Theory & Methods
The resources in this section explain the scientific methods used to conduct research on the impact laws of laws and legal practices on public health, what we call public health law research or legal epidemiology.
The resources are designed to be useful both to experienced empirical researchers and to others who want to understand basic scientific concepts and methods. The four categories follow the stages of a project from the development of the research questions and design of the study, through the collection of data, to analysis. Many of the resources in this section are chapters from PHLR’s book, “Public Health Law Research: Theory & Methods.”
FRAMING PUBLIC HEALTH LAW RESEARCH
The resources in this section focus on positioning public health law research in the broader context of public health science and the study of law. These resources define basic terms (like “law”), categorize the various forms of public health law research, and provide frameworks for understanding public health law and legal aspects of public health systems and services research.
UNDERSTANDING HOW LAW INFLUENCES ENVIRONMENTS AND BEHAVIOR
These resources discuss the many mechanisms through which law works to influence public health. Theories and perspectives in this section come from a number of distinct disciplines, including public health, economics, psychology, sociolegal studies and criminology.
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.
DESIGNING PUBLIC HEALTH LAW EVALUATIONS
The most important determinant of the quality of a public health law evaluation is the research design. The resources in this section outline the use of randomized experiments, natural experiments, cost-benefit analyses, and qualitative research strategies for the investigation of public health laws.