Labour law research methods


This project examines the various methodologies used in examining labour law – including traditional/doctrinal analysis and empirical legal research. It also considers the potential for interdisciplinary work, and what the implications of this approach might be for both law and the related disciplines.


  • Professor Richard Mitchell

Project background and aims

Generally speaking research methodology in labour law is assumed rather than stated. The traditional doctrinal approach underlies most labour law text and exposition, but is often intermixed with contextual content from other disciplines.

Complicating this arrangement is the fact that many studies from social science disciplines invoke law without properly examining its methodological significance (i.e. law is treated unproblematically as data). Methodology is, therefore, a problem from both perspectives.

The implications of these kinds of issues are apparent in work which is essentially interdisciplinary in nature but unrecognised as such, and the failures to clearly identify the roles which the legal discipline can play in closely related fields such as industrial/employment relations.


The approach presently taken in this project is a review of secondary sources.