giovedì 22 maggio 2014

The Need for a Methodological Framework for Comparative Legal Research: Sense and Nonsense of ‘Methodological Pluralism’ in Comparative Law

A. E. Oderkerk 

Centre for the Study of European Contract Law

April 8, 2014

Centre for the Study of European Contract Law Working Paper Series No. 2014-04
Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2014-31 

Contemporary comparative lawyers generally are in agreement that although a great variety of comparative legal research projects currently co-exist it is beyond the realm of possibility to develop a comprehensive and sophisticated method valid for all fields of the law and for all possible research aims and/or topics. This has lead to the idea that there is simply a ‘variety of methods’ for comparative researchers to choose from and the best method in a given context needs to be discovered in practice. This article argues that the mere existence of a variety of methods does not preclude the elaboration of a comprehensive methodology. In fact, the manner in which the idea of methodological pluralism is currently discussed can lead to eventual misunderstandings. Further, the argument is made that the idea can only be discussed usefully in relation to a (methodological) framework of comparative legal research valid for all fields of law, indicating which methods can be used within the appropriate part of the research-framework while pointing out according to which factors these choices should be determined. The article offers a first step in the direction of a comprehensive methodology of comparative legal research. It describes the framework that indicates various methodological issues that need to be dealt with in the various stages within a research project and points out the guidelines and principles that have already been elaborated upon by comparative legal methodologists for certain parts of the framework.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: methodology, comparative legal research, methodological pluralism, comparative law, methodological framework

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