the problem is to understand its origin and nature clearly. The best way of understanding the problem is to discuss it with those who first have written about it.
  3. Surveying the available literature: All the available literature concerning the problem must necessarily be studied or surveyed and examined before defined the research problem.
  4. Developing the ideas through discussions: Discussion concerning a problem often produces useful information; various new ideas can be developed through exercise. Therefore the researcher must discuss his problem with his colleagues.
  5. Rephrasing the research problem: Finally, the researcher can rephrase the problem into the working proposition. Through this, the researcher puts the research problem in a specific term as possible so that it may become operationally usable and help develop a working hypothesis.

Criteria of the research problem:

  • The problem should express a relation between two or more variables.
  • The problem should be stated clearly and unambiguously in question form.
  • The problem should be such as to imply the possibility of empirical testing.
  • Statements regarding the problem should be carefully thought out and precisely worded.
  • The researcher should consider the following before selecting any particular problem:
    • It should satisfy the personal interest or curiosity.
    • It should furnish a basis for confirming some earlier study or a basis for some further study.
    • It should meet a social need.
    • It should serve a utilitarian purpose.

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