PhD course: Research methods in law

Oplysninger om arrangementet


tirsdag 14. december 2021, kl. 09:00 - torsdag 16. december 2021, kl. 16:15


University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Room 4A.1.46 (Building 4A, 1 floor, Room 46)


The PhD School, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen

The course is designed for students who have recently embarked upon PhD studies and need to enhance their general understanding of methodology and research methods, as well as the ways in which the theoretical framework and specific research methods may be applied in their research projects. The course can also be relevant for students who have been working on their research for a while and needs perspectives on methodology questions for their research project. 

The course will introduce fundamental concepts, such as ‘theory’ and ‘method’, and provide an overview of main research methods commonly used by legal researchers. Apart from the main jurisprudential approaches, the course will also cover empirical and interdisciplinary approaches to law. The research approaches and trends will be discussed in the context of international as well as Danish law.

Course format

The course is divided into three parts. In each of the parts, senior scholars will discuss methodological issues in their respective areas of expertise, present challenges related to use of particular methods, and share examples from actual studies which they conducted or coordinated.

Day 1 offers a general introduction into main concepts of philosophy of science in the context of demands posed by legal research. It also provides an overview of three main methodological approaches, employed in the studies of law and legal phenomena: the legal doctrinal approach, the comparative approach and the empirical approach. Methods specific to each of these approaches will be presented.

Day 2 is dedicated to interdisciplinary methodologies, applied in legal research, as well as legal methods in different legal disciplines. Day 2 will begin with an introduction to legal politics in legal research and law and economics. Day 2 also includes 3 tracks  Track 1: Private/economic law, including international private law and civil procedure/arbitration Track 2: Public law, including criminal law, and international public law Track 3: Sociology of law /jurisprudence/interdisciplinary approaches. Students must choose a track.

Day 3 will focus on methodology relating to the PhD students own projects. Participants will present their PhD projects to each other in groups, focusing on the methodological issues of their research, and will receive feedback from each other. The day also provides presentation from 2 previous Ph.D. students who have defended their PhD with success in 2020.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon the completion of the course, the participants will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of legal research approaches, methodologies, and techniques,
  • apply such methodologies and techniques within a specific field of research,
  • critically reflect upon the chosen methodology and research method(s),
  • identify which research methods are most suitable for answering major research questions in their individual projects.


Practical information

Date and time: 14-16 December 2021

Venue: The course will run on Campus – no online participation. University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Law, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Room 4A.1.46  (Building 4A, 1 floor, Room 46). 

A guide on how to find Campus is available at the website of the University of Copenhagen  and a map of campus as well 

ECTS: 4½ ECTS points for participating in the 3-day course, submitting the required written assignments and participating in group work during the course.

Course organiser: Associate Professor Carina Risvig Hamer (

Maximum no. of participants: 30


No later than 11 November 2021 via this registration form