The case for the case study method in international legal research

  • R. Mushkat Johns Hopkins University, United States


The exploration of international law has gradually, but perceptibly evolved into an increasingly multifaceted enterprise. A notable development, albeit not yet on a large scale, has been the
adoption of empirical approaches relied upon in the Social Sciences for purposes of description, explanation and evaluation. A genuinely rich body of theoretical insights has consequently
taken shape, providing a more robust foundation than previously available for pursuing knowledge and engaging in policy action. Much of the information generated has been obtained via
the examination, often elaborate in nature, of specific cases. However, the technical underpinnings of this scientific endeavour leave something to be desired, as illustrated by a juxtaposition
of methodological requirements with prevailing practices and offering concrete examples of greater technical rigour observed in neighbouring disciplines.


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