A legal mapping paper (sometimes called a “50 state survey”) reports the results of research to identify the key provisions of law on a particular issue, identifies patterns in the nature and distribution of laws, and defines important questions for evaluation research, legal analysis and policy development. The 50-state survey has a long history in public health law, but scientific legal mapping papers now set the standard for legal mapping work.
IDENTIFYING AND MEASURING LEGAL VARIABLES
The starting point for a public health law research study is the careful and credible measurement of law itself. The resources in this section discuss how to conduct legal research and the coding of statutes, regulations and cases in a transparent and reproducible manner.
The Learning Library at LawAtlas.org contains eight training modules that teach the policy surveillance process. The modules introduce policy surveillance step by step, using videos and downloadable resources.
The Learning Library also includes more information about the program's web-based and in-person trainings, such as its monthly webinars and the annual Summer Institute.
Visit LawAtlas.org/Learn to access the training program.
This monograph explores the special considerations in coding text when the relevant legal materials are judicial decisions. The content of case law merits careful study not simply because judicial opinions reflect or respond to the law, but because they are the law. But, more than this, judicial opinions are detailed repositories that show what kinds of disputes come before courts, how the parties frame their disputes, and how judges reason to their conclusions.
In "Measuring Statutory Law and Regulations for Empirical Research," Evan Anderson, Charles Tremper, Sue Thomas and Alexander C. Wagenaar provide researchers with a practical how-to guide in applying the scientific method to measure the law for quantitative research.