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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Elizabeth O'Loughlin

Kirkham, R & O'Loughlin, EA (2020). A Content Analysis of Judicial Decision-Making. In Routledge Handbook of Socio-Legal Theory and Methods. Creutzfeldt, N, Mason, M & McConnachie, K Routledge. 339-341.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter provides an introduction to, and argument for, using systematic content analysis studies in order to assess methods of judicial decision-making. The first section of this chapter outlines how content analysis studies have been used to date. The second section sketches our recent experience with this methodological approach, concluding by reflecting upon the challenges we faced in design and implementation. The third section reflects upon the wider relevance of this method. Content analysis studies capture a rigorous record of judicial practice against which doctrinal claims can be tested, which is of great import to any area of legal scholarship.