[Guest Article] Introduction to Legal Research and Legal reasoning by Isha Baloni | Law Notes



What is Research 

Research is basically a systematic, thorough and meticulous process of a probe that increases knowledge or comprehension. It is an attempt to find facts by the scientific examination of a subject, course or facts. A methodical search for an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. It is the utilization of things, concepts or symbols for the motive of concluding to expand or prove knowledge, whether that knowledge assists in the erection of theory or in the application of art.
According to Manheim, Research is the careful, diligent and exhaustive investigation of a specific subject-matter, which has as its aim the advancement of mankind’s knowledge.
According to Webster’s international dictionary, A careful critical enquiry or examination in seeking facts or principles diligent investigation in order to ascertain something.
Explorations of every kind which have been established on original sources of comprehension may be designed, research and it may be no reliable works have been written, no scientific origination or discoveries made, no theories of any value advanced. Research increases knowledge. The word knowledge means-one is your own and another is to know where to find it. Research means Scientific and orderly re-examination of subsisting facts or knowledge to discover whether the existing interpretation can be diverse or not. Research means to search or examine again. This is the soul of the process of obtaining new knowledge

Defining Legal Research

Legal Research is the process of pointing out and recovering information essential to aid legal decision making. Legal Research involves every step of a course of action that starts with scrutiny of the facts of an issue and terminate with the implementation and communication of output of the investigation. Research is elaboration, thorough, determined search for truth, as result research can be used as a procedure for the finding of truth which is really a method of censorious thinking. It includes interpreting and re-defining problems; preparing hypothesis or recommended solutions, gathering, organizing and assessing data; making deductions and reaching reasoning; and at the end safely testing the conclusions to decide whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.
George Braden, in his article “Legal Research: A variation on an old Lament” states that the legal scholar simply spins out words, using as his base other words spun out by other scholars. He states that the legal scholar can do of the following five things;

  • Write a Historical Essay showing the development of a field of law or a particular doctrine.
  • Analyze a doctrine, which is to match judicial statements with each other, pointing out the ones that do not square with most of the others, and propounding a new set of words designed to square everything with everything else.
  • Do a reporter’s job, which is simply to run through a lot of recent decisions, summarizing the most important and perhaps making a wild (or shrewd) guess as to what the courts are going to say next year.
To fulfil the above three functions, the legal scholar needs only a law library and has to work on secondary data.

  • Write about “I believe in”. this is usually a matter of deploring a trend. For this, a legal scholar need not go to a law library but works on his observations and original thought.
  • Write about the relationship between the law and the world. For this, the legal scholar requires field research.
It is the method of analyzing problems whose solutions are to be taken partly or fully from the facts. Legal Research is the limb of knowledge which deals with the principles of law and legal institutions. The motive of law is to regulate the present-day society and maintain peace in society. Legal Research must be directed to the study of the link between the world and the law profess to govern.

Socio-Legal Research- Law is an instrument of social change; it arises and plays a role in society. Law is an essential variable in any social investigation.
Co-operative interdisciplinary research is essential to deal with socio-legal issues. According to Upendra Baxi, “The lawyer must know much of Sociology and the Sociologist must know much of Law”

Characteristics of Legal Research

1. Research is an inventive procedure and involves an investigation to find out the truth.
2. Research is a direct method to the solution of a problem.
3. It is used to forecast future happenings.
4. It is a methodical, exact and accurate investigation.
5. It is reasonable and impartial.
6. Research is based on Hypothesis.
7. Conclusions are carefully recorded and reported.
8. It studies the behaviour of human beings, as members of society, and their feelings, responses, attitudes under different circumstances.

Legal Reasoning

Legal Reasoning refers to the procedure of rationalizing to come to the resolution related to law. Law is a means of social control that strives to resolve current disputes, to direct current activity while keeping flow with the past, and to control the future putting down process, approaches and theories. Four basic components in legal reasoning as applied to legal procedure-Logic, justice, experience and policy. it involves investigation or rules, concepts, institutions of law as well as the legal system itself. This examination helps in deriving a suitable conclusion if it is supported by reasoning. The relation between law and logic has presumed remarkable dimensions. Since the last 200 years to be precise, from the time of Blackstone (1723-80) it is believed that the law contains legal rules, principles, standards, maxims by the application of which one could deductively arrive at the appropriate decision in a given case.
“Logic is concerned with common and authorized principles of sounded reasoning. Legal logic is correspondingly concerned with the specific principles of legally valid reasoning and decision making. The full body of authentic legal matter composes a complex network in terms of which legal deduction can be made and assessed. It is this material sense of legal reasoning that chiefs most of the remarks of the legal theorists concerning the Relation of logic to law.”
It is the term which escorts us to substantiate or forge certain declarations concerning matters of fact or certain existing proposition generally. The process of Reasoning involves ‘rationality’ to be bearable lest the decisions arrived at would not be proper.    


Ms Isha Baloni is Law student of Maharishi University of Information Technology, Noida Campus. She can be reached at ishabaloni8@gmail.com

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