Research is something we all do. Some research is a necessary evil, some a delightful passage, some unmitigated drudgery. Our general concern this evening is to hone the concept of legal research, at least as it is manifested by law professors and lawyers. More specifically, how does academic research and advocacy research differ in the world of law and what unique obligations might such differences suggest for the law professoriate? The general issue is the difference, perhaps conflict, between research aimed primarily at discovering truth and expanding knowledge versus research aimed primarily at mounting an argument to achieve victory for a client or some law reform goal. Academic research permits the researcher to define the topic and the important points to be studied, and encourages the researcher to report everything found of any value to the field. Advocacy research typically begins with a narrowly drawn topic and issue, and the researcher is encouraged to report only the findings which bolster the advocate's primary argument, either greatly discounting or remaining conveniently silent about conflicting evidence.
Victor L. Streib,
Academic Research and Advocacy Research,
36 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol36/iss2/5